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A philosophy described by Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann as ‘the dissociation of belief from evidence’
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People who agreed to take part were sent questionnaires which sought to ascertain the status of pseudosciences in official secondary school curricula and/or the policy of respondents' science education organisations with respect to pseudoscience, and respondents' personal opinions on three issues:
The response of science education to pseudosciences - whether they should be ignored, debunked, or treated as viable alternative viewpoints;
Whether respondents saw any value in bringing practical investigations related to pseudosciences into the science classroom, using as examples the effect of vigorous agitation on the potency of dilute solutions, drawing up a natal horoscope, and conducting controlled ESP experiments (loosely based on Bates, 1991);
It was stressed throughout the question form that respondents could answer with respect to pseudoscience in general or with respect to specific pseudosciences.
The Ministry of Education's curriculum is narrow in approach and does not include references to, or prescribed learning outcomes, for the pseudosciences.
1) a) Are there any references to pseudoscience in general, or specific pseudosciences in particular, in your official secondary school science curriculum?
However, a UK correspondent noted that a curricular key concept at lower secondary level concerning the ethical and moral implications of the use of science, provided teachers with 'the opportunity to touch on ideas which are on the periphery of science', while at middle secondary level there were curricular objectives pertaining to uncertainties in scientific knowledge and changes in scientific thinking over time, which provided teachers with further opportunities to invoke pseudosciences.
b) [included only on the science association version] Does your science education association have a policy on pseudosciences in general, or on any in particular?
Shermer looks at both pseudoscience and pseudohistory.
Finally, a question must be raised about Shermer's idea of "pseudohistory," which he describes as going beyond pseudoscience in that it also is "presented primarily for political or ideological purposes" (p.
This is ironic, because some reviewers have characterized Sulloway's book as representing a form of pseudoscience.
Unfortunately, however, even a cursory glance at most skeptical publications (including, alas, Shermer's Skeptic) reveals ridicule to be commonplace and, as I suggested earlier, the terms pseudoscience and weird things as used by Shermer seem more pejorative than productive of "understanding.