An important and interesting subject, what is pseudoscience? what is 'dogma', what is a theory or hypothesis? What's the scientific method and how is the scientific method responsibility used and irresponsibility abused?
One thing for sure is the scientific method does not care about who you are, your qualifications, how famous you are or how many people agree with you.
The scientific method is a method to try to determine the most valid description of an effect, Feynman in his 'Nature of physical laws' describes it best by
Guess.... Calculate the consequences... compare with nature (by observation or experiment)… That's it, the scientific method.
Even if you apply that methodology, you can still fall into traps (for the noobies), that is you can easily make your guess/hypothesis so vague that you can massage the compare with nature phase to be acceptable to and fit any calculation of the consequences.
When I think about that problem I am always coming back to the Big Bang models and theories, the hypothesis is so vague that ANY (and every) observed result can be shoe horned into being conformational of some variant of the Big Bang..
So the Big Bang can be considered an argument from presupposition, you have a conclusion, so every observation you make is influenced by your confirmation bias to make the data fit the conclusion.
That to me is at best not good science. The theory or hypothesis should lag the evidence, and not lead the evidence.
I'm not trying to pick on Big Bang cosmology, but it is very pronounced in the deeply theoretical nature of cosmology with very little to almost no real data to go on, so a great many assumptions are made, again often made from the presupposition argument that the observation has to fit into the Big Bang expanding universe model.
So is a theory that the universe did not start with a big bang 13.8 billion years ago, that is static and eternal (we can't assume any start time) but locally dynamic pseudoscience or crank/junk science?
Try getting a paper peer reviewed and published, or getting the cosmology community to even review or assess a non-Big Bang model!
Scientific Hubris: "My model is perfect, my theory is 100% correct, my observations are without error!... No, it's the universe that is wrong"
Again, don't mean to rag on the cosmologists... But !!
This is the kind of thing that bothers me, (after a lifetime of developing analysis and scientific measuring experiments and instruments), about things such as Dark Matter and galactic rotation curves.
You assume you are accurately measuring the actual rotation, you assume you can count the amount of matter, and assume that as the results do not follow, what I consider to be a simplistic model that to make the observations fit your model you have to add dark matter and play with the distribution of that to try to get your model to work, and it's not a close call! Nor is it a consistent call.
As an experimentalist if you get that kind of inconsistency from your model and observations, I would have to consider I am not measuring what I think I am or that my model is wrong.
Sorry I got a bit off track..
Peer review and publish: If you have been in academia for awhile or have just observed it, the peer review process is not working very well. The publish or perish ideology is very real, you have academics having to publish at a certain frequency and volume in order to get tenure or to stay valid or to get promotion, with quantity quality slips.
How long did it take Einstein to come up with General relativity (I think 10 years or so)? When he did publish was there anyone who could peer review it and does it matter to the validity of the theory?
Peer review is not a part of the scientific method, peer reviewing a paper only really should be looking at the methodology, logic and mathematics of the paper that is the result of the scientific method being applied. It is not in itself a part of the scientific method.
Science is not a democracy, it does not matter how many people agree or disagree with you, who they are, what their name is, or what their qualifications are or what influence they have, or how many there are!
Science is not a democracy, peer review and published is not a seal of approval or a confirmation that you are correct.
What shows that you are at least temperately correct is in how you applied the scientific method to confirm your hypothesis.
- How you framed the hypothesis, how specific and concise your guess it so that you make definite statements that you can calculate the consequences for, and not a broad sweeping statement like (once upon a time long ago there was a big bang and out popped our universe).
- The calculated consequences of the hypothesis (being specific and concise as determined by the hypothesis
- How does the calculated consequences fit with nature/observation/experiment?
If you can meet those simple conditions of having a guess, calculating the consequences and comparing that with observation, then you are doing actual science.
However, if you are making the observations, then calculating the consequences the building the hypothesis, with a hypothesis that is very, very non-specific and vague then I would argue that you are not doing it right, and that might even be considered pseudoscience.
Thanks for this topic, it's a really interesting subject.. and remember that todays pseudoscience might be tomorrows cold fusion (oh wait, forget that), might be tomorrows breakthrough.
Edited by Mutex, 13 January 2020 - 10:41 PM.