Knowing Pseudoscience

Pseudoscience is some form of knowledge, belief or research that claims (or appears) to be scientific, but is not actually following a scientific method.  Peer review and independent research by others may fail to prove the claims.  Superficially, such claims may appear scientific to people.
Some of the techniques mentioned in the article that are used by the website to sell their products include:-
1. The research findings or market findings provided by the pseudo-scientists appears to be unprofessional and sloppy.  They may often quote newspaper reports, media coverage, people’s gossip, ancient books, and other pseudoscience books.

2. Pseudoscientists provide facts that emotionally appeal to the audience and provide spectacular results to problems experienced by them.  They may even provide facts to support these results.
3. Pseudoscientists often make people indulge in an irrational form of thinking known as ‘magical thinking’ which is an age-old human habit.  Scientific investigations conducted to prove such facts may be unsuccessful.
4.  Pseudoscientists provide evidence that is different from those provided by systematic studies.  Often a lot of importance is given to unverifiable testimony from people and eyewitnesses, stories, real-life experiences, rumors, gossips, anecdotes, etc.  Studies conducted by professionals are ignored, misinterpreted or even proven wrong.
5. The pseudo scientists do not give reference to previous systematic studies and investigations conducted.  The only give false facts directly, which often cannot be proven right.  They may not allow their claims to be put to a more meaningful test, but may instead suggest some unscientific crazy experiments.
The website claims that the tapes can make the individual achieve ‘anything and almost everything’ and ‘As you grow, a series of events occur which build your personality….and your whole self…’  The article says that pseudoscientist often make extraordinary claims that may be not scientifically true.  Repeated scientific experiments conducted independently by others fail to prove such clams.
They also try to influence the individual by encouraging him/her into magical thinking (belief that one’s thoughts, words or action will create results that will defy the laws of nature).  Magical thinking is an old human habit, and often unknowingly we tend to indulge in it.  Pseudoscience may begin by providing facts that emotionally apply to the audience, and provide spectacular results to people’s problems.  They may even provide evidence to support their results.
The Websites claims appreciation from renowned organizations and references such as the Russian Government, CNN, Boston University, etc.  The Russian Government may not be able to monitor implementation of ‘Subliminal messages’, as Private TV channels are free to broadcast what they want.  The website gives a positive comment by CNN.
However, it did not give the exact person or the date on which these observations and comments were made.  The article says that pseudo-scientists often quote newspaper articles, press reports, collect rumors and gossips, and may even quote other books or organizations that are false or even non-existent.  The research done by the pseudo-scientists usually appears to be unprofessional and careless.
The website gives testimony’s of several ‘satisfied customers’ (as claimed by the company) such as George Montgomery, Philadelphia; Joe Martin, Tampa, Florida; Carole Dallas, Portland; Paul Smiley, Richmond; Sherry Fusco, Bois; etc.  Often pseudo-scientists do not give importance to systematic studies provided by professionals and instead give undue importance to the views and testimony’s from unverifiable customers.  They may not permit their products to be subjected to true scientific studies.
The website also offers a one-year guarantee for their products.  The Website has not quoted any proven studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of their products.  Guarantee may be a method of compensating for this (to attract the customers into buying their products).
References:
Coker, R. (2001). Distinguishing Science and Pseudoscience. Retrieved December 17, 2006, from Quack Watch Web site: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/pseudo.html
Subliminal Self-Improvement.com. (2006). Home. Retrieved December 17, 2006, from Subliminal Self-Improvement Web site: http://www.subliminal-tapes-self-improvement.com/index.html
 
 

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