Name: Ahmed Samy Abdallah. ID: 900130083. Section 01 UFO-ology as an example of pseudoscience Among various pseudoscience examples one gets bombarded with while browsing the Internet, UFO-ology grabbed my attention most. UFO-ology is a kind of pseudoscience which focuses on revealing the secret of what they claim to be as “objects moving in the sky.” The term “UFO” is usually connected to witnessing spaceships flying over the Earth or even landing on it and witnessing aliens who come out of the spaceship. While reading this information, I was wondering how such kind of dogmatic reports could be taken seriously by people who believe in such things. To define this problem, we first have to draw the edge between science and pseudoscience in terms of credibility and relevance to our nature. Firstly, there are various differences between science and pseudoscience in terms of credibility. In the article titled “Science and Pseudoscience,” the process of writing a report about witnessing a UFO is mentioned to be consisting of three parts which are: perception, conception and reporting, respectively. By perception I mean that the event, which is witnessing the flying object, should be established by one of our five senses which is the eye. When perception is accomplished, pseudo-scientists seek attaining conception which is relating this event to a current existing reliable concept in order to attract more people by claiming to be reliable and trustworthy. Finally, when they combine perception and conception, they come to the final step which is reporting the incident in a way that makes people think of their claim with seriousness and belief. However, all these steps are mostly misleading and unreliable because of many factors which differentiate science from
pseudoscience. Science, as we all know, is based on continuous observation and testing in order to falsify the hypothesis. On the other hand, pseudoscience is based on dogmatic and ideological beliefs by discarding serious tests for the hypothesis by just seeking to prove their hypothesis instead of trying to falsify it. One of the major boundaries which Karl Popper has established which distinguishes science from non-science is the ability to falsify the hypothesis by several ways which is actually the creative aspect in testing. In the UFO example, how can we falsify this hypothesis without knowing a way to test it? This totally affects its credibility and ability to convince people that UFO-ology is true. One more feature that characterizes pseudoscience is its hostility in defending its hypothesis. When new scientific evidence is proved, old scientific theories are updated to fit with the new proven evidence because science is not static, it is always progressing in a prompt pace. However, pseudoscience never seeks progress because all it aims to do is being hostile while defending their hypothesis and rejecting any other evidence which proves that it is wrong. How can pseudoscience be reliable and trusted if it never listens to any scientific research while trying to convince people to listen only to its hypotheses? Thatâ€™s why when writing a book about UFO-ology, there is no progress in printing many editions of the book because it is the same information they give all the time without even significant evidence or proof. These books are not revised and often contain misleading information to brain-wash scientific illiterate people who tend to read these books. UFO-ology pseudoscientists know that people will be skeptical about what they write in the book so they know that their books will be sold. This is another ultimate difference between science and pseudoscience which is that science seeks discovering the natural world while pseudoscience is mainly used as business propaganda. In addition to lacking reliability, pseudoscience is not even relevant to our natural world. Basically, scienceâ€™s main goal is to discover our natural world and how things work around us. As for pseudoscience, it aims to provide people with supernatural reasoning
disregarding the natural scientific ones. Seeing a flying UFO is not based on empirical materials such as pictures taken by cameras or recorded videos for the flying object. It is all based on a minority who claim that they witnessed the spaceship travelling in the sky. This is not a natural phenomenon which one can simple believe in, it is rather a supernatural phenomenon with no supporting empirical evidence to falsify or approve of it. In order for science to explore our natural world, it uses the scientific process which is based on continuous observation, setting a hypothesis and making a prediction then thorough testing. A minority claims that seeing a UFO is a scientific phenomenon and relates to our natural world. How can their observations be guaranteed if they are so few people among the whole world’s population who claim to believe in such stuff. They can’t even apply the first step of the scientific process which is trustable and empirical observations, how can they apply rationalism and skepticism to design ways to test their hypothesis? In the article titled “Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Public Understanding,” statistics have been conducted to determine the percentage of people who believe in such stuff. In 2001, statistics made by the National Science Foundation (NSF) showed that 30% of people who have taken the survey believe that there are unidentified flying objects in the sky. Also, 33% of responders believed that creatures outside Earth have visited our planet in the past! This brings us back to the importance of science in spreading of scientific literacy so that people do not fall into such kinds of non-scientific hallucination I can say. Unlike pseudoscience examples such as UFO-ology, Science is a great tool which aids us to question about everything around us and to grasp our origins using constructive methods. Last but not least, the event of seeing UFOs and such stuff are common in our current world especially as Internet search enhanced and more unreliable and illogical resources being believed in. As we have mentioned in this course, scientific illiteracy is among the most dangerous problems which threatens the world right now. The significant role of science is to
keep progressing and convince people rationally and logically to destroy what is called â€œpseudoscience.â€? Question is: Does pseudoscience aim to discover natural world? Yes, but by using fake arguments and dogmatic point of view without evidence nor proofs nor negotiations with the other side. If people keep believing in such things, it could even threaten their lives if they become too much attached to these ideas by risking their lives in unknown adventures. Therefore, the great message which science delivers to humanity must always seek to convince people of how to use correct methodologies in investigating their world.
Works cited "Science and Pseudoscience." University of South Carolina, n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2014. <http://astro.physics.sc.edu/pseudoscience.html>. "Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Public Understanding Science Fiction and Pseudoscience." Science and Engineering Indicators 2002. National Science Foundation, n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2014. <http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind02/c7/c7s5.htm>