Friday, September 28, 2012

Today's Funny Picture. Also Educational.

Via HJ, from the I f***ing love science site:

Does this remind you of the many evolutionary psychology critiques on this site, especially of those studies  which use that particular type of evolutionary psychology Satori Kanazawa is infamous for?   They certainly apply fixed ideas, selectively choose which studies to discuss and react to criticism pretty much as politically motivated or simply illogical.


There are several definitions of pseudoscience.  The one I find most useful is Popper's falsifiability concept:

Karl Popper stated it is insufficient to distinguish science from pseudoscience, or from metaphysics, by the criterion of rigorous adherence to the empirical method, which is essentially inductive, based on observation or experimentation.[33] He proposed a method to distinguish between genuine empirical, nonempirical or even pseudoempirical methods. The latter case was exemplified by astrology, which appeals to observation and experimentation. While it had astonishing empirical evidence based on observation, on horoscopes and biographies, it crucially failed to adhere to acceptable scientific standards.[33] Popper proposed falsifiability as an important criterion in distinguishing science from pseudoscience.
To demonstrate this point, Popper[33] gave two cases of human behavior and typical explanations from Freud and Adler's theories: "that of a man who pushes a child into the water with the intention of drowning it; and that of a man who sacrifices his life in an attempt to save the child."[33] From Freud's perspective, the first man would have suffered from psychological repression, probably originating from an Oedipus complex, whereas the second had attained sublimation. From Adler's perspective, the first and second man suffered from feelings of inferiority and had to prove himself which drove him to commit the crime or, in the second case, rescue the child. Popper was not able to find any counterexamples of human behavior in which the behavior could not be explained in the terms of Adler's or Freud's theory. Popper argued[33] it was that the observation always fitted or confirmed the theory which, rather than being its strength, was actually its weakness.
In contrast, Popper[33] gave the example of Einstein's gravitational theory, which predicted "light must be attracted by heavy bodies (such as the sun), precisely as material bodies were attracted."[33] Following from this, stars closer to the sun would appear to have moved a small distance away from the sun, and away from each other. This prediction was particularly striking to Popper because it involved considerable risk. The brightness of the sun prevented this effect from being observed under normal circumstances, so photographs had to be taken during an eclipse and compared to photographs taken at night. Popper states, "If observation shows that the predicted effect is definitely absent, then the theory is simply refuted."[33] Popper summed up his criterion for the scientific status of a theory as depending on its falsifiability, refutability, or testability.