Any of us who were JW's fell for one kind of fraud. (Faithful and Discreet Slave/Governing Body)
We were perfectly sincere. We totally believed. We were convinced and worse; we tried our best to convince others.
But, how many other FRAUDS have we fallen for?
How many of the following listed PseudoScience Frauds do we currently BELIEVE the same way we were convinced of Watchtower Truth.
I thought it would be fun to post this list and stand back and watch.
I'm quite certain every single one of us on this board had fallen for several of these.
It should be sick fun watching irate responses.
Remember, an active JW will fight bitterly against claims he is in a Cult.
When you find the thing on this list YOU TOTALLY BELIEVE...before you blow your fuse--think about THAT for a moment.
Astronomy and space sciences
- 2012 millenarianism – a present-day cultural meme proposing that cataclysmic and apocalyptic events will occur in the year 2012. The proposal is derived from the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar which by most proposed alignments with the Gregorian calendar reaches a calendar rollover that year. Doomsday mechanisms are predicted to occur by means of a "galactic alignment", "solar storm", "pole shift", or catastrophic collision with an asteroid, comet, or planet (e.g. Nibiru). There is no scientific evidence that these events will occur. [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ]
- Apollo Moon landing hoax accusations – claims that parts of the Apollo program were hoaxed and subsequently covered up. While many of the accusations are best categorized under conspiracy theories, some do attempt to use faulty science to prove that the Moon landing could not have happened, thus qualifying them as pseudoscientific claims. [ 10 ] [ 11 ]
- Astrology – refers to any of several systems of understanding, interpreting and organizing knowledge about reality and human existence, based on the relative positions and movement of various real and construed celestial bodies. [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ] [ 16 ]
- Dogon people and Sirius B — a series of claims that the Dogon tribe knew about the white dwarf companion of Sirius despite it being invisible to the naked eye. [ 10 ]
- Erich von Däniken – proposed that Earth was visited by ancient astronauts. [ 10 ] Such beings have been claimed to have initiated the rise of human civilization or provided significant technological assistance to various ancient civilizations. [ 17 ] [ 18 ]
- The Face on Mars – (in Cydonia Mensae) is a rock formation on Mars asserted to be evidence of intelligent, native life on the planet. [ 10 ] High-resolution images taken recently show it to appear less face-like. It features prominently in the work of Richard C. Hoagland.
- Flat Earth Society – proposes that the earth is a flat, disc-shaped planet that accelerates upward, producing the illusion of gravity. Proposers of the Flat Earth theory do not accept compelling evidence, like photos of planet Earth from Space.
- Immanuel Velikovsky – proposed that ancient texts refer to the collision of astronomical bodies as in Worlds in Collision. [ 10 ]
- Lunar effect – the belief that the full Moon influences human behavior. [ 10 ]
- Zecharia Sitchin – proposed that ancient Sumerian cuneiform suggests that ancient astronauts visited Earth and created human beings through biogenetics. Sitchins claims that these writings tell of a Planet X beyond the dwarf planet Pluto. Scholars have criticized his interpretations and qualifications (noting that he has no degree in Semitic Languages). Michael Heiser, who has a Ph.D in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages has challenged Sitchin to present one text that confirms his claims. [ 19 ] [ 20 ]
Earth and Earth sciences
- 366 geometry or Megalithic geometry – posits the existence of an Earth-based geometry dating back to at least 3500 BC, and the possibility that such a system is still in use in modern Freemasonry. According to Alexander Thom and, later, Alan Butler and Christopher Knight, megalithic civilizations in Britain and Brittany had advanced knowledge of geometry, mathematics, and the size of the Earth. Butler correlates Thom's megalithic yard to the polar circumference of Earth using a circle divided into 366 degrees. [ 21 ] [ 22 ]
- The Bermuda Triangle – a region of the Atlantic Ocean that lies between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and (in its most popular version) Florida. Disappearances and ship and aircraft disasters perceived as frequent in this area have led to the circulation of stories of unusual natural phenomena, paranormal encounters, and interactions with extraterrestrials. [ 17 ]
- Biodynamic agriculture – method of organic farming that treats farms as unified and individual organisms. Biodynamics uses a calender which has been characterized as astrological and unconventional preparations and composts. For example, field mice are countered by deploying ashes prepared from field mice skin when Venus is in the Scorpius constellation. [ 23 ] [ 24 ] [ 25 ] [ 26 ]
- Lysenkoism, or Lysenko-Michurinism – denotes the biological inheritance principle which Trofim Lysenko subscribed to and which derive from theories of the heritability of acquired characteristics, [ 27 ] a body of biological inheritance theory which departs from Mendelism and that Lysenko named "Michurinism". Lysenko's theories came to prominence in the Soviet Union during the late 1940s and early 1950s, when genetics was declared a "bourgeois science", in the wake of the famines caused by Joseph Stalin's collectivization campaign. The Soviet Union quietly abandoned Lysenko's agricultural practices in favor of modern agricultural practices after the crop yields he promised failed to materialize and by the mid 1950s, his influence had declined considerably. Today Lysenko's agricultural experimentation and research is largely viewed as fraudulent. [ 28 ]
