How social networks help to spread pseudoscience

Let’s be Frank — spirit in 2019 is a little different from the 1990-ies of the last century. This is not about politics and Economics, though, of course, interrelated. Today, as 30 years ago, in Russia there is the era of pseudoscience. And if the citizens of the late Soviet Union massively charged jars with water during the television sessions of Kashpirovsky, today countless witches, wizards and healers simply do not descend from TV screens. However, despite the dominance of the bigots on TV, TV is not the main method of distribution of pseudo-scientific knowledge. Scientists have found that, to some extent, because of the proliferation of pseudo-scientific knowledge on the Internet, endanger everyone, and not only in Russia.

The contents

What is pseudoscience?

We recently wrote about popular conspiracy theories. In essence, conspiracy theories and pseudoscience are very close. They are based on numerous cognitive distortions and logical errors inherent in our thinking.

Pseudo-science or pseudo — science is that ideas and concepts are positioned as scientific, but are not. For example, astrology. Adherents of astrology love to prove to everyone that astrology is a real science. But it is certainly not true.

The real science of the Universe is astronomy. She studies the movement, structure and location of celestial bodies and stellar systems. Any astronomer will not come up with the idea that a gas giant such as Jupiter or Saturn in some incredible impact on human life. The very thought of it absurd. And yet, pseudoscience, particularly astrology, incredibly popular all over the world. Therefore, we sometimes write about the exposure of these “scientists” on our channel in Yandex.Zen

The proof of the work of astronomers: Astronomers got a mysterious radio signal from distant galaxy

Scientists against pseudoscience

Try searching for the video on “climate change” on YouTube. Less than two minutes as you run into a lot of videos that deny global warming. According to a recent study, when it online comes to climate change, conspiracy theories and those who do not believe in global warming may have an advantage to supporters of scientific knowledge.

Scientists have found evidence that the majority of videos on YouTube dedicated to climate change, contrary to scientific evidence that climate change caused by human activity.

Social networks play a key role in the spread of pseudoscience. Just think about the impact that misinformation has on our behavior. The study’s authors argue that researchers, and those who share the scientific view of the world must be proactive and try to be more convincing when communicating their perspective to others.

And, as we know, is not easy. Because pseudoscience on a par with conspiracy theories are very attractive, since it can help people to understand events or problems that, in their opinion, they don’t control.

How dangerous pseudoscience?

The situation is that specifically you’ll laugh after hearing about “the entity in the form of an elf”, which supposedly living some grandmother in the apartment, some will make statements about the existence of paranormal forces at face value. The spread of pseudoscience knowledge at some point led to the emergence of a large number of people who lost their lives or, at best, health for commitment to pseudoscientific beliefs.

The treatment of severe diseases “laying on of hands” or telepathy, refusal of vaccinations, HIV dissidence, intake of homeopathic remedies instead of real medicine — the list is very long. What would be a harmless and ridiculous didn’t seem to be pseudoscience, in fact it’s dangerous. A person who believes in horoscopes and go to the astrologers are likely to turn to the MAG or “healer” in search of answers or healing. To discuss the fascination with pseudo-science in our Telegram chat.

How to deal with pseudoscience?

Further development of digital technology can help of misinformation to take the most unusual forms. Use key words to search the required information, manipulation of the search engines on the Internet — a drop in the ocean. Remember DeepFakes — realistic videos using faces and voices of celebrities? Probably, these technologies will make detection of misinformation is even more difficult.

“It’s not Tom cruise” — cover video on YouTube using the technology Deefake

But in this case in combating the spread of pseudo-scientific knowledge? The problem is compounded by the fact that the mere provision of scientific information can increase people’s awareness of pseudoscientific theories. And it’s not talking about personal beliefs and adherence to different ideologies.

Scientists believe that apart from the promotion of critical thinking — way of thinking in which a person is questioning their own beliefs, it should be at school to teach children to distinguish between genuine and fake information. The study authors urge other scientists and anyone else connected with scientific activities connected to the fight against obscurantism.

Creation of own scientific content in social networks can significantly affect the beliefs and even the behavior of other people. Otherwise, the voices of reasonable people and scientists will continue to be silenced pseudoscientific theories created by people who don’t have the slightest convincing evidence.

How do you feel about pseudoscience?

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