Presentation on theme: "Optical Illusions Things that look one way but are another."— Presentation transcript:
Optical Illusions Things that look one way but are another
Count the number of times the students in white shirts pass the ball: Simons, D. J. (2003) Viscog Productions
I show you these things to illustrate how easy it is for even educated people to fool themselves. Some people think scientists are closed-minded and claim to have all the answers. But the opposite is true. The excitement in science comes from discovering things that were not previously known. And occasionally things we thought were true turn out to be wrong, as Einstein showed. But science provides a way to distinguish truth from falsity. The method is not perfect, but it allows us to know that things such as THESE have a very low probability of being true. Some people believe in UFOs and even think we’ve been visited by LITTLE GREEN MEN from outer space, but that’s highly unlikely. ASTROLOGY, which claims that the position of the planets at the moment of one’s birth influences human events has been disproved in over 40 controlled studies. The James Randi Educational Foundation has a standing offer of $1M to anyone who can demonstrate PARANORMAL ABILITY under controlled conditions. Most of ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE is pure placebo. Touch therapy, in which the practitioner manipulates the patients’ “energy field” without actually touching them is available in over 70 hospitals around the country. But it was debunked by a nine-year- old girl as part of a fourth-grade science project and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Many of the same people who decry the health hazard of EM fields now strap magnets to their bodies to cure various ills. This is not to say that people can’t be affected by or even benefit from false beliefs. There’s a strong mind/body interaction that can alter one’s mood and even health. But if beliefs are not grounded in solid science, there’s also a potential for harm, and it can impede the progress of science. It’s now been a hundred years since physics was put on a firm foundation, and I think it’s time to eliminate superstition and pseudoscience from our culture. I hope you’ll join me in that effort.
Pseudoscience That which appears to be science but is not
Low Probability of Being True UFOs and Extraterrestrials Astrology Perpetual Motion Machines Extrasensory Perception Divining Rods and Ouija Boards Ghosts and Demons Most “Alternative” Medicine
We live in an orderly universe that cannot be circumvented by magic or miracles. — Robert L. Park The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. — Albert Einstein