Paranormal and ufology
- Animal mutilations – cases of animals, primarily domestic livestock, with seemingly inexplicable wounds. These wounds have been said to be caused by natural predation, extra terrestrials, cults, or covert government organizations. [ 17 ]
- Channeling – communication of information to or through a person allegedly from a spirit or other paranormal entity. [ 31 ]
- Crop circles – geometric designs of crushed or knocked-over crops created in a field. Aside from skilled farmers or pranksters working through the night, explanations for their formation include UFOs and anomalous, tornado-like air currents. [ 10 ] The study of crop circles has become known as "cerealogy". [ 32 ]
- Cryptozoology – search for creatures that are considered not to exist by most biologists. [ 33 ] Well known examples of creatures of interest to cryptozoologists include Bigfoot, Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster. According to leading skeptical authors Michael Shermer and Pat Linse, "Cryptozoology ranges from pseudoscientific to useful and interesting, depending on how it is practiced." [ 34 ]
- Dowsing refers to practices said to enable one to detect hidden water, metals, gemstones or other objects. [ 35 ]
- Electronic voice phenomenon – purported communication by spirits through tape recorders and other electronic devices. [ 36 ] [ 37 ] [ 38 ] [ 39 ] [ 40 ]
- Extra-sensory perception – paranormal ability (independent of the five main senses or deduction from previous experience) to acquire information by means such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychic abilities, and remote viewing. [ 31 ] [ 31 ] [ 41 ] [ 42 ] [ 43 ]
- Ghost hunting – use of scientific methods and instrumentation in an unconventional manner to hunt ghosts. [ 44 ]
- Levitation – act of rising up from the ground without any physical aids, usually by the power of thought. [ 45 ]
- Pseudoarchaeology – investigation of the ancient past using alleged paranormal or other means which have not been validated by mainstream science. [ 17 ]
- Psychic surgery – type of medical fraud, popular in Brazil and the Philippines. Practitioners use sleight of hand to make it appear as though they are reaching into a patients body and extracting "tumours". Psychic surgery is usually explicit deception; i.e., the "practitioners" are aware that they are practicing fraud or "quackery", unlike most pseudosciences, in which the practitioners actually believe their theory. [ 46 ] [ 47 ] [ 48 ] [ 49 ] [ 50 ]
- Psychokinesis – paranormal ability of the mind to influence matter or energy at a distance. [ 51 ]
- Séances – ritualized attempts to communicate with the dead. [ 17 ]
- Tutankhamun's curse – was allegedly placed on the discoverers of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb, causing widespread deaths and other disastrous events. [ 17 ]
- The Tunguska event – was a large explosion, possibly caused by a meteoroid or comet, in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia in June 1908. Night skies as far away as London were markedly brighter for several evenings. Unsupported theories regarding the event include the impact of a miniature black hole or large body of antimatter, ball lightning, a test by Nikola Tesla of the apparatus at Wardenclyffe Tower, and a UFO crash. [ 17 ] [ 52 ] [ 53 ] Another theory is that the explosion was caused by a piece of Biela's Comet from 1883. [ 54 ]
- Ufology – the study of unidentified flying objects (UFO) and frequently includes the belief that UFOs are evidence for extraterrestrial visitors. [ 10 ] [ 14 ] [ 17 ] [ 35 ] [ 55 ]
- Attachment therapy – common name for a set of potentially fatal [ 56 ] clinical interventions and parenting techniques aimed at controlling aggressive, disobedient, or unaffectionate children using "restraint and physical and psychological abuse to seek their desired results." [ 57 ] (The term "attachment therapy" may sometimes be used loosely to refer to mainstream approaches based on attachment theory, usually outside the USA where pseudoscientific form of attachment therapy is less known). Probably the most common form is holding therapy in which the child is restrained by adults for the purpose of supposed cathartic release of suppressed rage and regression. Perhaps the most extreme, but much less common, is "rebirthing", in which the child is wrapped tightly in a blanket and then made to simulate emergence from a birth canal. This is done by encouraging the child to struggle and pushing and squeezing him/her to mimic contractions. [ 17 ] Despite its name it is not based on attachment theory or research. [ 58 ] In 2006 it was the subject of an almost entirely critical Taskforce Report commissioned by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC). [ 59 ] Not all forms of attachment therapy are coercive and since the Candace Newmaker case there has been a move towards less coercive practices by leaders in the field. [ 59 ]
- Conversion therapy – sometimes called reparative therapy, seeks to change a non-heterosexual person's sexual orientation so they will no longer be homosexual or bisexual. [ 60 ] The American Psychiatric Association defines Reparative therapy as "psychiatric treatment...which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation." [ 61 ] [ 62 ] [ 63 ]
- Graphology – psychological test based on a belief that personality traits unconsciously and consistently influence handwriting morphology – that certain types of people exhibit certain quirks of the pen. Analysis of handwriting attributes provides no better than chance correspondence with personality, and neuroscientist Barry Beyerstein likened the assigned correlations to sympathetic magic. [ 17 ] [ 64 ] [ 65 ] [ 66 ] Graphology is only superficially related to forensic document examination, which also examines handwriting.
