My head, sometimes it’s filled with nonsense…
This 1848 chart is from a pseudoscience
called phrenology, which determined
personality from the bumps on your skull.
Science writer Emily Willingham has made a list of the ten things you should examine (besides your head) to distinguish real from fake science:
Pseudoscience is the shaky foundation of practices-often medically related-that lack a basis in evidence. It’s "fake" science dressed up, sometimes quite carefully, to look like the real thing. If you’re alive, you’ve encountered it, whether it was the guy at the mall trying to sell you Power Balance bracelets, the shampoo commercial promising you that "amino acids" will make your hair shiny, or the peddlers of "natural remedies" or fad diet plans, who in a classic expansion of a basic tenet of advertising, make you think you have a problem so they can sell you something to solve it.
Pseudosciences are usually pretty easily identified by their emphasis on confirmation over refutation, on physically impossible claims, and on terms charged with emotion or false "sciencey-ness," which is kind of like "truthiness" minus Stephen Colbert. Sometimes, what peddlers of pseudoscience say may have a kernel of real truth that makes it seem plausible. But even that kernel is typically at most a half truth, and often, it’s that other half they’re leaving out that makes what they’re selling pointless and ineffectual. But some are just nonsense out of the gate. I’d love to have some magic cream that would melt away fat or make wrinkles disappear, but how likely is it that such a thing would be available only via late-night commercials?
What science consumers need is a cheat sheet for people of sound mind to use when considering a product, book, therapy, or remedy. Below are the top-10 questions you should always ask yourself-and answer-before shelling out the benjamins for anything, whether it’s anti-aging cream, a diet fad program, books purporting to tell you secrets your doctor won’t, or jewelry items containing magnets:
Read it: 10 Questions To Distinguish Real From Fake Science, Forbes
For an even more detailed list, go to Rory Coker’s article at Quackwatch>>