is often described as a SOCIAL ACTIVITY governed by a shared, standardized pattern of thinking:


To eliminate or drastically reduce error, the process loops back on itself and must be tempered by two other processes: VERIFICATION through REPLICATION and PEER REVIEW (examination / critiques of data, methods and inferences by other specialists / experts)


is often the activity of an isolated individual (often with followers) who sees himself as the possesser of truths that no-one else recognizes. Pseudo-science is a parody of the scientific process. The pseudoscientist's ideas are the result of an undisciplined mixture of facts, factoids, misinterpretations, untested conjectures and speculations.

How to think like a PSEUDOSCIENTIST:

1. Treat unjustified assumptions and interpretations--and other opinions--as being equal to established facts.

2. Use as few facts as possible--or even non-facts--to create wide-ranging speculative 'stories' that 'explain' the world's 'mysteries.'

3. Treat myths and ancient documents as literal or near-literal descriptions of actual events and then count their details as factual evidence--even if those events violate known scientific principles and mechanisms.

4. Out of the myth's details, create a 'hypothesis' to explain the myth and then--in a display of circular reasoning--use the myth's details as evidence to 'prove' the 'hypothesis' that was stimulated by the myth in the first place.

5. Loosely define--or don't define--what counts as evidence that could prove / disprove claims -and once something is treated as supporting evidence treat it forever as evidence--even if it lacks credibility.

6. Word a so-called 'hypothesis' so vaguely that it would never be possible to disprove or falsify it.

7. Seek out evidence that in any way appears to supports your claims and story but ignore or misrepresent evidence that disproves them--or even questions them.

8. Instead of revising claims when faced with strong contrary evidence, try to ignore it, distract from it, explain it away, discount it--or suppress it if possible

9. Treat speculative stories and conjectures as complete explanations that only need more similar examples to further support their truth.

10. Create stories that claim to show how events could cause the results claimed even if they are not consistent with established principles or mechanisms.

11. When scientific knowledge is referred to, summarize it in a way that accidentally or intentionally oversimplifies and distorts what the scientist(s) actually said and intended.

12. While reading and interpreting scientific statements make sure to pay little or not attention to the scientific data and methods that stimulated and justified those statements in the first place

13. Whenever possible, piggyback unjustified speculative claims onto established scientific knowledge to increase the apparent credibility of your speculations.

14. Resurrect theories that science has earlier rejected as outmoded but give little or no attention to why science came to consider them outmoded.

Back to Main Page