- Memetics – approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept that units of information, or "memes", have an independent existence, are self-replicating, and are subject to selective evolution through environmental forces. [ 67 ] Starting from a proposition put forward in the writings of Richard Dawkins, it has since turned into a new area of study, one that looks at the self-replicating units of culture. It has been proposed that just as memes are analogous to genes, memetics is analogous to genetics. Memetics has been deemed a pseudoscience on several fronts. [ 67 ] Its proponents' assertions have been labeled "untested, unsupported or incorrect." [ 67 ]
- Parapsychology – controversial discipline that seeks to investigate the existence and causes of psychic abilities and life after death using the scientific method. Parapsychological experiments have included the use of random number generators to test for evidence of precognition and psychokinesis with both human and animal subjects [ 68 ] [ 69 ] [ 70 ] and Ganzfeld experiments to test for extrasensory perception.
- Phrenology – now defunct theory for determining personality traits by feeling bumps on the skull proposed by 18th century physiologist Franz Joseph Gall. [ 17 ] In an early recorded use of the term "pseudo-science", François Magendie referred to phrenology as "a pseudo-science of the present day". [ 71 ] The assumption that personality can be read from bumps in the skull has since been thoroughly discredited. However, Gall's assumption that character, thoughts, and emotions are located in the brain is considered an important historical advance toward neuropsychology (see also localization of brain function, Brodmann's areas, neuro-imaging, modularity of mind or faculty psychology). [ 72 ]
- Primal therapy – sometimes presented as a science. [ 73 ] The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology (2001) states that: "The theoretical basis for the therapy is the supposition that prenatal experiences and birth trauma form people's primary impressions of life and that they subsequently influence the direction our lives take... Truth be known, primal therapy cannot be defended on scientifically established principles. This is not surprising considering its questionable theoretical rationale." [ 74 ] Other sources have also questioned the scientific validity of primal therapy, some using the term "pseudoscience" (see Criticism of Primal Therapy).
- Psychoanalysis – body of ideas developed by Austrian physician Sigmund Freud and his followers, which is devoted to the study of human psychological functioning and behavior. It has been controversial ever since its inception. [ 75 ] Karl Popper characterized it as pseudoscience based on psychoanalysis failing the requirement for falsifiability. [ 76 ] [ 77 ] Frank Cioffi argued that "though Popper is correct to say that psychoanalysis is pseudoscientific and correct to say that it is unfalsifiable, he is mistaken to suggest that it is pseudoscientific because it is unfalsifiable. […] It is when [Freud] insists that he has confirmed (not just instantiated) [his empirical theses] that he is being pseudoscientific." [ 78 ]
- Subliminal perception – visual or auditory information that is discerned below the threshold of conscious awareness and has an effect on human behavior. It went into disrepute in the late 1970s [ 79 ] but there has been renewed research interest recently. [ 17 ] [ 80 ]
Health and medicine
