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Science, Technology, and Pseudoscience Issues in Science and Technology.

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1 Science, Technology, and Pseudoscience Issues in Science and Technology

2 Agenda Definition of Man Science, Technology, and Magic –Break James Randi and the Secrets of the Psychics –Break Science vs. Pseudoscience

3 Man is... Symbol creating and using animal Inventor of the Negative Separated from nature by devices of his own making. Kenneth Burke, The Definition of Man

4 What is Science? Knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method and concerned with the physical world and its phenomena. Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary

5 The Scientific Method 1.Observe some aspect of the universe. 2.Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed. 3.Use the hypothesis to make predictions. 4.Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results. 5.Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between hypothesis and experiment and/or observation.

6 Science is a Paradigm A philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly : a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind

7 Science can be Wrong Results are influenced by the subjectivity of the researchers –Phrenology –N-Rays

8 Reliability and Validity Reliability is the extent to which an experiment, test, or any measuring procedure yields the same result on repeated trials Validity refers to the degree to which a study accurately reflects or assesses the specific concept that the researcher is attempting to measure Writing@CSU: Writing Guide

9 What is Technology? The discipline dealing with the art or science of applying scientific knowledge to practical problems WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

10 So... Science = the search for reliable and valid knowledge Technology = the application of knowledge

11 What’s Magic? Suitably advanced or misunderstood technology Deception passed off as supernatural phenomenon

12 Why do we privilege Science? Scientific Method is currently the best system Focus on natural, observable phenomenon Belief that “Science” is unbiased –Politics –Funding

13 Break

14 James Randi Continuation of work started by Houdini Leading voice in Skeptic Community McCarthy Foundation Grant Paranormal Challenge - $1 million James Randi Educational FoundationJames Randi Educational Foundation

15 Break

16 What is Pseudoscience? “Pseudo” = artificial Attempts to gain legitimacy by imitating scientific methods Start with answer –Find data to support –Ignore conflicting evidence

17 Example Ivory soap - "99.44/100% Pure: It Floats“ Mixture is unidentified – what’s “pure”? What does “floating” have to due with purity? –Air bubbles mixed in – therefore impure –A boat floats, is it “pure”?

18 Criteria for Determining Pseudoscience Is anecdotal evidence cited? –Individual stories, testimonies –Testimonial statements not FTC regulated Does the claim fit with existing knowledge? What kind of reasoning has been used? –Post hoc, ergo propter hoc –“After this, therefore because of this” Baloney Detection Collection

19 Criteria for Determining Pseudoscience Is it possible to test the claim? –Elimination of plausible influences Are sources cited? –Unbiased –Credible If sampled, how was the sample obtained? Baloney Detection Collection

20 Criteria for Determining Pseudoscience Is “conspiracy theory” used to support claims? –Doctors –The government –Big corporations Baloney Detection Collection

21 Criteria Anecdotal evidence? Fit with existing knowledge? Reasoning? Possible to test? Sources cited? How was the sample obtained? Conspiracy theory?

22 Examples Q-Link All Energy Center

23 For Tues. Set up Identities and Blogs Post on the Question of the Week Read –A rape in cyberspace (link on website) –Part 1 - Hackers

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