Pseudosciences in the “Science Society”

For centuries mainstream churches organized witch-burnings and show trials against black magic. This was certainly not primarily to protect the faithful from “negative energies” or to advance the Enlightenment. On the other hand, Christianity assimilated numerous cults (e.g., sun cults, druids, shamans). Thus even with “fire and sword” they did not fully succeed in eradicating superstition, witchcraft and pagan practices.

Easter is not only a holiday for many religious communities, but also the time of the resurgence of the sun and thus the “resurrection” and fertility of life in nature. The observations associated with this have always caused astonishment and amazement and led to all kinds of explanations.

Nature has only been scientifically researched and thus demystified for about 200 years.

The Science Society

The achievements in present day technology and medicine would be inconceivable without sciences. Thus, the science society places a great deal of trust in science, especially in its objectivity and self-regulation.

However, scientists can abuse this trust. Even laymen can pretend to do science or give themselves a scientific appearance to make their pseudo-information sound scientific. The difficulty in figuring out such pseudo-scientific facade often stems from the failure in source analysis and validation rather than a lack of information or research capability. Therefore, not everyone is completely convinced – despite all the information available – of the non-existence of “powers” accessible only to chosen visionaries, healers and prophets and to all those who (blindly) trust them. Faith, opinions and knowledge (cf. posting of 11.9.2017) are equivalent, almost synonymous terms for them.

The salvation-promoters, quacks and conspiracy theorists justify their point of view with the prejudice (shared by their followers) that scientists are just another interest group that use their research and findings only for their own purposes. Scientific evidence is played down or parodied beyond recognition, while their own theories must not be scrutinized and are sometimes even attributed to secret or divine knowledge or powers.

You don’t have to be a scientist to be able to distinguish “scientific” information from pseudo-scientific information, from advertising (including political) and from charlatanism. What you do need, however, in this science-based world is critical thinking and judgement underpinned by sound general knowledge.

Acquiring knowledge can be strenuous, expensive and lengthy. More and more knowledge has to be revised or replaced by new knowledge and understanding as science proceeds. However, ignorance carries risks that can far exceed the cost of education. The competent handling of information, media and information technologies is undoubtedly a great advantage in acquiring knowledge and minimising risks and costs.

“In principle, science has always been a fight against ignorance, stupidity and fraud, and only well-founded knowledge could triumph over misleading information and fake news.” (Walther Umstätter, Open Password #319 from February 9, 2018)


In a planned series of blog posts we want to collect and expose pseudoscientific claims. We are less interested in cases of scientific misconduct than in esoteric practices that thrive in the shadow of science, and how information literacy (critical thinking, source criticism and judgement) protects us from the most obvious rip-offs, whose business model is commercial fraud and relies on people’s ignorance or good faith.

The spectrum will range from alternative medicine over geomancy to conspiracy theories. (An overview of the wide spectrum to start with can be found at the Esoteric Fair.)

Suggestions, contributions, and references to “secret” knowledge are appreciated.


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