How to distinguish scientific from pseudoscientific publication

Modern technologies and political realities have made access to information easier than ever. But freedom of speech has a downside: in print and online is huge amount of unreliable information. This applies to publications claiming to be scientific.

Лженаучные идеи пользуются успехом у публики

Pseudoscience not only creates a distorted worldview, it can be dangerous. Sometimes people die from ailments that could be cured, if sick time went to the doctors and not waste time on the «miraculous» means of pseudo-scientists. Far from a science person, it is difficult to assess the validity of an article: lack of knowledge, misleading pseudo-scientific words, a solid regalia of the author, and yet it is possible.

The first thing you should pay attention to the website where the article is published. There are resources dedicated to astronomy, paleontology and other Sciences, in their creation and activity of the involved scientists, for resources such unverified information, usually misses. If the site next to the sensational scientific articles about scandals in the life of stars and politicians, this is an occasion for a critical attitude.

You should not believe the article that mentions an abstract «British, Russian or American scientists» – should be the name of the researcher or at least the name of the scientific organization where the discovery was made. You can visit the website of the Institute, Observatory or other institution and verify that there is further relevant information available. You should search the Internet for information about a scientist – what he worked, how do you evaluate his work colleagues (perhaps he has already acquired in the scientific community reputation as a forger). If the researcher did not write any books, did not publish any scientific papers, participated in symposia and conferences – it is possible that such a scientist does not exist.

If the author of the article informs about the opening of your own, you need to pay attention as he signed. A fancy title («the doctor of the problems of the universe» or «master of Energo-informational Sciences») should be cause for concern. What degrees exist, can be found on the website of the Higher attestation Commission of the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation and on similar sites in other States. If the degree of the author is not in doubt, it is necessary to look, whether on its specialty, he says – for example, when mathematician N. Fomenko has engaged in historical research, this has led to the emergence of pseudoscientific «new chronology».

The main criterion is the content of the article. Set forth therein hypothesis should not be based on unproven or already rejected by science claims (for example, torsion fields, references to «Veles book» as a true literary monument). The rule must be known as «Occam’s razor», according to which hypotheses are considered in descending order of their probabilities. Under this rule, the version about the alien origin of the object observed over city, will be «last in line» – it can be considered only after will be denied more probable hypothesis (a meteorite, a bizarre cloud, the separating stage of the rocket).

A characteristic feature of pseudoscientific articles – complaints to the stagnancy of the scientific community not accepting of new ideas, links to a conspiracy in which scientists and politicians hiding the truth from people. It should be remembered that real scientists do not reject new ideas if they are justified by facts and results of experiments.

Filed in: Tip

Post Comment