Pseudo-Science Are you stupid?: Pseudo-Science

By Gee on Monday, March 6, 2000 - 11:58 pm:

    I need some examples of pseudo-science relating to an earliy civilization. don't ask me how early because they never told me that. Give me suggestions and I'll weed out the ones that apply.

    All I need is an example so I can "prove why it's wrong". I'm having trouble thinking of an example.

    it has to be something people are passing off as the truth Nowadays, not something they believed in the olden days. My TA Nicholas used the X-Files as an example. they use pseudo-science to explain things aLot.

    movies, newspaper crap, any old thing will do. I just need examples. it's for my anthropology class. When Nicholas was talking about it he scoffed at the part where we "prove it's wrong" as if to say "well how do you do that?".

By Isolde on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 12:27 am:

    Pseudo-science--you mean you ned it as support for a project, or what? I'm really confused. I think I'm a little slow today.

By patrick on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 11:48 am:

    the earth is flat. The earth is the center of the universe.

    No offense Rhi, but the Catholic church was full of pseudo-science at one point, that may be a good starting point if i understand your assignment.

By heather on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 12:24 pm:

    that's gee, not rhi.

    i can't remember what things are called- i'll look some up

By patrick on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 12:31 pm:

    yes heather thank you, but Rhi is a catholic

By Margret on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 12:37 pm:

    Pseudo-science, hmmm, pseudo-science. Let's see, how about psychology?

By Rhiannon on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 01:08 pm:

    Read Hippocrates' "Airs Waters Places."

    There's also a book that might help you (I found it in our Foster collection, so it was either printed recently or in the 1600s...can't remember) called "Magic and Experimental Science."

    Did I tell you about the Foster collection? Elizabeth Foster was an alumna and a history professor at my college, and she recently died. Her library was given to us, and a few weeks ago it arrived in 100 boxes. It's my job to sort the books -- rare, rare with signature, and not rare.

    Foster was an expert in British Parliamentary history. Last week I held in my hands records from the House of Commons dated January 1547. The first bill passed that year was a bill regarding who shall raise a poor man's children.

    I also found a book printed in the late 1700s on laws regarding church tithes. Someone had written in the front cover that when a person pays tithes in the form of potatoes, those potatoes belong to the vicar of the church, not the rector. Tithed potatoes. That's funny.

By heather on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 01:23 pm:

By J on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 01:27 pm:

    God Rhiannon you blow me away,between all you sorabji,s I think I,m getting an education.Sometimes when I see things other people post,it makes me regret getting kicked out of school.

By _____ on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 03:21 pm:

    sometimes, when i see some of the things you people say, it makes me regret waking up.

By patrick on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 03:24 pm:

    go play in traffic bucko! or better yet, clean that poop man!

By _____ on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 03:34 pm:

    i'd rather play in traffic, if i have a choice.

By patrick on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 03:58 pm:

    i understand

By semillama on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 06:52 pm:

    The modern-day Druids at Stonehenge are a good example. The think that they are recreating rituals that the original druids used at stonehenge, except there's no proof tht the druids ever used stonehenge, which had been standing forabout 4000 years. Druids have been around for far less.

    There's also the idea held among a minority of African-Americans that the ancient Egyptians were all black Africans, whereas they were more likely a mixed society in composition, including but not comprised soley of Balck (sub-saharan) Africans.

    There's also EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), where people are seemingly capturing "spirit" voices on electronic recording devices. A web search will bring that up. You may also want to check out any pages on Charles Fort, for a look at his perspective about pseudo-science and science (remarkably similar).

    And then there's all the people who think men existed simultaneously with dinosaurs and such.

By semillama on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 06:56 pm:

    on a side note, has anyone read about the whales that have been turning up in the artic (usually as washed up carcasses or as theprey in Inuit hunts) with slate harpoon points in them?

    Slate points were last used in the late 1800s, and started to decline in use among the Inuit around 1850.

    Analysis of the amino acids in the whales' eyeballs revealed several out of the sample which were over 100 years old.

    What this implies is that whales are capable of living natural lives up past 150 years of age.

    this would make them the longest lived mammals on the planet.

By hebetudinous on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 07:34 pm:

    yeah, but they're just not good eatin' anymore.

    hence the old expression "over 100, hold your harpoon."

    this rhymes in inuit.