- Alternative medicine has been described as pseudoscientific. The National Science Foundation has conducted surveys of the "Public Attitudes and Public Understanding" of "Science Fiction and Pseudoscience", which includes studying the popularity of alternative medicine. It considers belief in alternative medicine a matter of concern, defining it as "all treatments that have not been proven effective using scientific methods." After quoting the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's listing of alternative medicine as one of many pseudoscientific subjects, as well as mentioning the concerns of individual scientists, organizations, and members of the science policymaking community, it comments that "nevertheless, the popularity of alternative medicine [with the public] appears to be increasing." [ 81 ] "At least 60 percent of U.S. medical schools devote classroom time to the teaching of alternative therapies, generating controversy within the scientific community." [ 81 ] It has been reported that universities are "increasingly turning their backs on homoeopathy and complementary medicine amid opposition from the scientific community to “pseudo-science” degrees." [ 82 ] Degrees in alternative medicine have been described as "'pseudo-science' degrees", [ 81 ] [ 82 ] [ 83 ] "anti-scientific", and "harmful". [ 84 ]
- Anthroposophic medicine, or anthroposophically extended medicine – school of complementary medicine [ 85 ] founded in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Ita Wegman based on the spiritual philosophy of anthroposophy. It is an individualized holistic and salutogenic approach to health, deemphasizing randomized controlled trials. [ 86 ] [ 87 ] Medications are formulated to stimulate healing by matching "key dynamic forces" with symptoms, [ 88 ] and are prepared for external, oral, or parenteral introduction in various dilutions ranging from whole to homeopathic. [ 89 ] The use of vaccinations, antibiotics, and antipyretics is generally restricted or delayed. [ 90 ] [ 91 ] [ 92 ] Skeptic Robert Carroll likens to sympathetic magic the principle that curative plants may be identified by distortions or abnormalities in their morphology or physiology. [ 93 ] Carroll and others state that the system is not based in science. [ 93 ] [ 94 ] [ 95 ] Despite a very considerable body of academic research into anthroposophic medicine, [ 96 ] [ 97 ] [ 98 ] Edzard Ernst suggests that no thorough scientific analysis of the efficacy of anthroposophical medicine as a system independent of its philosophical underpinnings has been undertaken; and that no evidence-based conclusion can be drawn as to the overall efficacy of the system. [ 99 ] The medical approach has achieved some academic recognition: there is a chair of anthroposophic medicine at the University of Witten/Herdecke within its Department for Medical theory, Integrative, and Anthroposophical Medicine, [ 100 ] and the Institute of Complementary Medicine at the University of Bern includes a division focusing on anthroposophic medicine. [ 101 ]
- The Bates method for better eyesight – an educational method developed by ophthalmologist William Bates intended to improve vision "naturally" to the point at which it can allegedly eliminate the need for glasses by undoing a habitual strain to see. [ 102 ] In 1929 Bates was cited by the FTC for false or misleading advertising in connection with his book describing the method, Perfect Sight Without Glasses, [ 103 ] though the complaint was later dismissed. [ 104 ] Although some people claim to have improved their eyesight by following his principles, Bates' ideas about vision and accommodation have been rejected by mainstream ophthalmology and optometry. [ 105 ] [ 106 ] [ 107 ] [ 108 ] [ 109 ]
- Biorhythms – hypothesis holding that human physiology and behavior are governed by physical, emotional, and intellectual cycles lasting 23, 28, and 33 days, respectively. The system posits that, for instance, errors in judgment are more probable on days when an individual's intellectual cycle, as determined by days since birth, is near a minimum. No biophysical mechanism of action has been discovered, and the predictive power of biorhythms charts is no better than chance. [ 17 ] [ 110 ] [ 111 ] [ 112 ] For the scientific study of biological cycles such as circadian rhythms, see chronobiology.
