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Lecture 5 Pseudoscience - Astrology

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					                  Lecture 5
            Pseudoscience - Astrology




           February 7, 2011
ASTRONOMY 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking




Announcements




               Galileo writing extended until Wednesday
               Your first assignment is almost all graded




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                      ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking




Last time ...




               We understood the Copernican Revolution as an example of
               scientific method
               Tried to define what modern science is and sometimes what it
               is not (peer review)




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                 ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking




Outline




       1    Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking
              Definitions
              Astrology




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology             ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions




       1     Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking
               Definitions
               Astrology




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology              ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions




       List all the reasons why you do or do not believe in the
       effects of the heavens on our daily, routine lives.
       Anonymous. Or, why is astrology science or pseudoscience?




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology          ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


What is pseudoscience?

       Science attempts to understand the world around us, of how it is,
       not how we wish it to be.




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


What is pseudoscience?

       Science attempts to understand the world around us, of how it is,
       not how we wish it to be. But it seems like pseudo-science is all
       around us and dominates our culture.




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


What is pseudoscience?

       Science attempts to understand the world around us, of how it is,
       not how we wish it to be. But it seems like pseudo-science is all
       around us and dominates our culture.Yes, it would be cool if
       UFOs were all over southern NM and ghosts talked to us, but ...
       it’s likely not the case.




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


What is pseudoscience?

       Science attempts to understand the world around us, of how it is,
       not how we wish it to be. But it seems like pseudo-science is all
       around us and dominates our culture.Yes, it would be cool if
       UFOs were all over southern NM and ghosts talked to us, but ...
       it’s likely not the case.
               Pseudoscience is often based on insufficient evidence, or
               one-time, non-reproducable things




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                   ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


What is pseudoscience?

       Science attempts to understand the world around us, of how it is,
       not how we wish it to be. But it seems like pseudo-science is all
       around us and dominates our culture.Yes, it would be cool if
       UFOs were all over southern NM and ghosts talked to us, but ...
       it’s likely not the case.
               Pseudoscience is often based on insufficient evidence, or
               one-time, non-reproducable things
               It’s easier to contrive: distracting confrontations with reality
               are more readily avoided




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                      ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


What is pseudoscience?

       Science attempts to understand the world around us, of how it is,
       not how we wish it to be. But it seems like pseudo-science is all
       around us and dominates our culture.Yes, it would be cool if
       UFOs were all over southern NM and ghosts talked to us, but ...
       it’s likely not the case.
               Pseudoscience is often based on insufficient evidence, or
               one-time, non-reproducable things
               It’s easier to contrive: distracting confrontations with reality
               are more readily avoided
               It caters to our fantasies of special powers and reassures
               us of our cosmic importance


Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                      ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Differences


       Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science:




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology             ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Differences


       Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science:
               science thrives on errors, helps advance better theories




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                     ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Differences


       Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science:
               science thrives on errors, helps advance better theories
               false hypotheses are drawn all the time, a negative result is
               still useful




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                     ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Differences


       Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science:
               science thrives on errors, helps advance better theories
               false hypotheses are drawn all the time, a negative result is
               still useful




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                     ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Differences


       Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science:
               science thrives on errors, helps advance better theories
               false hypotheses are drawn all the time, a negative result is
               still useful
       Pseudoscience is unique




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                     ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Differences


       Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science:
               science thrives on errors, helps advance better theories
               false hypotheses are drawn all the time, a negative result is
               still useful
       Pseudoscience is unique
               hypotheses are formed precisely so they are invulnerable to
               verification




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                     ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Differences


       Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science:
               science thrives on errors, helps advance better theories
               false hypotheses are drawn all the time, a negative result is
               still useful
       Pseudoscience is unique
               hypotheses are formed precisely so they are invulnerable to
               verification
               skeptical scrutiny is opposed




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                     ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Differences


       Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science:
               science thrives on errors, helps advance better theories
               false hypotheses are drawn all the time, a negative result is
               still useful
       Pseudoscience is unique
               hypotheses are formed precisely so they are invulnerable to
               verification
               skeptical scrutiny is opposed
               if real scientists ignore their field, it’s a conspiracy!



Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                       ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Problems with pseudo-scientific thinking



               anecdotes do not make science - my aunt’s cancer was cured
               from watching Marx Brothers films




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                 ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Problems with pseudo-scientific thinking



               anecdotes do not make science - my aunt’s cancer was cured
               from watching Marx Brothers films
               scientific language does not make science - magnetic therapy




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                  ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Problems with pseudo-scientific thinking



               anecdotes do not make science - my aunt’s cancer was cured
               from watching Marx Brothers films
               scientific language does not make science - magnetic therapy
               unexplained is not inexplicable - walking on coals




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                    ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Problems with pseudo-scientific thinking



               anecdotes do not make science - my aunt’s cancer was cured
               from watching Marx Brothers films
               scientific language does not make science - magnetic therapy
               unexplained is not inexplicable - walking on coals
               coincidences are very important - 2 people in this room have
               the same birthday!




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                    ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Problems with pseudo-scientific thinking



               anecdotes do not make science - my aunt’s cancer was cured
               from watching Marx Brothers films
               scientific language does not make science - magnetic therapy
               unexplained is not inexplicable - walking on coals
               coincidences are very important - 2 people in this room have
               the same birthday!
               small sample size statistics play a huge role




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                     ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Use of critical thinking



       Has anyone ever used critical thinking, for example, when buying a
       used car?




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Use of critical thinking



       Has anyone ever used critical thinking, for example, when buying a
       used car?
               when possible, independent confirmation of facts is useful




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                   ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Use of critical thinking



       Has anyone ever used critical thinking, for example, when buying a
       used car?
               when possible, independent confirmation of facts is useful
               encourage substantive debate




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                   ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Use of critical thinking



       Has anyone ever used critical thinking, for example, when buying a
       used car?
               when possible, independent confirmation of facts is useful
               encourage substantive debate
               arguments from authority carry little weight




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                    ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Use of critical thinking



       Has anyone ever used critical thinking, for example, when buying a
       used car?
               when possible, independent confirmation of facts is useful
               encourage substantive debate
               arguments from authority carry little weight
               don’t get overly attached to just one hypothesis




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                    ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Definitions


Use of critical thinking



       Has anyone ever used critical thinking, for example, when buying a
       used car?
               when possible, independent confirmation of facts is useful
               encourage substantive debate
               arguments from authority carry little weight
               don’t get overly attached to just one hypothesis
               Occam’s razor




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                    ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology




       1    Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking
              Definitions
              Astrology




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology             ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


The importance of stars and planets on humans

               early on, mysticism and the fascination with planets and stars
               led to the belief in the fate of kings, dynasties, empires, states
               etc. as determined by the motions of these objects




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                      ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


The importance of stars and planets on humans

               early on, mysticism and the fascination with planets and stars
               led to the belief in the fate of kings, dynasties, empires, states
               etc. as determined by the motions of these objects
               disaster is Greek for “bad star”




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                      ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


The importance of stars and planets on humans

               early on, mysticism and the fascination with planets and stars
               led to the belief in the fate of kings, dynasties, empires, states
               etc. as determined by the motions of these objects
               disaster is Greek for “bad star”
               a 1984 Gallup poll showed that 55% of U.S. teenagers firmly
               believe in astrology




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                      ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


The importance of stars and planets on humans

               early on, mysticism and the fascination with planets and stars
               led to the belief in the fate of kings, dynasties, empires, states
               etc. as determined by the motions of these objects
               disaster is Greek for “bad star”
               a 1984 Gallup poll showed that 55% of U.S. teenagers firmly
               believe in astrology
               Astrology columns appear in over 1200 newspapers in the US;
               by contrast, fewer than 10 newspapers have columns on
               astronomy.