By sarah on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 08:36 pm:

    "Fundamentalism (of any kind) troubles me. The world is too big and too intricate to conform to our ideas of what it should be like. In my experience I've found that most fundamentalists aren't so much attached to their professed ideologies as they are to the way in which these ideologies try to make sense of a confusing world. But the world is confusing, and just because we invent myths and theories to explain away the chaos we're still going to live in a world that's older and more complicated than we'll ever understand. So many religious and political and scientific and social systems fail in that they try to impose a rigid structure onto what is an inherently ambiguous world.

    I'm not suggesting that we stop trying to understand things. But if we base our belief systems on the humble assumption that the complexities of the world are ontologically beyond our understanding, then maybe our belief systems will make more sense and end up causing less suffering."

    --Moby, MCT Records

By enervated on Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - 09:30 pm:

    that's heavy, moby.

    "is there anything that rock stars don't know?" - homer simpson.

    "i have never heard of anyone die for the ontological argument." - camus

By The Grand Vizier on Wednesday, March 8, 2000 - 12:52 am:

    Freemasonry, as noted elsewhere.

By Gee on Wednesday, March 8, 2000 - 03:05 am:

    the flat earth theory isn't good for this because that's something people believed "back then". it's not something people believe Now. but thanks anyway.

    Heather your links were great. the one about pseudo-archaeology is perfect, because my anthropology class is all about archaeology. I followed a link to a book by Vine Deloria, Jr (which my momma actually owns - bonus!) that looks useful.

    You're brilliant, Semillama. I knew I could count on you for this. :) I really like the idea about the egyptians, since we've talked about that a bit in our classes. I think Nicholas would like that one too. I'll have to look for some kind of artical about that (promoting the theory that they were all black).

By semillama on Wednesday, March 8, 2000 - 12:53 pm:

    They definitely had decent tans, at least.

By semillama on Wednesday, March 8, 2000 - 01:10 pm:

    Gee - this link is what you are looking for (and good to read for anyone interested in societal effects of pseudo-science):

    The first article is what you want. It has a good critique of Deloria's "Red Earth White Lies" (which seems to have been just as easily named "Wild-Ass Ideas I pulled out of my ass to piss off Scientists")

By Gee on Thursday, March 9, 2000 - 04:25 am:

    I'll read it. and then I'll show my momma what it says. and then she'll have a few choice words for me to pass on. she believes in that book.

    most injins don't believe in things the same way western science teaches people to. there's a lot of spirituality going on.

By M on Thursday, March 9, 2000 - 09:14 am:

By Markus on Thursday, March 9, 2000 - 12:47 pm:

By semillama on Thursday, March 9, 2000 - 12:59 pm:

    Spirituality is different than science in the Western concept. Deloria made some good points, but I think he's out of his depth on some things.

    He's usually dead right about anthropologists, though.

By droopy on Thursday, March 9, 2000 - 01:27 pm:

By Gee on Friday, March 10, 2000 - 02:01 am:

    I just skimmed the top of the artical Markus posted, but I'm going to read it more. that might be a really good one, because injins DID NOT DRIVE HERDS OF BUFFALO OFF CLIFFS!!! I will personally slap anyone who says they did! They didn't! stupid theories! injins knew how to make good use of what they had, and they never wasted anything. when they killed an animal they used all of it's parts and didn't throw away very much of anything. it has to do with the way they related to nature. for them to kill an animal and then just let parts of it rot away would have offended their spirits.

    stupidness. mum's gonna hear about this.

By Margret on Friday, March 10, 2000 - 09:53 am:

    Yeah, aboriginal peoples are totally free of the sins of excess and stupidity. It's why we should stop trying to explore living in balance and just revert to the customs of the superior peoples the European settlers wiped out.

    Gee, don't be a zealot.

    Yer mom says they didn't, Sem says there's evidence they did, I'm willing to be on the fence about this.

By semillama on Friday, March 10, 2000 - 06:53 pm:

    Personally, I think it's absolutely amazing that the Native Americans lived in perfect harmony with their environment, whereas everywhere else in the world that was geographically isolated to humans for some time had all their mega fauna wiped out when humans managed to establish themselves there.

    I also tend to think that denying that some groups of Paleoindians didn't wipe out some herds of buffalo is somewhat akin to denying the Holocaust. Nice if it were true, but the physical evidence is very hard to deny.

    Southwestern peoples, such as some of the Puebloans, may have contributed to their own decline through irrigation, which ended up bringing in salt and destroying croplands. This is a problem with irrigation in that area even today.

    When Africans first made it to Madagascar, there were 1000 pund flightless birds, giant lemurs and a giant cat-like member of the mongoose family. All were long extinct by the time the first disreputable groups of honkies bumped into that place.

