Unorthodox and proud of it

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 [1].

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.

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[1] 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.

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