- Body memory – hypothesis that the body itself is capable of storing memories, as opposed to only the brain. This is used to explain having memories for events where the brain was not in a position to store memories and is sometimes a catalyst for repressed memories recovery. [ 113 ] These memories are often characterised with phantom pain in a part or parts of the body – the body appearing to remember the past trauma. The idea of body memory is a belief frequently associated with the idea of repressed memories, in which memories of incest or sexual abuse can be retained and recovered through physical sensations. [ 113 ] [ 114 ]
- Brain Gym – commercial training program that claims that any learning challenges can be overcome by finding the right movements, to subsequently create new pathways in the brain. They claim that the repetition of the 26 Brain Gym movements "activates the brain for optimal storage and retrieval of information", [ 115 ] and are designed to "integrate body and mind" in order to improve "concentration, memory, reading, writing, organizing, listening, physical coordination, and more." [ 116 ] Its theoretical foundation has been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community, who describe it as pseudoscience. [ 117 ] [ 118 ] [ 119 ] [ 120 ] Peer reviewed scientific studies into Brain Gym have found no significant improvement in general academic skills. Its claimed results have been put down to the placebo effect and the benefits of breaks and exercise. Its founder, Paul Dennison, has admitted that many of Brain Gym's claims are not based on good science, but on his "hunches". [ 121 ]
- Chiropractic – alternative medicine practice focusing on spinal manipulation. Many modern chiropractors target solely mechanical dysfunction, and offer health and lifestyle counseling. [ 122 ] [ 123 ] Many others, however, base their practice on the vitalism of D.D. Palmer and B. J. Palmer, maintaining that all or many organic diseases are the result of hypothetical spinal dysfunctions known as vertebral subluxations and the impaired flow of Innate intelligence, a form of putative energy. [ 124 ] [ 125 ] These ideas are not based in science, and along with the lack of a strong research base are in part responsible for the historical conflict between chiropractic and mainstream medicine. [ 126 ] [ 127 ] [ 128 ] [ 129 ] Recent systematic reviews indicate the possibility of moderate effectiveness for spinal manipulation in the management of nonspecific low back pain. [ 130 ] [ 131 ] [ 132 ] The effectiveness of chiropractic spinal manipulation has not been demonstrated according to the principles of evidence-based medicine for any other condition. [ 133 ] Adverse events with possible neurologic involvement following spinal manipulation, particularly upper spinal manipulation, occur with a frequency of between 33% and 61%. Most events are minor, such as mild soreness, fainting, dizziness, light headedness, headache, or numbness or tingling in the upper limbs; serious complications such as subarachnoid hemorrhage, vertebral artery dissection, or myelopathy are observed infrequently. [ 134 ] [ 135 ] [ 136 ] [ 137 ] [ 138 ]
- Applied kinesiology (AK) – a chiropracticdiagnostic method using manual muscle-strength testing for medical diagnosis and a subsequent determination of prescribed therapy, which proponents believe can identify health problems or nutritional deficiencies through practitioner assessment of external physical qualities such as muscle response, posture, or motion analysis. A variety of therapies are prescribed based on tested weakness or smoothness of muscle action and a conjectured viscerosomatic association between particular muscles and organs. For example, a practitioner will give the patient a jar containing a substance to hold in one hand, then test for muscle strength in the other hand; if there is little resistance, the practitioner may conclude that the patient is allergic to that substance. The sole use of Applied Kinesiology to diagnose or treat any allergy [ 139 ] or illness [ 140 ] [ 141 ] is not scientifically supported, and the International College of Applied Kinesiology requires concurrent use of standard diagnostic techniques. [ 142 ] Applied kinesiologists are often chiropractors, but may also be naturopaths, physicians, dentists, nutritionists, physical therapists, massage therapists, and nurses. [ 140 ] Applied Kinesiology should not be confused with kinesiology, the scientific study of human movement.
- Innate intelligence – form of putative energy, the flow of which is considered by some chiropractors to be responsible for patient health. Chiropractic historian Joseph C. Keating, Jr., PhD. stated: "So long as we propound the 'One cause, one cure' rhetoric of Innate, we should expect to be met by ridicule from the wider health science community. Chiropractors can’t have it both ways. Our theories cannot be both dogmatically held vitalistic constructs and be scientific at the same time. The purposiveness, consciousness and rigidity of the Palmers’ Innate should be rejected." [ 143 ]
- Vertebral subluxation – a Chiropractic term that describes variously a site of impaired flow of innate or a spinal lesion that is postulated to cause neuromusculoskeletal or visceral dysfunction. Scientific consensus does not support the existence of chiropractic's vertebral subluxation. [ 144 ]
- Colon cleansing (colonics, colon hydrotherapy) – encompasses a number of alternative medical therapies intended to remove fecal waste and unidentified toxins from the colon and intestinal tract. Practitioners believe that accumulations of putrefied feces line the walls of the large intestine and that they harbor parasites or pathogenic gut flora, causing nonspecific symptoms and general ill-health. This "auto-intoxication" hypothesis is based on medical beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, and was discredited in the early 20th century. [ 145 ] [ 146 ]
