Miracle drugs and revolutionary products seem to pop up daily in todays social-media-driven world. Maybe its a magic diet that will make you lose 20 pounds in a week or an amino-acid-fortified shampoo that cures baldness in 24 hours. But one way or the other, theres a good chance youve come across a few of them.
Unfortunately, these so-called miracle products are generally terrible disappointments. And that shouldnt be surprising. Most if not all of these magic products have little to no scientific evidence backing them. At best, they are a waste of your time and money. At worst? They can lead to sickness or even death.
Here's a guide to everything you need to know about pseudoscience, how to spot fake products, and a list of some of the most popular products and technologies that are all hype and no science.
First things first what exactly is pseudoscience? The word pseudo means "false," so pseudoscience simply translates to false science. Or better put it is nonsense dressed up as science. Pseudoscience is almost always either loosely based on real science or what sounds like science.
In his recently published research paper, Sven Hanson, a Swedish philosopher, defines pseudoscience as "a doctrine that is claimed to be scientific in spite of not being so." He goes on to say that, unlike science, which is open to change and new information, pseudoscience is ideological in nature. It is "characterized by a staunch commitment to doctrines that are irreconcilable with legitimate science."
Hanson identifies the three major boxes that pseudoscience must check as: 1) It refers to issues that rest within the domain of science. 2) Its results are unreliable (not reproducible). 3) It is based on a body of knowledge that is ideological and generally stands as a doctrine
According to Hanson, pseudotechnology is, an alleged technology that is irreparably dysfunctional for its intended purpose since it is based on construction principles that cannot be made to work. To paraphrase, it doesnt do what its supposed to and can never do so. Interestingly, the term pseudotechnology is pretty unpopular. In fact, as of April 2020, the word pseudoscience was searched on Google 700 times more than pseudotechnology, notes Hanson.
And heres why you dont hear so much about pseudotechnology if a piece of tech doesnt work, youll know right there on the spot. Additionally, a technology typically only impacts the end-user (or those near to them). Science, on the other hand, involves all-encompassing concepts that usually impact us all and is more difficult to refute than a technology that does or does not do a specific thing.
In an ideal world, pseudoscience would be easy to spot. Unfortunately, the many so-called experts who promote these products usually make the task more challenging. For instance, Dr. Mehmet Oz, a doctor and popular TV host, has been repeatedly accused of peddling pseudoscientific information on his show and even had to appear before the US senate in 2014. In one of his episodes, he proclaimed green coffee extract as a magic weight-loss compound. In his defense, a handful of research studies did report a mildweight-loss benefit for this compound. But heres the kicker: these studies are based on poor methodological quality, according to a systematic review on the subject published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice.
In short, Dr. Oz's claims were not based on reliable peer review or what actual science shows.
Elsewhere, Goop, Gwyneth Paltrows company, has also been heavily criticized for peddling false health claims. In fact, in 2018, they were forced to pay a $145,000 settlement in a lawsuit they faced for peddling false health claims for financial profit. For instance, Goop claimed that one of their products the vaginal jade egg could regulate menstrual cycles, balance hormones, increase bladder control and prevent urinary prolapse. Wow. Sounds like a cureall.
Unfortunately, it cannot do any of those things.
So, how do you ensure you dont fall for con artists parading as scientists? Well, here are a few telltale signs of pseudoscience-based products.
They rely heavily on testimonials
As far as real science is concerned, you dont need to oversell anything. If it works, your results should do the talking. But marketers of pseudoscientific products understand that people respond well to emotional stimulation and the story of others. So, instead of sharing real data, they emphasize the numerous testimonials they have from current users.
If the science behind a product is legit, the manufacturers will go out of their way to share the results. Testimonials will only be secondary. But if you find a so-called science-based product that is marketed largely based on testimonials, then be careful... its probably a scam.
Theyre based on new and evolving sciences
Evolving sciences are a major breeding ground for quacks and people who want to get away with whatever explanation they provide. This isnt yet fully understood, but it works, is the catchphrase they use to deceive the innocent public, so you might want to look out for that.
Speaking of evolving sciences, quantum mechanics has been heavily abused in this regard. For instance, one business created a so-called tick-repelling barrier that supposedly utilizes the "power of the bio-energetic field which surrounds all living things"to create a repelling barrier against insects and its all based on "natures energetic principles in combination with physics, quantum physics, and advanced computer software technology". But guess what quantum physics doesn't work like that.
One Product cures many diseases
Okay heres the thing the human body is very complex and even a single disease can have multiple root causes. So, the idea of a single product curing multiple ailments is simply impractical and irrational no matter how many testimonials they display or how shiny the science looks.
