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EPISODE # 191

Michael Gordin on the Fringe of Where Science Meets Pseudoscience

Everyone has heard of the term “pseudoscience”, typically used to describe something that looks like science, but is somehow false, misleading, or unproven. Many would be able to agree on a list of things that fall under its umbrella — astrology, phrenology, UFOlogy, creationism, and eugenics might come to mind. But defining what makes these fields “pseudo” is a far more complex issue. Given the virulence of contemporary disputes over the denial of climate change and anti-vaccination movements — both of which display allegations of “pseudoscience” on all sides — there is a clear need to better understand issues of scientific demarcation. Shermer and Gordin explore the philosophical and historical attempts to address this problem of demarcation.

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