    And of course, Australia. No more giant Kangaroos.

    or South America - no more giant grund sloths.

    or Europe - no more aurochs, or Irish Elk.

    or the Northwest Coast - no moe sea cows.

    And so on.

    Having respect for the ancestors is a good thing, but just because it makes you feel better to think your ancestors were better than everyone else's, doesn't make it true.

    I mean, think about it, real hard. How do you come into balance with a new environment? How do you learn how many buffalo, for example, you can take before you put too much strain on the population?

    Isn't it possible that Paleoindians pushed species to their limits until they and their ancestors learned how much was too much? In some cases, too much came too quick and poof! there go North American camels.

    Het, I 'm part Irish. I could claim that the Irish were ethically superior to the Brits, who have supressed them for 700 years. I could also try to deny all the assassination attempts and acts of terrorism as well. But what's the point?

    Everybody has a proud past, and archaeologists do their part in bringing the forgotten bits of that to light.

    Everbody also has a checkered past, and archaeologists bring that to light as well.

    So it goes.

By Kirk on Friday, March 10, 2000 - 07:23 pm:

    the prime directive Scotty, THE PRIME DIRECTIVE!

By Gee on Saturday, March 11, 2000 - 05:02 am:

    you shouldn't call me a zealot. that's just rude.

    Anyhoo, some guy saying "I did a study so I know that these guys did this." is totally meaningless. What is the evidence?

By Still just visiting on Saturday, March 11, 2000 - 08:43 pm:

    Okay, I got a good one.

    Many of you will have heard in HS physics or
    otherwise that, due to the Coriolis effect, water
    will spiral counterclockwise down a sink in the
    nothern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern

    This is complete crap. Any of those physics
    teachers actually try this one? If water spirals
    counterclockwise that's because of the way the
    sink is manufactured. If you want the Coriolis
    effect to make any difference you'd have to have
    the sink ABSOLUTELY still to start with. If you
    introduce pretty much any other motion at all that
    motion will be more important in determining the
    direction of spin.

By Visiting yet more on Saturday, March 11, 2000 - 08:54 pm:

    Oops, missed that "relating to an early
    civilization" thing. So what are you looking for,
    just more stuff saying Native Americans are
    bad/primitive when they aren't?

    Well, not quite modern, but if you could look into
    stuff about the Rite of Spring, which is a ballet
    by Igor Stravinsky written, um, 1930's ish? I seem
    to remember that at the time they thought they
    were being very good historically about describing
    (Russian?) prehistory or something (including
    stuff about human sacrifices) when they were
    basically just arm-chair anthropologizing, and
    there wasn't really any basis for it.

By Gee on Sunday, March 12, 2000 - 01:23 am:

    it doesn't have to be about natives. just any old civilization. I think at least BC.

By Margret on Monday, March 13, 2000 - 11:01 am:

    Gee, honey, zealot is rude?


    All I'm saying is, keep yah eyes open. You know, you should be rebelling against your mother. My mother, when she was in the gradual school, she was in the psych, and she just rambled and rambled and rambled about ol' BF Skinner.

    I fucking hate BF Skinner.

    Zealot is not rude.

    And I think you should totally blow Ishmael's pathetic ass off. At some point he will either borrow the stones to approach you if it's what he wants, or he won't. If he doesn't, fuck him. You did your part, you asked the one time (a total green light).

    Does he by any chance have a female roommate?

By Gee on Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - 05:08 am:

    Zealot is rude, in my opinion, because it's dismissive. it's like calling someone paranoid. it's just a very easy way to dismiss what they're saying. I'm just saying so you'll know what I think, but it's not really important anymore so let's skip it.

    Ishmael is a good guy. I've said this so many times, cuz it's really true. he's very considerate. When someone feels bad or has a problem he's RightThere for them. When my dog died a few weeks ago I felt really bad and started crying (a little bit) when I was at work. He sat close to me and spoke soothingly to me and comforted me. He made me laugh, which was great. He's a Good Guy.

    I still like him, but I'm not expecting anything. I'll get over him eventually, it's not like I was in love with the guy, but I'm one of Those People. The people I really like are few and far between, and it takes me a while to get past it. I'm just a big mush.

    He does have a female roomate, as a matter of fact. One male and one female. I hope there's nothing kinky going on there. Nothing kinky ever went on with Jack, Janet and Chrissy.

