Sonntag, 21. Juni 2009

Physophy: A Scientific Hardness Index

Recently, I have read in a blog on a conference on Pseudosciences:
"Nothing against pseudosciences pls - Einstein's theories are probably also pseudosciences" - and I was shocked. (The post referred to the effect "you think about a person, and then he or she calls you", and claimed that this is causally connected).
In my understanding, we have roughly three classes of systems (or sciences):
  1. Superhuman systems as, e.g. fundamental science, e.g. particle theory -
    no individual could produce it alone. Mathematics (or computer software of large complexity) is the glue,
  2. Human systems of varying stability and hardness (established or under construction),
  3. Pseudosciences (besides science or in contradiction to science).

To have a simple index, I propose to have a hardness scale, similar to the Mohs hardness for minerals, with:

  • positive values: scientific statements
  • zero: neither scientific nor obvious nonsense
  • negative: non-scientific (para or pseudo).

This gives my proposed scale "Scientific Hardness Index" from +3 to -3:

+3: Fundamental science (superhuman), e.g. fundamental physics

+2: Science established, probably high precision, e.g. astronomy, evolution

+1: Scientific theory under investigation e.g. extended longevity

0: Neutral -neither scientific nor obvious nonsense e.g. visitors from other stars

-1: Beside science but not hard contradiction (e.g. astrology)

-2: Hard contradiction (e.g. predictions, telekinesis)

-3: Proven wrong (or obsolete) (e.g., "earth is a hollow sphere")

These numbers cannot show the tremendous nonlinear difference in the system strength of these levels: I would like to compare

  • a level 3 - area with a world class building with concrete and steel,
  • level 2 with a solid house,
  • level 1 with a play with Lego blocks to try what is fitting,
  • level 0 with a heap of cotton balls,
  • negative levels just with rings of smoke (more or less hazardous)
I know, this will not end the discussion what is pseudoscience and not, on the contrary, - but it should make clear what one is talking about, about a 800 m height modern construction or about a heap of cotton balls (or mozzarella?) or just about smoke (unfortunately, as you know, you can earn a lot of money just with smoke and cigarettes ...).

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