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This is a list of topics that have, either currently or in the past, been characterized as pseudoscience by academics or researchers. Detailed discussion of these topics may be found on their main pages. These characterizations were made in the context of educating the public about questionable or potentially fraudulent or dangerous claims and practices—efforts to define the nature of science, or humorous parodies of poor scientific reasoning.
Criticism of pseudoscience, generally by the scientific community or skeptical organizations, involves critiques of the logical, methodological, or rhetorical bases of the topic in question. Though some of the listed topics continue to be investigated scientifically, others were only subject to scientific research in the past and today are considered refuted, but resurrected in a pseudoscientific fashion. Other ideas presented here are entirely non-scientific, but have in one way or another impinged on scientific domains or practices.
Many adherents or practitioners of the topics listed here dispute their characterization as pseudoscience. Each section here summarizes the alleged pseudoscientific aspects of that topic.
Pseudoscientific medical practices are often known as quackery. In contrast, modern medicine is (or seeks to be) evidence-based.
Main article: Pseudohistory
See also: Historical race concepts
Paranormal subjects have been critiqued from a wide range of sources including the following claims of paranormal significance:
Spiritual and religious practices and beliefs, according to astronomer Carl Sagan, are normally not classified as pseudoscience. However, religion can sometimes nurture pseudoscience, and "at the extremes it is difficult to distinguish pseudoscience from rigid, doctrinaire religion", and some religions might be confused with pseudoscience, such as traditional meditation. The following religious/spiritual items have been related to or classified as pseudoscience in some way:
Creation science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that claims to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove or reexplain the scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about geology, cosmology, biological evolution, archaeology, history and linguistics.[failed verification]
The following concepts have only a very small number of proponents, yet have become notable:
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…the aliens' advanced technology, which uses nonpolluting fuel, could revolutionize the transport of goods and people on this planet and rejuvenate the biosphere.
We have reviewed the scientific literature on GE crop safety for the last 10 years that catches the scientific consensus matured since GE plants became widely cultivated worldwide, and we can conclude that the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazard directly connected with the use of GM crops.
The literature about Biodiversity and the GE food/feed consumption has sometimes resulted in animated debate regarding the suitability of the experimental designs, the choice of the statistical methods or the public accessibility of data. Such debate, even if positive and part of the natural process of review by the scientific community, has frequently been distorted by the media and often used politically and inappropriately in anti-GE crops campaigns.
Currently available transgenic crops and foods derived from them have been judged safe to eat and the methods used to test their safety have been deemed appropriate. These conclusions represent the consensus of the scientific evidence surveyed by the ICSU (2003) and they are consistent with the views of the World Health Organization (WHO, 2002). These foods have been assessed for increased risks to human health by several national regulatory authorities (inter alia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, the United Kingdom and the United States) using their national food safety procedures (ICSU). To date no verifiable untoward toxic or nutritionally deleterious effects resulting from the consumption of foods derived from genetically modified crops have been discovered anywhere in the world (GM Science Review Panel). Many millions of people have consumed foods derived from GM plants - mainly maize, soybean and oilseed rape - without any observed adverse effects (ICSU).
There is broad scientific consensus that genetically engineered crops currently on the market are safe to eat. After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of 2 billion acres planted, no adverse health or environmental effects have resulted from commercialization of genetically engineered crops (Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Committee on Environmental Impacts Associated with Commercialization of Transgenic Plants, National Research Council and Division on Earth and Life Studies 2002). Both the U.S. National Research Council and the Joint Research Centre (the European Union's scientific and technical research laboratory and an integral part of the European Commission) have concluded that there is a comprehensive body of knowledge that adequately addresses the food safety issue of genetically engineered crops (Committee on Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health and National Research Council 2004; European Commission Joint Research Centre 2008). These and other recent reports conclude that the processes of genetic engineering and conventional breeding are no different in terms of unintended consequences to human health and the environment (European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation 2010).
