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Demarcation

Powerful Essays
Pseudoscience occurs when a topic that in itself is not scientific is treated as a science. Despite society’s general disregard for the demarcation point between science and non-science there are real, everyday consequences to accepting these fields into our scientific domain. So why are certain theories classified as scientific? On one hand there is an ignorance and apathy in regard to this demarcation, on the other hand pseudo-sciences are accepted as sciences because of the appeal they hold in intrigue and comfort. The situation is made more complicated by science that is practiced in an unscientific matter. This bad science straddles the line between what is science, done poorly and what is in fact not science at all. The governmental, societal, cultural and monetary impacts of these issues mean that a blind eye can no longer be turned to this issue, and the gates to the classification of science cannot be left so blatantly open.

To account for the problems of pseudoscience and bad science it is important to understand the meaning of each. According to Ladyman’s account pseudo-science is when a non-science (he specifically identifies social sciences) masquerades as science by adopting the “style and superficial appearance of science”. An easy example here may be astrology. Manuscripts and teachings on the subject as well as documentation and analysis give such a topic the guise of a science when in fact there is nothing scientific about it. Yet, the demarcation between scientific and not is blurry.

Popper argues that falsification is the demarcating factor. He points out that many pseudosciences draw their “justification” from affirmative events. The problem is that many of the theories under this umbrella are too general, ...

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...amined by the population and ethical lines should be decided by society as whole, not just the practicing field of science.

With the fury of ethical, monetary, legal and societal issues surrounding this field it is time to take a second look at science. Demarcation must stand at the forefront in order to determine what endeavours are worth the investment to support, correct and evaluate and what endeavours are ultimately non-scientific bunk. Demarcation is ultimately important because without it there could be a time where a person is tried before the court on the basis of the scientific testimony of an astrologist. If we are not yet ready to accept that the Sun’s position and Jupiter’s orbit may result in a persons incarceration, as a society we need to take a more critical look at what will be allowed into the domain of science and what is otherwise just fiction.
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