We’ve all been exposed to pseudoscience’s tactics — trying to warp society into its phony belief system using fear instead of facts. But do not be fooled by long, scary words and uneducated foes, because pseudoscience usually doesn’t have valid facts to back up their information. (Most of it is bullshit).
Two myths come to mind when touching on the subject of pseudoscience. First is the suggestion that all chemicals are toxic. Second is the hypothesis that all “natural” substances are superior to “synthetics.”
Let’s get one thing straight to start with: Chemical compounds make up everything on this good, green earth. Whether we are discussing nerve gas or water, we are talking about chemicals. Actually, you and I are essentially chemical factories.
Chemicals are not toxic just because they are man-made. What makes a chemical toxic is its molecular structure. More than that, it’s defined by how it is exposed and the extent of such exposure. Just because something is made in a laboratory does not necessarily mean that it is dangerous. In fact, lots of chemicals are “natural” and absolutely essential. Case in point:
From the beginning, the scientific method has guided science. Since the scientific method is all about open-mindedness, testing, and re-testing, there’s little room for uncertainty. On the other hand, pseudoscience uses the grey areas in science without delving into the rich evidence that debunks it.
For example, vaccines and autism (yes, I’m going there). The thought that vaccines cause autism is due to one debunked study from Andrew Wakefield. To tell you just how credible his “research” was, he actually lost his medical license due to his erroneous assertions.
Nevertheless, as a result of Wakefield’s fraudulent article, we have seen some of the most dangerous outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. This is because parents fear vaccinating their children against such diseases due to Wakefield’s claims.
As a result, Wakefield’s false accusations led to attempts to discredit his findings. This resulted in the spending of billions of dollars and over 100 peer-reviewed articles which totally dismiss and debunk any link between any vaccine and any type of autism.
I could say that after getting a vaccination, I had the desire to go swimming or ride a bike, but so did thousands of other people. That doesn’t mean the vaccination made me want to do those things. Rather, it’s simply something that I chose to do after receiving a vaccination.
Correlation does not equal causation. We have thousands of correlations throughout our lives, but we can’t conclude that correlations are causes without in-depth, peer-reviewed research.
Scaring people with long, unpronounceable words, surrounded by a plethora of “it’s proven” slogans, is doing no good for this world.
Another example of pseudoscience that’s scaring our world is that GMO’s (and just about everything else) are harmful to your health and making Americans obese and unhealthy.
Sure, the mutant-looking strawberries and overgrown tomatoes can be off-putting to the eye. But substantial scientific studies and peer reviews have thoroughly debunked consumers’ fears.
In fact, Pamela Ronald, a prominent plant geneticist, says that genetically engineered crops currently on the market are safe to eat.
More importantly, she says, “After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of 2 billion acres planted, no adverse health or environmental effects have resulted from commercialization of genetically engineered crops.”
Science draws its conclusions from empirical evidence–hard facts. Pseudoscience, on the other hand, generally starts with a conclusion and works backwards to attempt to confirm what it wants to be true. Claims that are inconsistent, vague, or quick to anger all point to pseudoscience.
Do your research before jumping on the bandwagon of the newest pseudoscientific trend. Chances are, real science will show you the flaws. Don’t allow fear to overshadow cold, hard facts. Don’t spread the stupid.
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