Thursday, February 04, 2010

When Is Science Not Science?

Lots of people think chiropractors are quacks, but I swear by mine and the Palmer Method. Some people swear by "Eastern medicine" and acupuncture and the like. Are these "science" or fakery?

I'm not sure we should ask this guy:

I'm quite proud, under most circumstances, to be affiliated with the University of Minnesota: it's an excellent university (and the Morris campus is the best within the system, although some of the other campuses argue about that), we've got great students, and we are a secular public institution dedicated to giving an affordable education to anyone. However, there is also one thing about the University of Minnesota which causes me great shame, and which I consider a betrayal of reason and evidence.

I am speaking, of course, of the Center for Spirituality & Healing. Center for Bullshit & Quackery is more like it. It's the cesspit of the university, where all the pseudoscientific fuzzy-headed crap that fails is excreted, polished, gilded, and held on high as a beacon of New Age light to lead the gullible into a sewer of feel-good futility. If I were president of the university (only possible if genies are real), my first act would be to shut down the whole institution and send the dishonest rascals running the show back to their profitable nostrum-peddling, crystal-gazing, finger-waving tea rooms and sideshow tents.

OK, it's not that I'm some big fan of homeopathy, but I'll bet I can come up with some less reasonable, and more harmful, and less useful, courses of study than homeopathy.

Heck, on Bones, Dr. Brennan doesn't even think psychology is a real science.

1 comment:

erica said...

I guess it comes down to what you believe is harmful.

Personally I find that adherence to something as gobsmackingly ludicrous as homeopathy pretty well guarantees a complete misunderstanding of just about every other principle important to having a realistic view of the world.

Magical thinking is magical thinking, whether applied to your spine or the economy, and it doesn't do anyone any good in either area.