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List of topics characterized as pseudoscience A topic, practice, or body of knowledge might reasonably be termed pseudoscientific when it is presented as consistent with the norms of scientific research, but it demonstrably fails to meet these norms.
The latter case was exemplified by astrology, which appeals to observation and experimentation. While it had astonishing empirical evidence based on observation, on horoscopes and biographiesit crucially failed to use acceptable scientific standards.
To demonstrate this point, Popper  gave two cases of human behavior and typical explanations from Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler 's theories: From Adler's perspective, the first and second man suffered from feelings of inferiority and had to prove himself, which drove him to commit the crime or, in the second case, drove him to rescue the child.
Popper was not able to find any counterexamples of human behavior in which the behavior could not be explained in the terms of Adler's or Freud's theory. Popper argued  it was that the observation always fitted or confirmed the theory which, rather than being its strength, was actually its weakness.
In contrast, Popper  gave the example of Einstein's gravitational theorywhich predicted "light must be attracted by heavy bodies such as the Sunprecisely as material bodies were attracted.
This prediction was particularly striking to Popper because it involved considerable risk. The brightness of the Sun prevented this effect from being observed under normal circumstances, so photographs had to be taken during an eclipse and compared to photographs taken at night.
Popper states, "If observation shows that the predicted effect is definitely absent, then the theory is simply refuted. Thagard used astrology as a case study to distinguish science from pseudoscience and proposed principles and criteria to delineate them.
Second, it has ignored outstanding problems such as the precession of equinoxes in astronomy. Third, alternative theories of personality and behavior have grown progressively to encompass explanations of phenomena which astrology statically attributes to heavenly forces. Fourth, astrologers have remained uninterested in furthering the theory to deal with outstanding problems or in critically evaluating the theory in relation to other theories.
Thagard intended this criterion to be extended to areas other than astrology. He believed it would delineate as pseudoscientific such practices as witchcraft and pyramidologywhile leaving physicschemistry and biology in the realm of science.
Biorhythmswhich like astrology relied uncritically on birth dates, did not meet the criterion of pseudoscience at the time because there were no alternative explanations for the same observations. The use of this criterion has the consequence that a theory can be scientific at one time and pseudoscientific at a later time.
Moreover, some specific religious claims, such as the power of intercessory prayer to heal the sickalthough they may be based on untestable beliefs, can be tested by the scientific method.
Some statements and common beliefs of popular science may not meet the criteria of science. If the claims of a given field can be tested experimentally and standards are upheld, it is not pseudoscience, however odd, astonishing, or counterintuitive the claims are.
If claims made are inconsistent with existing experimental results or established theory, but the method is sound, caution should be used, since science consists of testing hypotheses which may turn out to be false. In such a case, the work may be better described as ideas that are "not yet generally accepted".University of Wisconsin Stout | Wisconsin's Polytechnic University Research Paper Rubric (Word doc) Rubric for Scoring Effective Writing Easy to modify for any kind of high school research report.
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