Common Pseudoscience Arguments

The “Scientists Were Wrong” Gambit and the Science Denier’s Paradox

Introduction It’s no secret that humans are not always rational. Although innately possessing the capacity for complex and abstract reasoning, strongly-held beliefs and cognitive biases often lead people to use that ability selectively and/or to employ it in the defense of unfounded ideas via specious motivated reasoning.[1][2][3] One of the Read more…

By Credible Hulk, ago
Common Pseudoscience Arguments

Why The Asbestos Gambit Fails

People who oppose one or more areas of mainstream science have developed a wide variety of creative ways of rationalizing their rejection of scientific evidence and scientific consensus. Realizing that they cannot rebut a particular scientific idea on the basis of the evidence, some of them will instead resort to attacking the reliability of scientific knowledge more generally. A popular method of doing so is the Asbestos Gambit. The argument is that the story of asbestos implies that areas of strong scientific consensus can't be trusted. The purpose of this article is to examine the history of asbestos use and the evolution of our knowledge of the health dangers it presents, and to explain why the Asbestos Gambit is a terrible argument on multiple levels. (more…)

By Credible Hulk, ago
Common Pseudoscience Arguments

Science has been wrong before, therefore I can make up whatever bullshit I want.

Some of the historical instances which typically get characterized as “science having been wrong” can be better understood as incomplete theories/models being conceptually re-framed in order to account for both the facts explained by the prior theory/model, as well as whatever (more recently acquired facts) made the modification necessary. In Read more…

By Credible Hulk, ago