Category Archives: Anomalies
Spent 10 hours driving through north central PA and upstate NY today. I saw an incredible sunrise over the Susquehanna River, the misty mountains and valleys north of Williamsport and the ridges of wind turbines in the rolling hills of New York. But, here are two puzzlers. Read the rest of this entry
What would happen if a show like MonsterQuest actually discovered something interesting to science during one of their investigations? I mean, they find curious things sometimes – like a structure – but they just leave it behind without explanation. But, what if they REALLY filmed an animal. What would happen to the film? Would they announce it, show it beforehand, drum up a huge premier viewing event? Read the rest of this entry
Conclusion to “Sham Inquiry“
The coelacanth is a red herring
Mainstream science, which is respected and functions very well with its current methodology, excludes those fields who don’t pass muster. For a theory to be considered as an explanation for observations of the natural world, even the public realizes it ought to be scientific. Using supernatural qualities as necessary components in your theory will get you excluded from consideration outright by the scientific community. The public, on the other hand, finds the paranormal quite fascinating and is willing to give consideration to those that put on a good show. Read the rest of this entry
Continuing with “Sham Inquiry“
Elbowing in on good science
The Journal of Scientific Exploration is the published by the Society for Scientific Exploration which describes itself as “a professional organization of scientists and other scholars committed to studying phenomena that cross or are outside of the traditional boundaries of science and…are ignored or studied inadequately…” Many of the members’ topics of research and methods are considered pseudoscience by conventional scientists. The journal is closed to outside contributors and criticism. Read the rest of this entry
There has been a concerted effort to package creationist views in such a way as to sound so convincing and correct (at least politically) in order to gain public support and demonize evolution. Read the rest of this entry
Thousands of eyewitnesses report ghostly encounters from ancient history to modern times. Contact with the dead is very much part of our modern culture. With the expansion of television content and the internet, stories about hauntings have surged in popularity.
Ghost hunting is a popular hobby for thrill seekers. It’s fun to be scared. The official community of ghost hunters, including those of popular reality TV programs, are non-scientists. However, they invariably tout the scientific nature of their activities. Read the rest of this entry
The category of unconventional theories is labeled “maverick”, “fringe”, “frontier” and “exploration” in front of the word “science” to describe the work. (This community is featured on The Anomalist website – www.anomalist.com.) The conclusions they reach are at variance with what is taught as conventional science. Because these ideas are outside of the mainstream consensus and so obviously at odds with some aspect of current understanding, this foremost characteristic should send up a red flag and prompt questioning .
Unorthodox does not automatically equate to “wrong”. The more controversial the theory, however, the more airtight the evidence must be to convince. In pseudoscience, one will find the evidence elusive, with a selective use of facts focusing on anomalies, not the main body of observations. (See here.) Capitalizing on the image of science as progressive and offering new insights, pseudoscientists will often mix in just enough real science to fool naive readers. It sounds exactly like science should sound.
 Carey, S. S. (2004). A Beginner’s Guide to Scientific Method, Wadsworth. p. 17 ; Bunge, M. (1995). “In Praise of Tolerance To Charlatanism in Academia”. The Flight from Science and Reason (1996). P. R. Gross, N. Levitt, M.W. Lewis, New York Academy of Sciences. p. 101.
Back to Sham Inquiry contents page.
I still get consistent hits on this blog. Even after I took off the picts of Gerard Way!
I have linked to the Whispers from the Earth series of posts since the Sichuan quake has stirred interest in earthquake precursors. This has also been published in The Anomalist No. 13: Intermediate States. I would like to keep this blog going as a commentary on Fortean phenomena but life events take their toll as usual.
I have decided to go to grad school to study the interaction between science and the public. Some of you who know who I am also know that I have a family, a house, a garden, a dog, a full-time job, and I like to talk to my neighbors, read, watch TV, play the Wii and do everyday normal things. I also ran three blogs including this one. I have to cut something somewhere. My PC hard drive is perpetually giving me hassles so the decision has been made for me. No time for blog updates right now.
Someday, I hope to share my views in another blog, maybe a new book. As always, feel free to comment. I’ll still be listening and would love to chat (that is, unless you are trying to convince me that the full moon physically influences behavior. If that’s the case, I’ll probably just humor you.)
All the best.