They ignore real scientific processes
Evidence-based products or treatments undergo multiple steps in the scientific process before theyre released for public use. For a new medicine or treatment, such steps may include basic lab research, animal tests, clinical trials, and eventually, peer-reviewed publications. If a so-called miracle product hasnt been rigorously tested enough to result in a published peer-reviewed paper, you should probably stay away from it.
One Genius figured it out
While it may be easy for a fictional Tony Stark to create some of the world's greatest technologies all by himself, the truth is far from this in the real world. Even geniuses like Elon Musk and Bill Gates dont claim to figure out everything all by themselves.
The truth is that science and medicine have been practiced for thousands of years. And even the most novel findings are largely based on building on the existing knowledge provided by many people. So, when you hear that one person figured out some new technique or cure overnight, without it going through some sort of critique or review by other experts, you can almost be certain its pseudoscience.
Read the original post:
- Think Einstein hated quantum physics? Go back to school, fool! - The Next Web - July 12th, 2021
- Do We Live in a Multiverse? - ScienceAlert - July 12th, 2021
- "Little Einstein," an 11-year-old who just graduated university, now seeks to achieve immortality - The A.V. Club - July 12th, 2021
- For The First Time, Scientists Have Connected a Superconductor to a Semiconductor - ScienceAlert - July 12th, 2021
- Twinkle Khanna: You don't have to be a nerd to love speculative fiction - The Tribune India - July 12th, 2021
- Lost in Reality: A Broad Perspective - Commentary Box Sports - July 12th, 2021
- Quantum Key Distribution: Is it as secure as claimed and what can it offer the enterprise? - The Register - July 7th, 2021
- A Quantum Critique of the Western Worldview - Fair Observer - July 7th, 2021
- French researchers on the verge of quantum computing milestone - RFI English - July 7th, 2021
- Quantum computing to reduce operational costs for oil and gas companies - Oil Review Africa - June 28th, 2021
- Is reality a game of quantum mirrors? A new theory suggests it might be - The Conversation AU - June 28th, 2021
- Quantum Theory: A Scientific Revolution that Changed Physics Forever - Interesting Engineering - June 28th, 2021
- NIST's Quantum Security Protocols Near the Finish Line The U.S. standards and technology authority is searching - IoT World Today - June 28th, 2021
- Science Should Not Try to Absorb Religion and Other Ways of Knowing - Scientific American - June 28th, 2021
- Lars Jaeger: Quantum Computers Have Reached the Mainstream - finews.asia - June 28th, 2021
- THE OPEN DOOR: Living in a web of connections - newportri.com - June 27th, 2021
- Carlo Rovelli: My work in physics is endlessly creative - The Guardian - June 27th, 2021
- Exotic Superconductors: The Secret That Was Never There - SciTechDaily - June 27th, 2021
- Emmy Noether | Mathematician who proved Noether's theorem - New Scientist - June 27th, 2021
- TNIAAM recommends: Which books are you reading right now? - Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician - June 27th, 2021
- Exploring the universe: Texas Tech astrophysicist receives share of grant for gravitational wave research - LubbockOnline.com - June 27th, 2021
- Lars Jaeger: Quantum Computers Have Reached the Mainstream - finews.com - June 27th, 2021
- From Corporate Leader to Change-Maker, Motivational Speaker Offers Hope, Possibility, and the Power to Change on Amazon Prime - PRNewswire - June 27th, 2021
- Measure of time - The Times of India Blog - June 27th, 2021
- UT-Arlington researchers aim to help teachers bring quantum physics into the classroom - The Dallas Morning News - June 23rd, 2021
- New Solvers Further Enhance the Azure Quantum Optimization Offering - HPCwire - June 23rd, 2021
- Tech collaboration enables oil and gas companies to venture into quantum computing to reduce operational costs - World Pipelines - June 23rd, 2021
- Approaching Zero: Super-Chilled Mirrors Edge Towards The Borders Of Gravity And Quantum Physics - Gizmodo Australia - June 23rd, 2021
- Tencent Quantum Lab and the Department of Physics of Tsinghua University Sign MoU to Explore Material Computing - Synced - June 23rd, 2021
- The Einstein-Bohr legacy: can we ever figure out what quantum theory means? - Big Think - June 23rd, 2021
- 2021 Thematic Research into Quantum Computing in Oil and Gas - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Business Wire - June 23rd, 2021
- Stephen Hawking's study of the black hole surface theory confirms this - SwordsToday.ie - June 23rd, 2021
- UMD Invests Over $10M in Research Equipment to Drive Discovery, Innovation - Maryland Today - June 23rd, 2021