- Crystal healing – belief that crystals have healing properties. Once common among pre-scientific and indigenous peoples, it has recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with the New Age movement. [ 147 ] [ 148 ] [ 149 ]
- Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) – reported sensitivity to electric and magnetic fields or electromagnetic radiation of various frequencies at exposure levels well below established safety standards. Symptoms are inconsistent, but can include headache, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and similar non-specific indications. [ 150 ] Provocation studies find that the discomfort of sufferers is unrelated to hidden sources of radiation, [ 151 ] [ 152 ] and "no scientific basis currently exists for a connection between EHS and exposure to [electromagnetic fields]." [ 153 ]
- Faith healing – act of curing disease by such means as prayer and laying on of hands. No material benefit in excess of that expected by placebo is observed. [ 17 ] [ 154 ] [ 155 ] However, faith-healing advocates respond by stating that what doctors describe as the placebo effect is a form of faith healing. [ 156 ]
- Homeopathy – belief in giving a patient with symptoms of an illness extremely dilute remedies that are thought to produce those same symptoms in healthy people. These preparations are often diluted beyond the point where any treatment molecule is likely to remain. [ 157 ] Studies of homeopathic practice have been largely negative or inconclusive. [ 158 ] [ 159 ] [ 160 ] [ 161 ] No scientific basis for homeopathic principles has been substantiated. [ 30 ] [ 162 ] [ 163 ] [ 164 ] [ 165 ] [ 166 ] [ 167 ]
- Hypnosis – state of extreme relaxation and inner focus in which a person is unusually responsive to suggestions made by the hypnotist. The modern practice has its roots in the idea of animal magnetism, or mesmerism, originated by Franz Mesmer. [ 168 ] Mesmer's explanations were thoroughly discredited, and to this day there is no agreement amongst researchers whether hypnosis is a real phenomena, or merely a form of participatory role- enactment. [ 17 ] [ 80 ] [ 169 ] Some aspects of suggestion have been clinically useful. [ 170 ] [ 171 ] Other claimed uses of hypnosis more clearly fall within the area of pseudoscience. Such areas include the use of hypnotic regression beyond plausible limits, including past life regression. [ 172 ] Also see false memory syndrome.
- Iridology – means of medical diagnosis which proponents believe can identify and diagnose health problems through close examination of the markings and patterns of the iris. Practitioners divide the iris into 80-90 zones, each of which is connected to a particular body region or organ. This connection has not been scientifically validated, and disorder detection is neither selective nor specific. [ 173 ] [ 174 ] [ 175 ] Because iris texture is a phenotypical feature which develops during gestation and remains unchanged after birth (which makes the iris useful for Biometrics), Iridology is all but impossible.
- Magnet therapy – practice of using magnetic fields to positively influence health. While there are legitimate medical uses for magnets and magnetic fields, the field strength used in magnetic therapy is too low to effect any biological change, and the methods used have no scientific validity. [ 17 ] [ 176 ] [ 177 ]
- Maharishi Ayurveda – traditional Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old alternative medical practice with roots in ancient India based on a mind-body set of beliefs. [ 178 ] [ 179 ] Imbalance or stress in an individual’s consciousness is believed to be the reason of diseases. [ 178 ] Patients are classified by body types (three doshas, which are considered to control mind-body harmony, determine an individual’s "body type"); and treatment is aimed at restoring balance to the mind-body system. [ 178 ] [ 179 ] It has long been the main traditional system of health care in India, [ 179 ] and it has become institutionalized in India's colleges and schools, although unlicensed practitioners are common. [ 180 ] As with other traditional knowledge, much of it was lost; in the West, current practice is mostly based on the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1980s, [ 181 ] who mixed it with Transcendental Meditation. The most notable advocate of Ayurveda in America is Deepak Chopra, who claims that Maharishi's Ayurveda is based on quantum mysticism. [ 181 ]
- Radionics – means of medical diagnosis and therapy which proponents believe can diagnose and remedy health problems using various frequencies in a putative energy field coupled to the practitioner's electronic device. The first such "black box" devices were designed and promoted by Albert Abrams, and were definitively proven useless by an independent investigation commissioned by Scientific American in 1924. [ 182 ] The internal circuitry of radionics devices is often obfuscated and irrelevant, leading proponents to conjecture dowsing and ESP as operating principles. [ 183 ] [ 184 ] Similar devices continue to be marketed under various names, though none is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration; there is no scientific evidence for the efficacy or underlying premise of radionics devices. [ 185 ] [ 186 ] The radionics of Albert Abrams and his intellectual descendants should not be confused with similarly named reputable and legitimate companies, products, or medical treatments such as radiotherapy or radiofrequency ablation.
