Friday, July 15, 2011

Voodoo Science

Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud’ by Robert L. Park in an interesting glimpse into the driving line between science and pseudoscience. Topics covered include alien encounters, superstitions, and the ‘placebo effect’. The book is useful in the sense that it is written to appeal to those who may not understand all the scientific terms behind the ‘research’. Junk science, pathological science, fraudulent science and pseudoscience all fall under the category of ‘voodoo science’ as described by Park. He believes many people throughout the world believe in these so called ‘voodoo sciences’, such as cold fusion, because they simply do not understand the complexity of the theories presented. Park emphasizes that many of these supposed ‘scientific facts’ are not following the scientific method, nor is there sufficient evidence to support claims. Generally, people are willing to believe in anything that seems to be supported by science. Therefore, these experiments seem legitimate, when in all actuality they are not.

The topics presented in Park’s book are usually myths that have been around for many years. Park offers his own view on each topic, with researched and proven science to back his claims. Often these myths are debunked as either a misunderstanding of science or an ill-performed experiment that lacks sufficient evidence to support it’s claims. ‘Newman's Energy Machine’, for example was a machine created by Joe Newman who claimed it produced more energy than it used. The general public was informed that one day this device will be able to provide an unlimited supply of clean energy. What they weren’t told was that the machine failed when tested by the National Bureau of Standards, failed to obtain a patent, and the ‘one standard battery’ was actually accompanied by 1,809 more.

The topic covered in this book that I found most interesting what the chapter regarding science being protected by government secrecy. I found this chapter interesting because Park offers his own experience while driving down a desert highway. He depicts seeing a blueish-green light flash across the sky in an instant as well as a floating orb of light flying beside his car. However, whereas any member of society might claim aliens at the sight of such an event, Park explains, through verified science, that the flash of blue-green light that was seen was merely an ice meteorite and the orb was simply the reflection of his headlights on nearby power lines. He continues with the chapter explaining that many of those who report such sightings are not properly educated with the science behind these situations.

All in all, I found this book to be very interesting. It was very informative and debunked many myths I believe we have all been subjected to. It’s simplistic approach makes an easy read for interested people of all ages. The video i've attached is part 1 of 5 in which Joe Newman displays his 'free energy' machine.

No comments:

Post a Comment