Author Topic: What is Fringe Science?  (Read 7322 times)

Offline Dharmakara

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What is Fringe Science?
« on: October 23, 2013, 08:53:45 pm »
There are differing definitions of fringe science. By one definition (see below) it is valid, but not mainstream, science, whilst by another broader definition it is generally viewed in a negative way as being non-scientific.

Fringe science is scientific inquiry in an established field of study that departs significantly from mainstream or orthodox theories, and is classified in the "fringes" of a credible mainstream academic discipline.

Three classifications of scientific ideas have been identified (center, frontier, fringe) with mainstream scientists typically regarding fringe concepts as highly speculative or even strongly refuted.[1] However, according to Rosenthal "Accepted science may merge into frontier science, which in turn may merge into more far-out ideas, or fringe science. Really wild ideas may be considered beyond the fringe, or pseudoscientific."[2]

A particular concept that was once accepted by the mainstream scientific community can become fringe science because of a later evaluation of previously supportive research. For example the idea that focal infections of the tonsils or teeth were a primary cause of systemic disease was once considered medical fact, but is now dismissed for lack of evidence. Conversely, fringe science can include novel proposals and interpretations that initially have only a few supporters and much opposition. Some theories which were developed on the fringes (for example, continental drift,[3][4] existence of Troy,[5][6] heliocentrism,[7] the Norse colonization of the Americas, and Big Bang Theory[8]) have become mainstream because of the discovery of supportive evidence.

Fringe science covers everything from novel hypotheses that can be tested via scientific method to wild ad hoc theories and "New Age mumbo jumbo" with the dominance of the latter resulting in the tendency to dismiss all fringe science as the domain of pseudoscientists, hobbyists, or quacks.[9] Other terms used for the portions of fringe science that lack scientific integrity are pathological science, voodoo science, and cargo cult science. Junk science is a term typically used in the political arena to describe ideas that proponents erroneously, for political reasons, dubiously or even fraudulently claim scientific backing.

In the philosophy of science, the question of where to properly draw a boundary between science and non-science, when the objective actually is objectivity, is called the demarcation problem. Compounding this issue is that proponents of some fringe theories use both proper scientific evidence and outlandish claims to support their arguments.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fringe_science


Notes:

[1] Dutch, Steven I (January 1982). "Notes on the nature of fringe science". J Geol Ed 30 (1): 6–13. ISSN 0022-1368. OCLC 427103550. ERIC EJ260409.

[2] Botkin and Keller (2000) Environmental Science 25

[3] Bell, David, 2005, Science, Technology and Culture, Open University Press, p. 134, ISBN 978-0-335-21326-9

[4] Oreskes, Naomi (2003) Plate tectonics: an insider's history of the modern theory of the Earth pg 72

[5] Conklin, Wendy (2005) Mysteries in History: Ancient History pg 39

[6] Hunt, Patrick (2007) Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History

[7] JDobrzycki J Editor (1973) The reception of Copernicus' heliocentric theory pg 311

[8] Lemonick, Michael D. (2003) Echo of the Big Bang Princeton University Press pg 7

[9] David Bell (December 1999). "Secret science". Science and Public Policy 26 (6): 450. doi:10.1093/spp/26.6.450.

Offline Jnewell

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Re: What is Fringe Science?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2013, 09:59:48 am »
By the definition of not being orthodox, every major discovery in history has started out as fringe science.

I tend to define fringe science as being motivated by some goal other than accuracy.

For example, tobacco companies hired scientists to give false reasons that smoking does nobody any harm, or that negative health effects of smoking are unproven. That is fringe science.

At the moment, corporations are hiring scientists to say that global warming is not caused by the burning of fossil fuels. That is fringe science.

Often in history, some people have claimed some substance they were selling was a medical cure, just because it sounded good and they wanted to make money - but they have had no evidence. That is fringe science.

Of course, it is difficult in some cases to determine motive. So the best way to identify fringe science is that it isn't based on data, but rather is based on a mere assertion.

But, you might say, Jim is doing fringe science and he is using data and logical theoretical steps analysis of the data. Oh well. It doesn't actually matter because in future decades or a century or two, brain scientists will still not have found anything in the brain that integrates nerve impulse patterns to the extent needed to form subjective images, etc., and then they will rediscover my work. At the moment, scientists are looking, but they aren't finding such a group of neurons that can do that. They do fill in with saying that it must be some kind of action of the whole, but that is an idea that doesn't mean very much. You could tell someone that a car runs due to action of a whole, but that wouldn't tell them how a car works. To know how an action as a whole actually emerges, one needs to clearly know the processes which are producing the action as a whole. Action as a whole by itself isn't an explanation.

The scientists will also sooner or later find out what conation memories do, and they will in that way discover karma. So nothing will be really lost.

However, the research that neurological scientists are doing is of great importance, and among other things, funding for it should be greatly increased.

Jim


sahaja

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Re: What is Fringe Science?
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2013, 06:03:28 pm »
.A TV series?
 

:socool: :socool: :socool:
.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: What is Fringe Science?
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2013, 08:20:09 pm »
But, you might say, Jim is doing fringe science and he is using data and logical theoretical steps analysis of the data. Oh well. It doesn't actually matter because in future decades or a century or two, brain scientists will still not have found anything in the brain that integrates nerve impulse patterns to the extent needed to form subjective images, etc., and then they will rediscover my work.

I wish you the best in your endeavor(s), but in the future please document and cite your sources, including any peer reviews of your research --- to do anything less than that would be a failure in academic discipline.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: What is Fringe Science?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2013, 05:11:54 am »
In the philosophy of science, the question of where to properly draw a boundary between science and non-science, when the objective actually is objectivity, is called the demarcation problem. Compounding this issue is that proponents of some fringe theories use both proper scientific evidence and outlandish claims to support their arguments.

I think what also compounds the problem is that the results from scientific experiments are not always conclusive, and data can be interpreted in different ways.
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Offline Dharmakara

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Re: What is Fringe Science?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2013, 07:01:49 am »
True, but science is not stagnant, it's ever developing --- for example, the Higgs boson (aka, the God particle) was initially theorised in 1964 and now fast forward to 2013, where it not only appears to have been confirmed, but it's also the hinge-pin to other theories within particle physics.

This is what separates "center" from "fringe", so the two should never be confused with the other.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: What is Fringe Science?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2016, 01:24:43 pm »
From my experience fringe science is science developed without using The Scientific Method:

reference:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_scientific_method

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