But see also:
Domingo, José L.; Bordonaba, Jordi Giné (2011). "A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants" (PDF). Environment International. 37 (4): 734–742. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2011.01.003. PMID 21296423.
In spite of this, the number of studies specifically focused on safety assessment of GM plants is still limited. However, it is important to remark that for the first time, a certain equilibrium in the number of research groups suggesting, on the basis of their studies, that a number of varieties of GM products (mainly maize and soybeans) are as safe and nutritious as the respective conventional non-GM plant, and those raising still serious concerns, was observed. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that most of the studies demonstrating that GM foods are as nutritional and safe as those obtained by conventional breeding, have been performed by biotechnology companies or associates, which are also responsible of commercializing these GM plants. Anyhow, this represents a notable advance in comparison with the lack of studies published in recent years in scientific journals by those companies.
Krimsky, Sheldon (2015). "An Illusory Consensus behind GMO Health Assessment". Science, Technology, & Human Values. 40 (6): 883–914. doi:10.1177/0162243915598381. S2CID 40855100.
I began this article with the testimonials from respected scientists that there is literally no scientific controversy over the health effects of GMOs. My investigation into the scientific literature tells another story.
Panchin, Alexander Y.; Tuzhikov, Alexander I. (14 January 2016). "Published GMO studies find no evidence of harm when corrected for multiple comparisons". Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. 37 (2): 213–217. doi:10.3109/07388551.2015.1130684. ISSN 0738-8551. PMID 26767435. S2CID 11786594.
Here, we show that a number of articles some of which have strongly and negatively influenced the public opinion on GM crops and even provoked political actions, such as GMO embargo, share common flaws in the statistical evaluation of the data. Having accounted for these flaws, we conclude that the data presented in these articles does not provide any substantial evidence of GMO harm.
The presented articles suggesting possible harm of GMOs received high public attention. However, despite their claims, they actually weaken the evidence for the harm and lack of substantial equivalency of studied GMOs. We emphasize that with over 1783 published articles on GMOs over the last 10 years it is expected that some of them should have reported undesired differences between GMOs and conventional crops even if no such differences exist in reality.
andYang, Y.T.; Chen, B. (2016). "Governing GMOs in the USA: science, law and public health". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 96 (4): 1851–1855. Bibcode:2016JSFA...96.1851Y. doi:10.1002/jsfa.7523. PMID 26536836.
It is therefore not surprising that efforts to require labeling and to ban GMOs have been a growing political issue in the USA (citing Domingo and Bordonaba, 2011). Overall, a broad scientific consensus holds that currently marketed GM food poses no greater risk than conventional food... Major national and international science and medical associations have stated that no adverse human health effects related to GMO food have been reported or substantiated in peer-reviewed literature to date.
Despite various concerns, today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, and many independent international science organizations agree that GMOs are just as safe as other foods. Compared with conventional breeding techniques, genetic engineering is far more precise and, in most cases, less likely to create an unexpected outcome.
teils ergänzend und teils ersetzend zur konventionellen MedizinCited in Ernst, E (2008). "Anthroposophic medicine: A critical analysis". MMW Fortschritte der Medizin. 150 (Suppl 1): 1–6. PMID 18540325.
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Since the publication of our previous systematic review in 2000, several rigorous new studies have emerged. Collectively they shift the weight of the evidence against the notion that distant healing is more than a placebo.
Fad-diets can be tempting as they offer a quick-fix to a long-term problem.
Fad-diets can be tempting as they offer a quick-fix to a long-term problem.
The majority of rigorous trials show no effect beyond placebo. (Edzard Ernst)
Professor Egger said: "We acknowledge to prove a negative is impossible. But good large studies of homeopathy do not show a difference between the placebo and the homoeopathic remedy, whereas in the case of conventional medicines you still see an effect."
None of these systematic reviews provided any convincing evidence that homeopathy was effective for any condition. The lesson was often that the best designed trials had the most negative result
In sum, systematic reviews have not found homeopathy to be a definitively proven treatment for any medical condition.
