Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

R. Park, Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

In this book Robert Park describes seven warning signs that something presented as scientific may be pseudo-scientific and fake. He uses many examples from Science history to illustrate the following seven warning signs:

  1. Pseudo-scientists work in isolation from the mainstream scientific community.and do not expose their work to their critical review.

  2. Instead, pseudo-scientists make their so-called scientific claims directly to the popular media, rather than to fellow scientists.

  3. Pseudo-scientists claim that a conspiracy or vested interests have tried to suppress the discovery or the claims

  4. If the possibility of self-fulfilling prophecy in the experiments has been excluded from the observations supporting the claims , their effects appear so weak that observers can hardly distinguish them from noise. No amount of further scientific work seems to increase the effects the way it has been predicted..

  5. Anecdotal evidence is used to back up the claim.

  6. True believers cite ancient traditions in support of the new claim.

  7. The discovery, if true, would require a change in the understanding of the fundamental laws of nature.

He has also a chapter about the 'belief gene' that tends to reinforce and extend already established beliefs about reality while filtering out contradicting experience.

The relevance of this book for Co-Counselling

The book can provide Co-Counselling with warning signs for situations in which the search for evidence-based co-counselling theory and practice might turn into voodoo or pseudo-science..



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