10.13.2017

Be A Skeptic: 3 Pseudoscience Identifiers 

There are times in life when we’re vulnerable. Times when we’re not able to cope with the world as we know it, and have a tendency to turn elsewhere in search of answers and assistance.

It might be that we’re unwell and conventional treatments don’t seem to be helping. In fact, as pointed out by Divine Magazine, chronic illness can make you uniquely vulnerable. Or you might just be going through a difficult time, and don’t have your sceptical guards up in quite the same way as you would usually.

It’s into this vulnerability that pseudoscience has a tendency to wade. Pseudoscience is a term used to describe a variety of “alternative” therapies, which offer the secret to health and healing-- for a price. If you’ve been consistently under the weather and don’t seem to be improving, then you might find yourself contemplating investigating these treatments and ideas-- what’s the harm in giving them a go, right?

The reality is that the harm can be very great indeed, potentially to your body and very definitely to your personal budget. Pseudoscience takes your vulnerability and makes it a commodity, something to be taken advantage of. To ensure that you’re always able to spot these problematic treatments by keeping these three factors in mind.

1) There’s A Promise To Fix Many Unconnected Illnesses

The amount of medications available to us as patients is staggering. The reason there are so many different medications is because there’s no “one size fits all” approach. Yet you will hear about alternative therapies -- pseudoscience -- that claims to be able to fix everything, from mental health problems through spinal problems. This simply isn’t possible; the more ailments a treatment claims to fix, the more sceptical you should be.

2) Demonisation Of Existing Scientific Fact

Acupuncture is an alternative therapy that has crossed over into scientifically-backed fact, a feat it managed without demonizing existing medicine. Acupuncturists have always billed their therapy as complementary and additional, not an outright replacement for conventional medicine. It’s never an “us versus them” battle. If you see an alternative therapy playing the “us versus them” card, then you need to be very sceptical indeed.

3) There’s A Reference To “Ancient And/Or Eastern Knowledge”

Just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s beneficial. For example, doctors in Tudor England believed that it was possible to have too much blood in your body. That’s an old, ancient belief, but you won’t see anyone advocating leeches as a cure for all ills! If you see a reference to ancient, mystic, or foreign knowledge, then be on your toes. Obviously, there are exceptions -- acupuncture has its history in Eastern medicine, for example -- but it’s always wise to do a little research about how verifiable the “source” of this knowledge is. Often, it’s little more than marketing nonsense.

By being on your guard for this three signposts of pseudoscience, you should be able to ensure that any treatment or therapy you embark upon will be genuinely useful to your life. Being sceptical is healthy; after all, if you’re too open minded, then your brain might just fall out.

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