The scientific evidence shows that homeopathy acts only as a placebo and there is no scientific explanation of how it could work any other way.
a number of its key concepts do not follow the laws of science (particularly chemistry and physics)
Most scientists say homeopathic remedies are basically water and can act only as placebos.
In a statement, the Royal College of Pathologists said they were "deeply alarmed" that the regulation of medicine had "moved away from science and clear information for the public"
Research suggests that iridology is not an effective method to diagnose or help treat any specific medical condition.
Our AMA believes that iridology, the study of the iris of the human eye, has not yet been established as having any merit as a diagnostic technique.
Persons at risk include... followers of fad diets such as the Zen macrobiotic diet
Not only are magnetic fields of no value in healing, you might characterize these as "homeopathic" magnetic fields.
Among all who had heard of [magnet therapy], 14 percent said it was very scientific and another 54 percent said it was sort of scientific. Only 25 percent of those surveyed answered correctly, that is, that it is not at all scientific.
Another energy-based therapy that is claimed to identify and treat allergies...is called the Nambudripad allergy elimination technique (NAET; Nambudripad, 2003). However, a dearth of studies is not the same thing as evidence which conclusively proves that NAET is either ineffective or dangerous. Organizations that do rigorous clinical trials would have little interest in studying NAET because it is non-drug based. Funding is not usually available for assessing any alternative healing modalities. Defenders of alternative and holistic healing point out that most family doctors treat patients who have a wide range of underlying emotional issues that impair the patient's health. This could happen, for example, through elevated cortisone or adrenaline levels from prolonged stress. NAET testing is carried out through applied kinesiology while a person is holding small vials that are said to contain the energetic essences of various substances. Once the allergies are identified, treatment is carried out through stimulation of points along the spine. These vials contain substances prepared in a process similar to that of homeopathic preparation. Mainstream science claims this method has not been shown reliable or valid in assessing a client's sensitivity to environmental toxins.
There is no evidence that megavitamin or orthomolecular therapy is effective in treating any disease.
Scientific American concluded: 'At best, [ERA] is all an illusion. At worst, it is a colossal fraud.'
Radionics is a technique of healing using extrasensory perception (ESP) and an instrument.
This subtle field cannot be accessed using our conventional senses. Radionic practitioners use a specialised dowsing technique to both identify the sources of weakness in the field and to select specific treatments to overcome them.
There is no relationship between the conventional medical uses of electromagnetic energy and the alternative devices or methods that use externally applied electrical forces. Available scientific evidence does not support claims that these alternative electrical devices are effective in diagnosing or treating cancer or any other disease.
In conclusion, the evidence is insufficient to suggest that reiki is an effective treatment for any condition. Therefore the value of reiki remains unproven.
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Despite this lack of evidence, TT is now supported by major nursing organizations such as the National League of Nurses and the American Nurses Association.
What's missing from all of this, of course, is any statement by Krieger and her disciples about how the existence of their energy field can be demonstrated by scientifically accepted methods.
neither the external energy fields nor their therapeutic effects have been demonstrated convincingly by any biophysical means.
Well, we had discovered that metal was relatively impervious to the telepathic effect, and had prepared for ourselves a sort of tin pulpit, behind which we could stand while conducting experiments. This, combined with caps of metal foil, enormously reduced the effects on ourselves.
...acupuncture points are no more real than the black spots that a drunkard sees in front of his eyes.
Shiatsu incorporates acupressure, which is similar but applies pressure for longer on specific pressure points on meridians, following Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
In the 1970s, Holocaust denial took up more sophisticated pseudoscientijfic methods and began to portray itself as a movement of historal revisionists...
The following are examples of claims that might best be placed in each of these three bins... Pseudoscience: creationism, Holocaust revisionism, remote viewing, astrology, Bible code, alien abductions, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), Bigfoot, Freudian psychoanalytic theory, reincarnation, angels, ghosts, extrasensory perception (ESP), recovered memories.
