What is Alternative Science?

11 Answers

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  • Jon
    Lv 7
    3 months ago
    Best Answer

    It is not a very useful description for a YA category.

    I'd say it comprises a number of elements which do not sit well together. One is speculative science: the application of scientific method and/or knowledge to explore topics regarded as trivial or unproductive by most scientists. This can occasionally lead to useful discoveries (but most often does not). An example is trying to come up with ingenious scientific reasons why there might be a real Loch Ness monster.

    Another is pseudoscience: the either deliberate or deluded creation of unsound theories which can appear valid to someone with little knowledge of the topic. This is often done purely for profit (e.g. alternative medicine scams) or sometimes for psychological reasons (e.g. a desire for authority figures such as teachers to be wrong).

    Then comes beliefs which have more in common with religion than science, but whose supporters do not want to call themselves a religion. I'd argue that a lot of 'paranormalism' has gone in this direction, becoming a belief system resting more upon faith than upon data of any sort. One of it's key features is it's eclecticism: supporters often enthuse about multiple topics which have nothing in common apart from being disdained by conventional science (e.g. believing in aliens, cryptids, ghosts and angels) rather than following any consistent lines of enquiry (which tends to support psychological explanations: being attracted by any faint chance of finding academic authority at fault). Some support these ideas for the same reasons that more overt religions attract supporters and some for psychological motives (again, a longing for ideas they can't understand, authority figures or people who have done better than them to be wrong). A few are frauds who don't actually believe this stuff at all but are in it for the money (selling books, courses, etc) or just because they like the power or attention that they get from being cult figures.

    For understanding "alternative science" I recommend a study of the character of the fictional fraudster Leopold Strabismus in J Michener's novel 'Space'. As Wilford, writing in the New York Times, put it

    "the most fascinating person in the book is the self-styled Dr. Leopold Strabismus, an out-and-out charlatan who runs a mail order diploma mill for college degrees and panders to the multitudes who fear science and reason. In Dr. Strabismus Michener has created the personification of the reactionary forces he finds gaining ground and threatening the spirit of intellectual curiosity that has made space exploration possible"

    • Thomas E
      Lv 6
      1 month agoReport

      Excellent answer nicely dodging the fact that Twilight Zone stuff happens and Science doesn't want to admit it. Ghosts and spirits are real, but very hard to prove. Once it happens, there's no doubt, but no proof.

  • 2 months ago

    It is a category on Yahoo Answers that encompasses paranormal content.

  • 3 months ago

    It's a way of keeping your job when you know it happens, you can see it happens, everyone else agrees it happens but science can't answer why it happens. In Monopoly, it is called a get out of jail free card

  • Gary K
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    Science is science, there is no alternative. It's like "alternative" medicine; medicine that works is just called medicine. There is no alternative medicine, just alternatives TO medicine.

    Yahoo may have put "alternative" under the Science category to allow scientific discussion of subjects that fall outside of mainstream science, which is perfectly fine.

    • Gary K
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      No argument, just name calling = fail.

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  • 3 months ago

    It is anything that is BS and baloney. Stuff that is not science and doesn't use scientific method.

  • Hunter
    Lv 6
    3 months ago

    Alternative science is any study or science that mainstream science thinks is rubbish. In the past, that included meteors, washing your hands in hospitals to prevent infections, continental drift (plate tectonics), DeForest and his vacuum tube, and-- oh, hey-- the airplane.

    Now it's parapsychology, cold fusion, perpetual motion, and other things on the fringe. Scientists are a pathetic bunch...

  • It's when your chakras are feeling quantum and you raise the frequency vibrations of your psi by grounding yourself to the positive crystal energies of spiritual entanglement.

  • John
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    Alternative science = not science, yet treated as such by people who don't know the difference.

  • 3 months ago

    Nothing. Yahoo is just too polite to call it "pseudoscience." Something that pretends to be scientific but has no evidence whatsoever to support it.

  • Lisa A
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    It isn't science. It is woo.

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