From biologist Katie L. Burke at American Scientist:
The word pseudoscience is also used to claim a certain value system: scientism, or valuing and trusting science exclusively. Relatively few people ascribe to scientism, even if they like science. Many if not most people, at least in the United States, value science and see it as an important decision-making tool. But most people—even many scientists—are religious or simply not doggedly empirical, and believe in truths other than those derived from science. In such views, science is a tool with limits, and outside those limits lie beliefs, ideas, and knowledge gathered through art, philosophy, intuition, metaphysics, or culture. When science-affiliated factions use a term that inherently implies that people are ignorant or fakers for having such beliefs, an antagonistic communications environment usually emerges. Perhaps the assault the Christian Right has waged on many aspects of science education and funding in the United States represents just such a backlash.
There are great alternatives to the term pseudoscience—ones that are much more explicit and constructive. More.
Breath of fresh air. The term typically replaces conversations with factions. Many things believed to be science have proven valueless, and many things one might have expected to be valueless have proven to be good science.
At one time, anyone would have said that the idea that plants communicate is ridiculous, pseudoscience. But they do. Meanwhile, whatever became of the ether?
See also: Condescension news: Why the public does not “trust” “science”: How convenient that the world is divided neatly between “charlatans” and “scientists,” unlike the usual messy situation most people encounter most of the time.
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