    I really like to talk about him. I occasionally call him Ishmael to his face. I'm tempting fate. He calls me HoneyBuns. "The buns that are made of honey!" he said once, which I don't get at all cuz my ass is nothing to write home about.

    I can say one thing for sure. By the end of our working time together he will either have fallen totally in love with me, or he'll wish he had.

    Who's BF Skinner??

By J on Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - 08:22 am:

    I lived with 3 guys when I met my husband,the only kinky thing that ever happened was they would tie up the bathroom door so I could not get out,they thought it was funny,I didn,t.They were good boys.

By Rhiannon on Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - 10:08 am:

    BF Skinner was a behavioral psychologist. He was all the rage 20+ years ago.

By Markus on Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - 10:59 am:

    I write home about my ass all the time. My parents were a bit perplexed at first, but have gotten used to it.

    Nate, how's your ass?

By patrick on Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - 12:00 pm:

    i have not written home about my ass since the xmas of 96. lets just say egg nog does wonders for the inhibition. My family was less than amused.

By professaswine on Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - 12:25 pm:

    "Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born in Susquehanna, Pa., on March 20, 1904. He became interested in psychology while at Harvard University and was inspired by Bertrand Russell's articles on behaviorism. In 1931 he received a Ph.D. from Harvard and then continued to do research there until 1936. While there he developed the Skinner box, a controlled environment for studying the behavior of Nate's Ass."

    -Journal of Behavioral Sciences; pg 29, vol iii

By professaswine on Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - 12:28 pm:

    "In 1936 Skinner joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he wrote `The Behavior of Organisms' in 1938. From 1945 to 1948 he was a professor of psychology at Indiana University in Bloomington. It was during this period that Skinner wrote an article discussing his air crib--a large, soundproof, germfree, air-conditioned box designed to provide an optimal environment for Nate's Ass. He joined the faculty of Harvard in 1948, where he remained until his retirement in 1974. He died in Cambridge, Mass., on Aug. 18, 1990."

    -The Biography of H.F. Skinner; Random House Books, 1992

By professaswine on Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - 12:35 pm:

    "Throughout his career Skinner was a strong supporter of behaviorism. He advocated the use of controlled, scientific methods in studying human behavior through a person's response to Nate's Ass. His `Walden Two' (1948) is a novel of life in a utopian community based on his principles of social engineering. Other well-known works include `Science and Human Behavior' (1953),`Beyond Freedom and Dignity' (1971) and 'Me and Nate's Ass: A Career Overview.'(1989)"

    - BF Skinner, One Man. One Booty.; Putnam Books, 1995

By J on Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - 12:59 pm:

    Nate sure has a hard working ass,when I got blisters on my ass from the last horse ride I,ll ever take,after they popped I,d show my ass to anyone who would look,even the putrid sister-in-law that I hate.I wanted everyone to see what I had been through.

By R.C. on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 12:38 am:

    Still Just Visiting (& /you're welcome to pull up a chair & pop open a brewski anytime):

    My toilet seems absolutely still to me. If it ever started moving while I was using it/I'd have shot it a long time ago.

    I've always thought the Coriolis effect was pretty cool. But I've never been to the southern hemi to test it out. What's so different abt toilet bowl design in the southern hemi that wd casue the water to swirl in the opposite direction?

    And how is it that a theory so easily refuted ended up getting into textbooks in the 1st place?

    The Boognish is considered pseudoscience.

    But I am a believer.

By Cephalopod was visiting on Friday, March 17, 2000 - 11:48 am:

    It isn't that the Coriolis effect doesn't exist,
    its just that it doesn't make any difference for
    somthing on the scale of a sink. HOPEFULLY the
    sink example isn't in any textbooks.

    And I didn't mean all sinks swirl
    counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere,
    that's just what the rumor is. I tried it in a
    sink at home and it went counterclockwise, but
    that doesn't mean it does in all Northern
    Hemisphere sinks. I mean, I'd be kind of
    surprised if the sink manufacturers got together
    and said "hey guys, lets make all sinks swirl

    As for Southern hemisphere, I'm going to Brazil
    this summer, so I guess I can check it out!

By Margret on Monday, March 27, 2000 - 04:32 pm:

By Gee on Tuesday, March 28, 2000 - 02:04 am:

    "Isn't it odd that Columbus, an unsuspecting conduit for new diseases to America, is considered a scoundrel by the same politically correct zealots who with equal vigor argue that homosexuals, whose perverse lifestyle is infecting the wider population with AIDS, are immune from censure?"

