Pseudoscience: Magnetic Therapy

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Pseudoscience refers to research that appears to be science but that lacks some of the underlying key aspects. Often, these include components such as submitting publications for peer review, performing research studies to gather results, and repeating these studies to find similar results. The problem of separating science from pseudoscience generally a difficult one because of the difficulty of defining science. Most scientists would agree that in order for a hypothesis to be scientific, it must be refutable. A theory or hypothesis which cannot be refuted is not science3.

Magnetic therapy is a method of applying magnetic fields to the body for therapeutic purposes. Using magnets for healing pain is becoming increasingly popular. However, despite the popularity, there is a lack of scientific evidence to prove magnets have any therapeutic benefit. The article I choose is "Magnetic Therapy: Plausible Attraction?" by James D. Livingston. James D. Livingston, a former specialist in magnetic research for General Electric, claims to have the answers people need on the technological marvels performed by the power of magnets. The goal of this paper is to take the "answers" that James D. Livingston presents in his article and classify each under one of the 10 marks of pseudoscience. By doing this, I aim to show that magnetic therapy, while interesting and believable, should be classified as a pseudoscience.

The article begins with Livingston describing the history of magnetic therapy. By beginning the article this way, Livingston is attempting to Appeal to Myths to build a foundation for his claim. Livingston gives the impression that this argument has been ongoing for thousands of years,1 and that Paracelsus, a physician who lived from 1493-1543 reasoned that since magnets have the power to attract iron, perhaps they can also attract diseases and leach them from the body. Livingston also adds that Franz Anton Mesmer who lived from 1734-1815 had a theory called...
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