sophia_sadek (sophia_sadek) wrote,
sophia_sadek
sophia_sadek

A New Kind of Pseudo-science?

Different people use words differently, especially when multiple disciplines use the same word in ways that are unique to the discipline. Pseudo-science is one such word. People in the "hard" sciences use it to refer to "soft" sciences. People in the "soft" sciences use it to refer to the mytho-poetic use of scientific jargon. The way I use it is to refer to something that professes scientific rigor, but falls short of disciplined inquiry.

I recently ran into a manifestation of this phenomenon in the works of Michio Kaku, a self-professed man of science. In his book, The Future of the Mind, Kaku provides his audience with an overview of the CIA's MKULTRA program of mind control research. He mentions the planned use of the microwave auditory effect to craft a maching that would project a human voice in the head of its target victim. He quickly dismisses this idea by claiming that the microwave auditory effect "most likely violated the laws of physics, since the human brain cannot receive microwave radiation." (p. 185)

What Kaku does not mention is that a significant amount of research effort was expended on investigating the microwave auditory effect outside of the MKULTRA program. It is a real life phenomenon that promises to bear fruits far more productive than mind control machines. Kaku does himself and his audience a great disservice by so glibly dismissing something so useful. He also does a disservice to the civilian researchers who spent long hours investigating the phenomenon with both human and non-human animal test subjects. He does a disservice to the laws of physics by implying that he knows them fully.

When someone claims to be a scientist yet foresakes scientific rigor for pedantic posturing, one can only conclude he or she is a fake scientist. In such a case, the label pseudo-science is quite apropos. I will not even go into Kaku's poor performance when it comes to aerodynamic contrail recognition. That is a topic worthy of conspiracy theory.
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