- Therapeutic touch – form of vitalism where a practitioner, who may be also a nurse, [ 187 ] passes his or her hands over and around a patient to "realign" or "rebalance" a putative energy field. [ 35 ] A recent Cochrane Review concluded that "[t]here is no evidence that [Therapeutic Touch] promotes healing of acute wounds." [ 188 ] No biophysical basis for such an energy field has been found. [ 189 ] [ 190 ]
- Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) – traditional medical system originating in China and practiced as an alternative medicine throughout much of the world. It contains elements based in Taoism, Buddhism, and Neo-Confucianism, [ 191 ] and considers the human body more in functional and vitalistic than anatomical terms. [ 192 ] [ 193 ] Health and illness in TCM follow the principle of yin and yang, and are ascribed to balance or imbalance in the flow of a vital force, qi. [ 194 ] [ 195 ] Diagnostic methods are solely external, including pulse examination at six points, examination of a patient's tongue, and a patient interview; interpractitioner diagnostic agreement is poor. [ 192 ] [ 196 ] [ 197 ] [ 198 ] The TCM theory of the function and structure of the human body is fundamentally different from modern medicine, though some of the procedures and remedies have shown promise under scientific investigation. [ 194 ] [ 199 ]
- Acupuncture – use of fine needles to stimulate acupuncture points and balance the flow of qi. There is no known anatomical or histological basis for the existence of acupuncture points or meridians. [ 196 ] [ 200 ] Some acupuncturists regard them as functional rather than structural entities, useful in guiding evaluation and care of patients. [ 194 ] [ 201 ] [ 202 ] Dry needling is the therapeutic insertion of fine needles without regard to TCM theory. Acupuncture has been the subject of active scientific research since the late 20th century, [ 203 ] and its effects and application remain controversial among Western medical researchers and clinicians. [ 203 ] Because it is a procedure rather than a pill, the design of controlled studies is challenging, as with surgical and other procedures. [ 194 ] [ 203 ] [ 204 ] [ 205 ] [ 206 ] :126 Some scholarly reviews conclude that acupuncture's effects are mainly placebo, [ 207 ] [ 208 ] and others find likelihood of efficacy for particular conditions. [ 203 ] [ 209 ] [ 210 ] [ 211 ]
- Meridians – TCM are the channels through which qi flows, connecting the several zang-fu organ pairs. [ 192 ] [ 213 ] There is no known anatomical or histological basis for the existence of acupuncture points or meridians. [ 196 ] [ 200 ]
- Moxibustion – application on or above the skin of smoldering mugwort, or moxa, to stimulate acupuncture points.
- Qi – vital energy whose flow must be balanced for health. Qi has never been directly observed, and is unrelated to the energy used in science. [ 214 ] [ 215 ] [ 216 ]
- TCM materia medica – a collection of crude medicines used in Traditional Chinese medicine. These include many plants in part or whole, such as ginseng and wolfberry, as well as more exotic ingredients such as seahorses. Preparations generally include several ingredients in combination, with selection based on physical characteristics such as taste or shape, or relationship to the organs of TCM. [ 217 ] Most preparations have not been rigorously evaluated or give no indication of efficacy. [ 199 ] [ 218 ] [ 219 ] Pharmacognosy research for potential active ingredients present in these preparations is active, though the applications do not always correspond to those of TCM. [ 220 ]
- Zang-fu – concept of organs as functional yin and yang entities for the storage and manipulation of qi. [ 192 ] These organs are not based in anatomy.
- Urine therapy – drinking either one's own undiluted urine or homeopathic potions of urine for treatment of a wide variety of diseases is based on pseudoscience. [ 221 ]
- Vitalism – doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part self-determining. The book Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience stated "today, vitalism is one of the ideas that form the basis for many pseudoscientific health systems that claim that illnesses are caused by a disturbance or imbalance of the body's vital force." "Vitalists claim to be scientific, but in fact they reject the scientific method with its basic postulates of cause and effect and of provability. They often regard subjective experience to be more valid than objective material reality." [ 222 ]
Religious and spiritual beliefs
Spiritual and religious practices and beliefs, according to Carl Sagan, are normally not classified as pseudoscience. [ 223 ] However, the following religious/spiritual items have been related to or classified as pseudoscience in some way:
- Biblical scientific foreknowledge (Judaism and Christianity) – asserts that the Bible makes accurate statements about the world that science verifies thousands of years later. [ 224 ]
- Koranic scientific foreknowledge (Islam) – asserts that the Koran makes accurate statements about the world that science verifies hundreds of years later. This belief is a common theme in Bucailleism. [ 224 ] [ 225 ]
- Creation science – belief that the origin of everything in the universe is the result of a first cause, brought about by a creator deity, and that this thesis is supported by geological, biological, and other scientific evidence. [ 10 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 226 ]