- Asrat Demise's PhD Thesis Defense | Department of Physics | The University of Chicago - UChicago News - June 23rd, 2021
- This is the secret to how Israel's leading technology institute manages to drive so much innovation - JTA News - Jewish Telegraphic Agency - June 23rd, 2021
- Link between quantum mechanics and ballet - Times of Malta - June 6th, 2021
- Weird World of Quantum Black Holes May Be Radically Different from What Einstein Predicted and Lack Event H - The Daily Galaxy --Great Discoveries... - June 6th, 2021
- Spacetime Crystals: New Mathematical Formula May Solve Old Problem in Understanding the Fabric of the Universe - SciTechDaily - June 6th, 2021
- Celebrating the Class of 2021 | UC San Diego News - UC San Diego Health - June 6th, 2021
- Im No Longer a Spectator to the Unfolding of My Life. - ADDitude - June 6th, 2021
- How Quantum Physics Allows Us To See Back Through Space And Time - Forbes - May 14th, 2021
- Is everything predetermined? Why physicists are reviving a taboo idea - New Scientist - May 14th, 2021
- New evidence for electron's dual nature found in a quantum spin liquid . New experiments conducted at - Princeton University - May 14th, 2021
- A wobbling muon could unlock mysteries of the universe - Vox.com - May 14th, 2021
- Quantum science, particle physics and nanoscale motors awarded support from Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Tech Fund - Princeton University - May 14th, 2021
- Quantum Computing In Finance Where We Stand And Where We Could Go - Science 2.0 - May 14th, 2021
- Pathogenic, auto-immune or viral, all diseases are actually epigenetic - The Times of India Blog - May 14th, 2021
- Outlook on the Quantum Technology Global Market to 2026 - - GlobeNewswire - May 14th, 2021
- Researchers confront major hurdle in quantum computing - University of Rochester - May 9th, 2021
- Can a Patent Be Valid and Invalid at the Same Time? - Bloomberg Law - May 9th, 2021
- Breaking the Laws of Physics: Steering Light to Places It Isnt Supposed to Go - SciTechDaily - May 9th, 2021
- Are We on the Brink of a New Age of Scientific Discovery? - SciTechDaily - May 9th, 2021
- Can you really put a price on your college major? - The Boston Globe - May 9th, 2021
- Physicist and jazz pianist combines music and science at Rochester - University of Rochester - May 7th, 2021
- On the marvels of physics | symmetry magazine - Symmetry magazine - May 7th, 2021
- What financial crises and quantum mechanisms have in common - The New Times - May 7th, 2021
- MIT Researcher Says UFO Research Could Lead to New Laws of Physics - Futurism - May 7th, 2021
- Collins Aerospace upgrades US Navy C-130 fleet with long-lasting wheels and carbon brakes - PRNewswire - May 7th, 2021
- Andy Weirs New Space Odyssey - The New York Times - May 3rd, 2021
- The coherence of light is fundamentally tied to the quantum coherence of the emitting particle - Science Advances - May 3rd, 2021
- The battle for free will in the face of determinism - The Guardian - May 3rd, 2021
- Tulane part of Navy/Army-funded research on improving communication - News from Tulane - May 3rd, 2021
- A clocks accuracy may be tied to the entropy it creates - Science News Magazine - May 3rd, 2021
- Wellness Wednesday advice: If going to be sad? Don't! - Campus Times - May 3rd, 2021
- Beyond Books: Creative ways to combat the summer slide - Chillicothe Gazette - May 3rd, 2021
- #PulpNonFiction: Advertisers, be clear about what you want to say and why! - Bizcommunity.com - May 3rd, 2021
- Q&A: Are We on the Brink of a New Age of Scientific Discovery? - University of Virginia - May 3rd, 2021
- In Quantum Physics, Reality Really Is What We Choose To Observe - Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence - April 21st, 2021
- Multiple Realities | Physics - Denison University - April 21st, 2021
- IISER physicist Prof Arvind is Punjabi University VC - The Tribune - April 21st, 2021
- Theoretical Physicist Prof Arvind appointed Punjabi Varsity Vice Chancellor - The Tribune - April 21st, 2021
- A cosmologist throws light on a universe of bias - Salon - April 21st, 2021
- Recent Reports Of Overturned Scientific Theory Are Premature - Forbes - April 21st, 2021
- Helgoland by Carlo Rovelli - read an exclusive extract - RTE.ie - April 17th, 2021
- Researchers Visualize the Motion of Vortices in Quantum Superfluid Turbulence - SciTechDaily - April 17th, 2021
- Will we ever know exactly how the universe ballooned into existence? - Livescience.com - April 17th, 2021
- 'The Disordered Cosmos', A Contemplation of the Exclusionary Culture of Physics - The Wire Science - April 17th, 2021
- Albert Einstein Death Anniversary: How did the greatest physicists of all time die? - Free Press Journal - April 17th, 2021
- Half Life traces family complexities for a Milwaukee physics teacher - The Globe and Mail - April 17th, 2021
- Scott Aaronson Winner of 2020 ACM Prize In Computing - iProgrammer - April 17th, 2021