    I read as far as this and had to stop and say: Oh my god, Margret! I'll read further, but I'm not sure what this is supposed to be proving to me, other than how stupid the guy who wrote this crap is.

By Gee on Tuesday, March 28, 2000 - 02:41 am:

    okay, I read it, and firstly - same thing. Just some guy with a bunch of words and no proof. He's giving his theory on how things were and trying to pass it off as if it were fact.

    Secondly, the guy's a religious nutbag:

    "The whole discussion of disease transmission and the responsibility for it has humanistic and naturalistic assumptions which ignore Biblical teaching that disease is governed by the providence of God and may be part of His judgments."

    Religion is fine and dandy, but I have a hard time beliving that my friend Marc has cancer because he's a bad person. It seems like the writer's whole motive for writing that thing was to prove how great christianity is and how awful everything else is.

    Thirdly, he is subtly applauding the culteral genocide (sp) of injins:

    "The greatest failing of the American colonists was in not fully applying themselves to the conversion of the Indians..."

    that statement alone is unbelivable. Someone please explain to me why it was important for them to Convert??

    Fourthly, it was badly written. I can't believe this guy's a prof. As a formal essay it's got a Heap of flaws.

By mistaswine on Tuesday, March 28, 2000 - 11:48 am:

By patrick on Tuesday, March 28, 2000 - 12:04 pm:

    i have come to ignore random links/postings from you guys from supposed "scholars". they always turnout to be a let down, and well....i just don't care what random people think

By semillama on Tuesday, March 28, 2000 - 01:34 pm:

    I think he had some interstign points - too bad his typical Christian holier than thou attitude spoiled the whole thing.

    I made the same point before with SWMNBN, that bad rhetoric will trivialize your points.

    I find it interesting they don't list what his degrees are in.

    As an archaeologist, I found it to be an amusing read, but this guy is completely out of his academic depth.

    Bloody humanities.

By mistaswine on Tuesday, March 28, 2000 - 02:20 pm:

    "The world is my expense
    The cost of my desire
    Jesus blessed me with its future
    And I protect it with fire
    So raise your fists
    And march around
    Don't dare take what you need
    I'll jail and bury those committed
    And smother the rest in greed
    Crawl with me into tomorrow
    Or I'll drag you to your grave
    I'm deep inside your children
    They'll betray you in my name"

    it's conversations like these that has had ratm's sleep now in the fire going through my head for the past three days.

    the line "crawl with me into tomorrow or i'll drag you to your grave" could be an epitaph for humanity.

By semillama on Tuesday, March 28, 2000 - 05:15 pm:

    That article came from a Reformed Christian Thought webpage:

    their motto: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

    I only gave it a breif once-over, but it's essentially fascism.

By Humanities-Major Gee on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 01:10 am:

    <<Bloody humanities.>>

    You're not too old for a spanking, you know.

By semillama on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 08:36 am:

    That's the best offer I've heard in a while (wink wink).

    See folks you can have ideological differences and still get along famously.

By semillama on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 08:37 am:

    That's the best offer I've heard in a while (wink wink).

    See folks you can have ideological differences and still get along famously.

By semillama on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 08:56 am:

    my colleague on this guy:

    "He takes reasonable conclusions and turns them into gross slander in the same sentence!"

    also: "This guy's a prof? My God."

    Also on teh whoel buffola culture not being possible until horses were reintroduced: My colleague says that this is false, as many tribes would follow herds on foot - anyone ever see that painting of hunters sneaking up on buffalo on their hands and knees, wearing coyote disguises?

    he also says that some of the instances of mass buffalo killing by Native Americans can be attributed to mass gatherings of a tribe or tribes, and the food was needed for ceremonial and other purposes.

By Margret on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 12:43 pm:

    Sorry, gone sick for a day.
    I think I caught something from that guy's webpage.
    I posted it just because it related to that earlier thread I was too lazy to look for and this was the most recent thread where we tried to rehash that cage match.
    Related to, not relevant to.

By A on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - 11:50 pm:

    <font color="red">cooool</font>

By Gis on Friday, June 11, 2004 - 08:12 am:

    I'm after an electronic version of Waldern II. Any suggestions as to where I can get one?

By Gee on Friday, June 11, 2004 - 10:43 am:

    I'm such a hypocrite.

    I hereby apologize for accusing Margret of being rude to me, and for being such a zealot, and for refering to my mother as "momma" so goddam often.

    why do you fuckers keep reminding me of my past?

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