- Creation biology – subset of creation science that tries to explain biology without macroevolution. [ 227 ]
- Creationist cosmologies – cosmologies which, among other things, allow for a universe that is only thousands of years old. [ 228 ]
- Flood geology – creationist form of geology that advocates most of the geologic features on Earth are explainable by a global flood. [ 229 ] [ 230 ] [ 231 ] [ 232 ]
- Modern geocentrism – citing uniform gamma-ray bursts distribution, and other arguments of this type, as evidence that we (being in the Milky Way galaxy) are at the center of the cosmos. [ 233 ] [ 234 ] [ 235 ]
- Intelligent design – maintains that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." [ 236 ] These features include: [ 13 ] [ 226 ] [ 237 ]
- Irreducible complexity – claim that some biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler systems. It is used by proponents of intelligent design to argue that evolution by natural selection alone is incomplete or flawed, and that some additional mechanism (an "Intelligent Designer") is required to explain the origins of life. [ 238 ] [ 239 ] Irreducible complexity is one of two main arguments intended to support intelligent design, the other being specified complexity. [ 240 ]
- Specified complexity – claim that when something is simultaneously complex and specified, one can infer that it was produced by an intelligent cause (i.e., that it was designed) rather than being the result of natural processes. [ 226 ] [ 237 ]
- Dianetics (which is involved in Scientology) – L. Ron Hubbard's pseudoscience that purports to treat a hypothetical reactive mind by means of an E-meter, a device which Hubbard was later legally forced to admit "does nothing". [ 241 ] [ 242 ] [ 243 ] [ 244 ] [ 245 ]
- Feng shui – ancient Chinese system of mysticism and aesthetics based on astronomy, geography, and the putative flow of qi. It is widely considered a pseudoscience, and has been criticised by many organisations devoted to investigating paranormal claims. Evidence for its effectiveness is based on anecdote, and there is a lack of a plausible method of action; this leads to conflicting advice from different practitioners of feng shui. Feng shui practitioners use this as evidence of variations or different schools; critical analysts have described it thus: "Feng shui has always been based upon mere guesswork." [ 246 ] [ 247 ] Modern criticism differentiates between feng shui as a traditional proto-religion and the modern practice: "A naturalistic belief, it was originally used to find an auspicious dwelling place for a shrine or a tomb. However, over the centuries it... has become distorted and degraded into a gross superstition." [ 248 ]
- Quantum mysticism – builds on a superficial similarity between certain New Age concepts and such seemingly counter-intuitive quantum mechanical concepts as the uncertainty principle, entanglement, and wave–particle duality , while generally ignoring the limitations imposed by quantum decoherence. [ 17 ] [ 249 ] [ 250 ] [ 251 ] [ 252 ] One of the most abused ideas is Bell's theorem, which proves the nonexistence of local hidden variables in quantum mechanics. Despite this, Bell himself resisted mystical interpretations of the theory. [ 253 ]
- Hongcheng Magic Liquid – pseudoscience incident in China where an inventor claimed that he could turn water into a usable fuel by just adding a few drops of his "secret formula" liquid. The government of China and the Chinese Communist Party were alarmed by pseudoscience developments like this one and issued a joint proclamation condemning the recent decline of public education in science. [ 254 ] (Also see: Gasoline pill)
- Perpetual motion – class of proposed machines that violate one of the Laws of Thermodynamics. Perpetual motion has been recognized as extrascientific since the late 18th century, but proposals and patents for such devices continue to be made to the present day. [ 10 ] [ 15 ] [ 35 ]
- Free energy – particular class of perpetual motion which purports to create energy (violating the first law of thermodynamics) or extract useful work from equilibrium systems (violating the second law of thermodynamics). This is in contrast to proposals made most notably by Harold Puthoff [ 255 ] which involve the extraction of zero point energy, a real energy which in quantum mechanics is thought not to be available to do work. [ 35 ]
- Water-fuelled cars – an instance of perpetual motion machines. [ 256 ] Such devices are claimed to use water as fuel or produce fuel from water onboard with no other energy input.
- Cosmetics and cleaning products frequently make pseudoscientific claims about their products. [ 257 ] Claims are made about both the benefits or toxicity of certain products or ingredients. Practices include Angel dusting where a minuscule amount of an active ingredientis used in a product insufficient to cause any measurable benefit. Examples of products include:
- Scientific racism – claim that scientific evidence shows the inferiority or superiority of certain races, or alternatively the claim of "classifying" individuals of different phenotypes into discrete races or ethnicities. [ 259 ] [ 260 ]
- New Chronology - one of the theories of historical revisionism, the creation of Anatoly Fomenko [ 263 ] [ 264 ] [ 265 ] [ 266 ] [ 267 ] [ 268 ] .