The preacher produced a nearly 40-minute video, "Did the Holocaust Really Happen?," in which he espoused what Deborah Lipstadt has called "hardcore" Holocaust denial, "den[ying] the facts of the Holocaust" in an "outright and forceful fashion." Though his "scientific" evidence for the "Holocaust hoax" or "Holocaust myth," as he often refers to the Holocaust, is mostly a regurgitation of the pseudoscientific arguments made by a more established group of Holocaust deniers, Anderson adds a spiritual dimension to Holocaust denial to make it attractive to Christian viewers.
On the one hand, there is science denialism, such as climate change scepticism, the anti-vaccination movement, and holocaust denial, which attacks well-established scientific theories and practices. On the other hand, there is the promotion of pseudotheory, the attempt to get doctrines like homoeopathy and intelligent design accepted as sciences even though they have no warrant for such merit (Hansson, 2017). Both types of pseudoscience have harmful effects on health, environment, education, and society...Paradigmatic pseudosciences can also be very different from one another. Think of, say, intelligent design, Holocaust denial, ancient astronaut hypothesis, homoeopathy, the anti-vaccine movement, astrology, or climate change scepticism. Because there are different forms of pseudoscience, one cannot rule out the possibility that different criteria are needed to distinguish them from science.
Holocaust revisionism enlists a wide variety of strategies and assumes many different forms adapted to the history and political cultures in which it operates. It has nonetheless developed into an international movement with its own networks, gatherings, public forums, propaganda, and pseudo-scientific journal
Those who deny that there ever was a Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II have used a similar style of arguing. Deniers have subjugated science, in this case historical science, to a political agenda, creating a pseudoscience called Holocaust Denial.... Inventing and promoting pseudoscience [the art of using "expert witnesses"]: Leuchter claims that the gas chamber was not really used against human beings.... Error #1: Leuchter estimates that a certain crematorium at Auschwitz could process only 156 bodies. He was apparently unaware of an SS report which confirms that the same building (which he describes) destroyed 4756 bodies in the course of a single 24 hour period. Error #2: He notes that the cyanide residue from one gas chamber wall is less than the residue from a wall inside a known delousing chamber. Leuchter claims that this is the most conclusive evidence that a "gas chamber" could not have been used for killing humans. His argument is based on the assumption that humans require much more cyanide than lice to die – an assumption that, as it happens, is wrong. In fact, lice require about a 50 times higher dose of cyanide gas than humans in order to die.
Holocaust deniers, and the media they use, are changing as a consequence of international political developments... New forms of this propaganda encompassed pseudoscientific books and papers; crude denial material, usually published in leaflet form by small neo-Nazi groups; and what can be called political denial, which includes the most recent and increasingly potent source, namely, Islamists as well as Internet and television transmissions within some Muslim states. Many of the pseudoscientific publications available internationally were published under cover of fictitious academic publishing houses. These works included, for example, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Arthur Butz, Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood, and The Leuchter Report. Historians challenged these and rebutted their false theses.
This is a total quack procedure that has actually killed children.
a system of exercise therapy developed in the 1940s by former judo instructor Moshe Feldenkrais
they simply interpret the way we form these various features on the page in much the same way ancient oracles interpreted the entrails of oxen or smoke in the air. I.e., it's a kind of magical divination or fortune telling where 'like begets like.'
On the other hand, in properly controlled, blind studies, where the handwriting samples contain no content that could provide non-graphological information upon which to base a prediction (e.g., a piece copied from a magazine), graphologists do no better than chance at predicting the personality traits
In summary, then, it seems that graphology as currently practiced is a typical pseudoscience and has no place in character assessment or employment practice. There is no good scientific evidence to justify its use, and the graphologists do not seem about to come up with any.
Evidence from randomized controlled trials indicates that hypnosis, relaxation, and meditation techniques can reduce anxiety, particularly that related to stressful situations, such as receiving chemotherapy