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List of Topics Categorized as Pseudoscience (wikipedia.org)
14 points by mindcrime 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments

This was a good read. I like to consider myself fairly rational, but even so a small handful went against my intuitions.

Admittedly, the article defines itself as a list of things which have been labelled as pseudoscience at one point or another, and obviously the lines aren't always clear as some things make the list because of quacks' overenthusiasm and/or twisting of what is a small localised benefit into much more than it is.

Regardless, for fun here are a couple which went against my current intuitions:

Fasting: while not in vogue to cure diseases per se (although some people point to diabetes), variants of fasting seem to be in vogue at the moment.

Graphology: To me (someone with pretty lazy handwriting), I feel like comparing mine with someone's which is significantly more neat would say something about our respective personalities.

Yes, Fasting should probably be removed from that list (via better studies on fasting?)

As should

Lunar effect – the belief that the full Moon influences human behavior.

If my anecdata does not count, it sure is proven that

1. light influences human behavior 2. full Moon reflects light


Following the link, this is indeed the only proven effect of the moon: "The lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when one does not 'see' the Moon and is not aware of the actual Moon phase."[Cajochen 41]

I picked up an old book on graphology from a thrift store a couple of years ago. I keep seeing it on my shelf and meaning to read it, but haven't gotten around to it.

I don't believe in photos from space as well. When you think about it, the reproducibility of the scientific method seems to have been lost in modern times in favor of "nerd/black/wheelchair science man said so" TV shows. I much prefer the algorithmic proof of scientific claims, so that I can use my own tools and my own brain to confirm the result such as the sailing ship phenomenon and the geometry of the horizon. Anyone agree?

In principle, sure! "Nullius in verba" and all that. But where I think this is interesting and most important is for those pieces of knowledge whose scale / cost make independent confirmation firmly outside the reach of any but the most well-resourced of agents. I think the subject of vaccine safety exemplifies this well. There are only a tiny number of people in the world who, realistically, can independently kick the tires on whether vaccines do / don't work or whether they are / aren't safe. Vaccine believers / skeptics are basically all just left to take someone else's word for it.

A lot of us like this post, because we can run through it and not be offended by any of it.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people will run through it and will be happy ignoring the one or two on the list that they seriously subscribe to.

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