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Anomalous Psychology and Pseudoscience

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Anomalous Psychology and Pseudoscience

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  • December 2012
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Pseudoscience
* The difference between pseudoscientific and scientific approaches can be seen in the methodology and rigour. Due to the subject matter of anomalistic psychology, there will always be a lack of scientific rigour and opportunities for fraud.

* There are traditions within science that inform the research methods that are used. With this in mind there are several ways that pseudoscientific traditions differ:

a) Pseudoscience often uses theories that are outdated, disproved or not even proven to support the research (e.g. shroud of Turin). Science has a system of continual updating of research theories. b) Explanations in pseudoscience often ignore disagreement with conventional scientific research, since scientific research looks at and tests phenomena that actually happen rather than things that could have possibly happened (e.g. c) Myths are used by pseudoscience to support theories (e.g. Big Foot or Nessie), unlike science where theories are tested by empirical research and validation of the findings. d) Illogical - homeopathy, the more diluted a medicine the better it works e) Inconsistent – it does not work with what we already know - astrology is not consistent with astronomy f) It requires we stop believing in well established scientific principles g) It is based on the interpretation of a single charismatic leader or sacred text h) Irrefutable hypotheses: pseudoscientists defy falsification, since they create theories that are hard to prove false. With science falsification is proof of the quality of the investigation and theory based upon it. However:

a) Some areas of pseudoscientific research use similar methods to scientific research. Both gather data, both have a research question upon which hypotheses are based, the investigation tests the hypothesis and the results are then published (e.g. Ganzfeld technique and Autoganzfeld technique) b) Both scientists and pseudoscientists pick and...