Sunday, May 5, 2013

Is it pseudoscience?

This is what defines pseudoscience for me: Any "theory" that introduces the nonmaterial. (Other words for'nonmaterial': 'nonnatural', 'nonphysical', 'supernatural', 'spiritual', 'magical'.) Intelligent Design (ID) is a great example of pseudoscience.

For example, superstring theory and M-theory are materialist theories, so they are not pseudoscience. One might call such theories "edge" (as in "cutting edge") science, though. Another example is the hypothesized WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particle) theorized to explain dark matter. No conclusive evidence has been found yet for WIMPs. It may be edge science, but it is clearly not pseudoscience. Cold fusion may be a "pathological" science, but it is not pseudoscience.

A materialist theory may appear to be crazy, and may even turn out to be flat wrong (as could be the theory presented in a recent paper* on the application of Moore's Law to timing the origin of life on Earth), but it is not pseudoscience.

* Moore’s Law and the Origin of Life MIT Technology Review
Apparently philosopher Paul Feyerabend thought 'pseudoscience' is just a pejorative and doesn't exist as a useful label. I don't go that far: I apply to those things that could never be science, which means they include the nonmaterial.