Pseudoscience: a necessary part of psychology, or a danger to society?

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At one point or another, we are all "Mentally Ill". Society is becoming aware of this fact because psychological procedures are popularizing. They are now a common part of our society. Due to the abstract nature of psychology, we have not yet even scratched the surface. Therefore, as psychological procedure becomes more popular, so does pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is best defined by defining what makes a concept science. If a concept does not fulfill these criteria it is pseudoscience. In our Psych 1001 textbook, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, author Scott Lilienfeld explores pseudoscience in chapter one. I believe that the way that pseudoscience is explored in the textbook raises a fundamental question: is pseudoscience necessary for science, or is it just arbitrary and dangerous to society? For me, this question was raised from the case of Candace Newmaker. Candace was a 10-year-old girl subject to a pseudoscientific therapy for her behavioral problems. The therapy was scientifically doubtful, and led to her death showing that pseudoscience is dangerous especially in psychological procedures because that is when we are most vulnerable. Many argue that pseudoscientific theories, like ESP, are purely based on coincidence. Others argue that they are valid because they sometimes yield successful results. I would argue the former because I have also been subject to some "pseudoscientific" ideas. Last year I used something called "binaural beats", sound frequencies that were allegedly supposed to alter brain waves to produce sleep, weight loss, increased concentration, etc. After a month using this therapy I stopped to evaluate it, realizing that it had no effect on me. However, had I received even a fraction of the desired result, I would have believed it was real. So, I really have no way of knowing if it worked or not. Critics of pseudoscience say that it exploits the belief of people by making false claims. I disagree slightly because all science begins with pseudoscience, but criticism and evaluation make for safe use of it. Thus, I do believe that pseudoscience is inherently dangerous but also that it is necessary in order to distinguish scientific ideas.

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This page contains a single entry by deval011 published on October 2, 2011 5:27 PM.

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