TED and TEDx reinvent the wheel — and get it all wrong (or, Ignorant punditry about science and pseudo-science)

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Great article by Henry Bauer about the unsolvability of the demarcation problem and the implications this has for people who think otherwise.

Skepticism about science and medicine

For something like a century, scientists, philosophers of science, and many other scholars have grappled with this question: What criteria, principles, rules, or behavior characterize science by contrast to all other things? What exactly is “not-science”, in other words? What exactly is “pseudo-science”?

The upshot of these many decades of suggestions and discussions and argumentation among the most well-informed specialists is that

NO  COMBINATION  OF  CRITERIA,  PRINCIPLES,  RULES, or BEHAVIOR
CAN  DISTINGUISH  SCIENCE UNEQUIVOCALLY
from NON-SCIENCE or from “PSEUDO-SCIENCE”

The classic summation of failed attempts is Larry Laudan’s “The demise of the demarcation problem” [1]. Even those who don’t agree that the issue is at a dead end [2] attempt to find a practical distinction by means of “family resemblances” or “fuzzy logic”, thereby acknowledging that the distinction can only be approximate, probabilistic, never a definitive one: no hard-and-fast, unequivocally valid set of criteria is able to identify an instance…

View original post 1,383 more words

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