PS409   Psychology, Science,     & Pseudoscience           Dr Brian Hughes              School of Psychologybrian.hughes@n...
Question:If pseudoscientific reasoning is flawed,       then why is it so popular?
Why does pseudoscience prosper?   Socio-cultural explanations      Consolation      Luddism      Mysticism      “The acade...
Socio-cultural explanations:Consolation      That pseudoscience offers more       comforting alternatives to the          ...
Pre-20th Century Medicine          (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
Pre-20th Century Medicine        c. 1770s (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
Pre-20th Century Medicine      17th/18th century (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
Pre-20th Century Medicine        c. 1875 (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
Pre-20th Century Medicine        c. 1860s (Senate Building Museum, Jefferson City, Missouri)
Pre-20th Century Medicine     From Lorenz Heister’s (1745) General System of Surgery, 2nd edition             (Old Operati...
Pre-20th Century Medicine               18th century Parturition Chair                (Science Museum, London)
Pre-20th Century Medicine        18th/19th century Cupping and Scarification equipment           (Old Operating Theatre, T...
Pre-20th Century Medicine              18th/19th century bloodletting equipment          (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s ...
Pre-20th Century Medicine                  Late 18th century Trepanning Kit          (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Stre...
Socio-cultural explanations:Luddism    That pseudoscience resonates with    popular concerns about technology             ...
The march of technology…    (1948) Equiv. to $4,450.00 in 2010
The march of technology…
The march of technology…
The march of technology…
The march of technology…
The march of technology…
The march of technology…
The march of technology…
The march of technology…
The march of technology…
The march of technology…            The Economist, 18 March 2006
Luddism 1811 (industrial revolution) Harsh economic climate     Anti-technology or anti-free market? 20th century: “Neo-Lu...
PS409   Psychology, Science,     & Pseudoscience           Dr Brian Hughes              School of Psychologybrian.hughes@n...
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Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #19 (Popularity of Pseudosci)

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In short: While people can find reasoning difficult, we still need to account for their gravitation toward pseudoscience. This might be due to factors such as a fear of negative change or of technology.

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  • Front row – Omaih, from Tahiti, came to London in 1774 and left (with Captain Cook) in 1776; first Polynesian to visit Europe. Helps date the picture, as well as the outfits.
  • Right – wooden-handled saw used for ‘tour de martre’, an incision done in one rapid circular motion. Regarding amputation: By direct sawing, etc., mortality rate of around 30% Until 16 th century, bleeding was stopped using boiling oils and red hot irons Ligature introduced (in Britain) in 16 th century (although dates back to 1 st century) Anaesthetic not introduced until 19 th century
  • 100 years later, still the same. 18 th century print – The Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London
  • Same also in America. 19 th century surgeon’s equipment for amputation – Senate Building Museum, Jefferson City, MO
  • 18 th century Parturition chair – Science Museum, London
  • 70 years after Gillette Safety for second blade This year – Gillette Fusion (5 blades (plus 1)) Moore’s law – that computer chips double in power every 18 months or so Technology as well as marketing Five data points – hard to infer trend; if “power law”, then 14-blader here in 2100 If hyperbolic trend, then much sooner!
  • Luddites – social movement of English textile workers, Nottingham, 1811 Named after mythical leader, Ned Ludd Govt not impressed Reported clashes with the army; Machine breaking made a capital crime mass trial in 1813, mass death penalties and transportations. Note harsh econ climate (Napoleonic Wars) Neo-Luddites Consider that technology dehumanises people, destroys traditional cultures, reduces person-to-person contact, damages environment, etc. Unabomber – Theodore Kaczynski Convicted terrorist best known for his campaign of mail bombings . Kaczynski became infamous for having sent bombs to several universities and airlines from the late 1970s through early 1990s, killing three and wounding 29 In Industrial Society and Its Future (a.k.a. "The Unabomber Manifesto") he argued that his actions were a necessary (although extreme) ruse by which to attract attention to what he believed were the dangers of modern technology. Kaczynski did this in the hope that it would inspire others to fight against what he considered subjugation facilitated by technological progress. Kaczynski's moniker as the Unabomber developed as a result of an FBI codename . Before his real identity was known, the FBI used the handle " UNABOM " ("university and airline bomber") Kaczynski had given up a teaching position at a university to pursue a career as a solitary hermit Arrested in Montana in late 1990s, currently serving life sentence
  • Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience: Class #19 (Popularity of Pseudosci)

    1. 1. PS409 Psychology, Science, & Pseudoscience Dr Brian Hughes School of Psychologybrian.hughes@nuigalway.ie @b_m_hughes
    2. 2. Question:If pseudoscientific reasoning is flawed, then why is it so popular?
    3. 3. Why does pseudoscience prosper? Socio-cultural explanations Consolation Luddism Mysticism “The academic left” and postmodernism Economic explanations Incentives of pseudoscience
    4. 4. Socio-cultural explanations:Consolation That pseudoscience offers more comforting alternatives to the harsher aspects of life
    5. 5. Pre-20th Century Medicine (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
    6. 6. Pre-20th Century Medicine c. 1770s (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
    7. 7. Pre-20th Century Medicine 17th/18th century (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
    8. 8. Pre-20th Century Medicine c. 1875 (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
    9. 9. Pre-20th Century Medicine c. 1860s (Senate Building Museum, Jefferson City, Missouri)
    10. 10. Pre-20th Century Medicine From Lorenz Heister’s (1745) General System of Surgery, 2nd edition (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
    11. 11. Pre-20th Century Medicine 18th century Parturition Chair (Science Museum, London)
    12. 12. Pre-20th Century Medicine 18th/19th century Cupping and Scarification equipment (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
    13. 13. Pre-20th Century Medicine 18th/19th century bloodletting equipment (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
    14. 14. Pre-20th Century Medicine Late 18th century Trepanning Kit (Old Operating Theatre, Thomas’s Street, London)
    15. 15. Socio-cultural explanations:Luddism That pseudoscience resonates with popular concerns about technology and progress
    16. 16. The march of technology… (1948) Equiv. to $4,450.00 in 2010
    17. 17. The march of technology…
    18. 18. The march of technology…
    19. 19. The march of technology…
    20. 20. The march of technology…
    21. 21. The march of technology…
    22. 22. The march of technology…
    23. 23. The march of technology…
    24. 24. The march of technology…
    25. 25. The march of technology…
    26. 26. The march of technology… The Economist, 18 March 2006
    27. 27. Luddism 1811 (industrial revolution) Harsh economic climate Anti-technology or anti-free market? 20th century: “Neo-Luddites” Technology generates social inequality, damages environment, alters definition of ‘human’, etc. Low level manifestations Adverse attitudes to mathematics, computers (‘gadgets’) Denigration of ‘logic’?
    28. 28. PS409 Psychology, Science, & Pseudoscience Dr Brian Hughes School of Psychologybrian.hughes@nuigalway.ie @b_m_hughes

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