What can we do with pseudoscience?  / Informatórium - Szeged University Science Promotion Science Series / PRAE.HU

What can we do with pseudoscience? / Informatórium – Szeged University Science Promotion Science Series / PRAE.HU

Philosophers of science were invited by the lecturers at the Géza Bakonyi Foundation and the Szeged Department (Klára Sándor and Orsolya Bencsik), and discussed Informatics – the science of science It was part of a series of educational and science-enhancing programs titled “Science and Science Enhancing Science”, which discussed the philosophical problems of science six times between October 20 and November 25, 2021. Due to the epidemiological situation and busy schedules of speakers, invitees participated in the online discussion, but their audience was able to Listen to them in the information room.

One of the most specific problems of the twenty-first century is the separation of science and pseudoscience, and the filtering of useful information. Systems of ideas, ideas and theses, which their practitioners and thinkers define as science, can be called pseudoscience, but they still do not meet the concept and criteria of science. By implication, this phenomenon can generate a lot of difficulties and problems – especially since the advent of digital devices, the Internet.

Kutrovátz and Zemplén Láng published with Benedek, a medieval expert, at Typotex Publishing in 2008 science frontiers Their work, in which they discuss, through a comprehensive theoretical framework and rich case studies, why the question of pseudoscience is problematic, and, in fact, why a dividing line cannot be drawn between science and pseudoscience. So the two invited speakers first discussed their previous collaborative work and the structure of their book, and even talked about their careers, their past scientific pasts, how they became philosophers of science, and what prompted them to start working in science at all. Kutrovátz is currently working on a scientific article discussing this issue.

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Then they turned to the study of pseudoscience. According to Kutrovácz, pseudoscience is a very difficult concept to define, because although there have been disciplines dealing with it since the 20th century, it has not been very effective until now. He put forward a very good argument to support his claim. Many say that science conducts experiments, and pseudoscience is not used in mathematics, so based on these criteria, pseudoscience can be immediately ruled out. However, there are a lot of scientific examples (for example, astronomy) where they do not experiment, however we can talk about science, and there are also many examples to the contrary when experiments or even calculations are in pseudoscience.

Then, the audience can hear two different perceptions of the relationship of the public, i.e. secular society, to science. According to the deficit model, there is a lack of information in the mind of the average person, and this can be remedied by “stuffing” a great deal of science in our heads. On the other hand, the context model states that a person does not need to have more scientific knowledge, but to be able to decide which experts to turn to with their questions. The former calls for the inclusion of the final science, while the latter “declares the need for an interaction between the science being prepared and the ordinary environment”. Zemplén dealt with fundamental issues such as whether we can trust the experts or even ourselves if there are discrepancies. The philosopher of science believes that this is a very relevant question because it is a problem of real and existing systems. He also said that the civic point of view was a very important factor in writing their book.

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The invitees also discussed the problem of distortion and emphasized that an individual’s position greatly influences any expert who believes that, if they put their vote on a position, they disregard all other viewpoints.

Kutrovácz believes that people like choice. He cited the example of the shopper case where ordinary people choose between the ideas and claims of experts like a shopper in a store. He stressed, however, that there is a strong majority in agreement, and this is what makes the minority divergent. Zemplén supported the idea that his interlocutor grew up with the characters, as there is known uncertainty in the scientific world as well. Then talk about constructive ways to improve the situation.

At the end of the discussion, Ahmed Hajji, lecturer in the Sejed department, spoke to the audience about the importance of correct information in the library world. In the ideas put forward, Kotrovats thought, to what extent lay people the duty to suppress pseudoscience and false information. He also spoke about the critical role of the library as an institution in this. In general, we had a very useful and interesting conversation on a very relevant topic today.

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