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Re: UFO UpDate: Concern Over Widespread Belief In Pseudoscience

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  • richard.whitehead@att.net
    The message conveniently contains a link to the Friedman article. If you actually go and read it, you understand immediately that Friedman does not even try to
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2002
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      The message conveniently contains a link to the
      Friedman article. If you actually go and read it, you
      understand immediately that Friedman does not even try
      to "refute the definitions". On the contrary, he uses
      them.

      There is no huge problem with the definitions per se.
      There is some disagreement with whether ufology is
      science or pseudoscience. From the description included
      in the original posting, it appears that whoever
      formulated the questions in the survey views ufology as
      seeking to confirm that some unrecognized phenomena are
      ET craft. That is indeed a pseudo-scientific procedure.
      The author of the original post ("nobody in
      particular") wants ufology to be the broader
      investigation of unrecognized aerial phenomena, which
      can indeed be a scientific investigation.

      There's a little catch, though. "Nobody" also refers
      to "belief in ufos". Now, that people see things in the
      sky that they don't recognize isn't a matter of belief,
      that's just a fact. So when "nobody" talks about
      belief, it's pretty clear he means belief in the et
      spacecraft bit. So which definition of ufology does he
      really want?
      >
      > Original Subject: UFO UpDate: Concern Over Widespread Belief In Pseudoscience
      > Original Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002 19:57:13 -0400
      >
      <snip>
      >
      > What is most interesting, however, is the NSF's rather arbitrary
      > definition of what is and what isn't pseudoscience:
      >
      > ............................................................
      >
      >
      > Pseudoscience is defined here as "claims presented so that they
      > appear [to be] scientific even though they lack supporting
      > evidence and plausibility" (Shermer 1997, p. 33). In contrast,
      > science is "a set of methods designed to describe and interpret
      > observed and inferred phenomena, past or present, and aimed at
      > building a testable body of knowledge open to rejection or
      > confirmation" (Shermer 1997, p. 17).
      >
      >
      > ............................................................
      >
      > The reference is to:
      >
      > Shermer, M. 1997. Why People Believe Weird Things:
      > Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time.
      > New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.
      >
      > It is interesting that, in complete concordance with what Stan
      > Friedman has pointed out in a MUFON article refuting Shermer's
      > definition (available online at:
      >
      > http://www.mufon.com/zperceptions_pseudoscience.html
      >
      > the NSF's use of the definitions is remarkably inappropriate.
      <unsnip>
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