In the familiar ongoing battle of Science vs Pseudoscience it would seem that the Pseudoscientists and Wooists have an unfair advantage because unlike Science they are not restricted by the laws of Physics and do not carry the inherent burden of proof that real scientists and skeptics require in order to support their claims.
The pseudoscientists have a bottomless bag of bullshit from which they can pull all sorts of absurd claim from. Homeopaths for example make the absurd claim that water has “memory” and that it can remember a substance after that substance has long since disappeared. Psychics like to use the term “Energy” as I discussed briefly in an earlier post to try and describe a magical force that they can somehow tap into. There are countless examples of “perpetual motion” machines such as the LUTEC Engine which in theory violates the laws of thermal dynamics, which is an impossibility and such laws of nature have been well established by the collective of scientific knowledge.
On the other hand scientists are restricted by facts. Whenever they make a claim they must provide evidence to support it and that evidence must then stand up to the scrutiny of peer-review. A pseudoscientist can just keep on making things up but a real scientist or skeptic simply cannot.
However despite the notable advantage of limitless bullshit the pseudoscience quacks and frauds are still having a hard time. Just this week the UK’s National Health Service has been met with calls to drop the funding of Homeopathic remedies.
Today the Science and Technology Select Committee delivered its verdict on homeopathy and it was devastating. The committee has called for the complete withdrawal of NHS funding and official licensing of homeopathy. –Guardian.co.uk
In addition to this triumph over the fraud of Homeopathy another battle has also been won against pseudoscience, but at the cost of countless lives. Some pseudoscientist frauds are so morally bankrupt that nothing will get in the way of their ill-gotten cash flow.
A BBC Newsnight investigation has exposed a “useless” bomb detector device currently being used at security check points in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK Government has now banned the export of the British made device and the device’s maker, Jim McCormack, has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.
The Iraqi government has spent 85 million dollars, at a cost of 40 thousand dollars each, on the dowsing-like ADE-651 devices, but there are now fears that they failed to prevent bomb attacks which killed hundreds of military personal and civilians. Sidney Alford a leading explosives expert, said the sale of the devices was “absolutely immoral”.
He told Newsnight; “It could result in people being killed in the dozens, if not hundreds.”
This comes after three recent suicide car bomb attacks in Baghdad, with one attack in December killing over 120 Iraqis. –The Skeptics’ Book of Pooh-Pooh
Just another example of the harm these fraudsters can cause when they use fake science to try and sell a product. If you spend enough time debunking unscientific claims you will find that more often than not the pseudoscientist has something to sell, while the Skeptic who exposes them often has nothing to sell yet still carries the burden of evidence founded on real scientific principles.
While pseudoscience may at first appear to have a significant advantage over science it is only possible to invent so much bullshit before you are exposed for whatever con you are trying to pull. In the end real science always triumphs over pseudoscience no matter how much bullshit they can invent.