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                      ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


The importance of stars and planets on humans

               early on, mysticism and the fascination with planets and stars
               led to the belief in the fate of kings, dynasties, empires, states
               etc. as determined by the motions of these objects
               disaster is Greek for “bad star”
               a 1984 Gallup poll showed that 55% of U.S. teenagers firmly
               believe in astrology
               Astrology columns appear in over 1200 newspapers in the US;
               by contrast, fewer than 10 newspapers have columns on
               astronomy.
               the important constellations - in the zodiac - change
               throughout the year



Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                      ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


The importance of stars and planets on humans

               early on, mysticism and the fascination with planets and stars
               led to the belief in the fate of kings, dynasties, empires, states
               etc. as determined by the motions of these objects
               disaster is Greek for “bad star”
               a 1984 Gallup poll showed that 55% of U.S. teenagers firmly
               believe in astrology
               Astrology columns appear in over 1200 newspapers in the US;
               by contrast, fewer than 10 newspapers have columns on
               astronomy.
               the important constellations - in the zodiac - change
               throughout the year
               basically, the Sun sign (when you were born) is a crucial factor
               in determining your occupation and overall personality
Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                      ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Zodiac
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology




       List all the reasons why you do or do not believe in the
       effects of the heavens on our daily, routine lives.
       Anonymous. Or, why is astrology science or pseudoscience?




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology          ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology




       Classroom astrology exercise with horoscopes




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology           ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


Some points to think about (1)


               what is the likelihood that 1/12 of the world’s population
               (over 450 million people) are having the same kind of day?




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                   ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


Some points to think about (1)


               what is the likelihood that 1/12 of the world’s population
               (over 450 million people) are having the same kind of day?
               why is the moment of birth, not conception, important?




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                   ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


Some points to think about (1)


               what is the likelihood that 1/12 of the world’s population
               (over 450 million people) are having the same kind of day?
               why is the moment of birth, not conception, important?
               predictions always seem vague, general




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                   ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


Some points to think about (1)


               what is the likelihood that 1/12 of the world’s population
               (over 450 million people) are having the same kind of day?
               why is the moment of birth, not conception, important?
               predictions always seem vague, general
               mechanism? if carried out by a known force (like gravity),
               why are the planets responsible. The nurse who delivers you
               has a much stronger force on you




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                   ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


Some points to think about (1)


               what is the likelihood that 1/12 of the world’s population
               (over 450 million people) are having the same kind of day?
               why is the moment of birth, not conception, important?
               predictions always seem vague, general
               mechanism? if carried out by a known force (like gravity),
               why are the planets responsible. The nurse who delivers you
               has a much stronger force on you
               what about the horoscopes before the discovery of the 3 outer
               planets? were they really wrong? (Uranus 1781, Neptune
               1846, Pluto 1930)



Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                   ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


Some points to think about (2)



               Why aren’t populist astrologers using their skills to become
               wealthy with stocks or gambling?




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                    ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


Some points to think about (2)



               Why aren’t populist astrologers using their skills to become
               wealthy with stocks or gambling?
               Why don’t twins have exactly the same day, every day?




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                    ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


Some points to think about (2)



               Why aren’t populist astrologers using their skills to become
               wealthy with stocks or gambling?
               Why don’t twins have exactly the same day, every day?
               If astrology were a verifiable science, every astrologer would
               provide similar horoscopes to you (after all these years of
               experimenting, etc.)




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                    ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


Some points to think about (2)



               Why aren’t populist astrologers using their skills to become
               wealthy with stocks or gambling?
               Why don’t twins have exactly the same day, every day?
               If astrology were a verifiable science, every astrologer would
               provide similar horoscopes to you (after all these years of
               experimenting, etc.)
               Don’t forget to pay attention to the
               Astrology Institute (accredited)




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                    ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science
Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking

Astrology


For next time ...




            1. Just read Sagan’s
               The fine art of baloney detection
               - we’ll use it in class for the Moon landing
            2. Bring NYT




Lecture 5 - Pseudoscience - Astrology                     ASTR 301: Revolutionary Ideas in Science

				
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