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Posted: January 4, 2008
The problem with pseudosciences
(Nanowerk News) There is an interesting article on the CSI (Committee for Sceptical Inquiry) website about a broad range of assessments from CSICOP panelists of pseudoscience and the paranormal in education, the media, and public perception.
When the American Physical Society held its meeting in Minneapolis last year, 5,000 physicists presented the latest findings in areas like condensed matter physics, materials sciences, chemical physics, biological physics, fluid dynamics, polymer physics, and applied physics. The newsroom was abuzz about a chemist's report of his incredible DNA nanotechnology devices and news of other nanotechnology advancements in the self-assembly of periodic matter.
But there was something even a little more unusual at this APS meeting. A CSICOP panel presented a special session on the problems of pseudoscience, titled "The Skeptical Inquirer on the New Paranatural Paradigm." The interest was so great the session had to be moved to the convention center's 700-seat ballroom.
The findings of the CSICOP panel strongly indicate that, until further notice, there simply is no plausible evidence of extraterrestrial visitors, or of ghosts who intervene in our affairs, or of gods who might have designed the universe. The new cast of wizards and shamans have merely relabeled the previous, tired old routines: mediums are now called "channelers"; the incubus is now a highly intelligent alien with mystifying technology; preachers now wish to be called scientists; and the bio-energetic force field has replaced the ether of Vitalism. But, amidst all of the charlatans and the persistent media hype that is lavished upon them, we may all reasonably rest assured that the same fundamental laws of physics still apply-to everyone.