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Fakes, Frauds, and Pseudoscience

"In the last analysis, the best means of combating the spread of pseudoscience is an enlightened public, able to distinguish the work of a reputable investigator from the work of the incompetent and self-deluded. This is not as hard to do as one might think. Of course, there will always be borderline cases hard to classify, but the fact that black shades to white through many shades of gray does not mean that the distinction between black and white is difficult."

-- Martin Gardner, Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science, 1957

If you're interested in knowing what science is, it's also a good idea to learn what science isn't.

No, that's not quite right. If you're interested in knowing what is science, you also need to know how to recognize what is not science. Many things have been called science when in fact they aren't. Knowing how to recognize these various kinds of "imitation" science, or pseudoscience, is a very useful skill for everyone to have. I firmly believe that if more people knew how to recognize pseudoscience, we'd all be less vulnerable to the scams and lies perpetrated by con men and unscrupulous politicians.

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