Pseudoscience is presentation of practices, beliefs or attitudes in scientific methods without tangible proof that can be validated by scientific methods or test. In most cases, it is characterized by hyperboles, claims that are vague, lack of openness for evaluation and lack of a systematic process to rationally provide for other theories to be developed (Burtol & Burtol 25).
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Psychic is one example of the pseudoscience category. Psychic is a mental phenomena that describes forces or influences that are non-physical. It is described by a supernatural nature.
A psychic is a person believed to have the powers to reveal information that is hidden in the natural senses. They use these techniques through prestidigitation and cold reading. The term psychic can also be used to demonstrate the ability of the mind to impact the physical world through psychokinetic powers (Weschcke 19).
In order to tap into the human mind, psychics use tarot cards and ESP techniques. The process also uses the techniques such as telepathy and talking to the dead to derive information. Other names for such people include spiritualists, mediums or necromancers. It is claimed that they can read human mind and communicate information that is not yet known by individuals themselves. Examples of psychics are Dr. Franz Antoine and Fox sisters Margaret, Leah, and Kate (Abadie 11).
The field of psychic is categorized as pseudoscience because concepts stipulated are unverifiable. Believers and participants of psychic hold on to a number of fallacies. This is because foundation of reasoning is vast and thus can easily be violated. These pitfalls are presented through the violating principles of ethics, logic and emotions.
The first fallacy held by psychics is known as non sequitur. Here, assumptions and statements formulated cannot be linked directly to the premises of its demonstration. In psychic world, people it is believed that the mind derives its information from the supernatural world. In other cases, it is believed that psychics get information from the deceased people (Smith 55).
This information is highly exaggerated. This is because it has been proven scientifically that for bodies of dead individuals are incapable of functioning in any way. Furthermore, there are many sources of information known to man. Therefore, this means that just because information is true it does not mean that it was gotten from ‘out of this world’.
The second fallacy identified in this category is known as poisoning the well. This fallacy influences and interrupts the argumentative process of normal progression. Concept held by psychic corrupts arguments at the initial stages. In this case, psychics interfere with normal reasoning of individuals through presentation of information believed to be in the subconscious mind (Weschcke 22).
Psychics give their own opinion on the future depending on claims of what they see from the cards or hot readings of people’s minds. They bridle the chance of people to make decisions freely with a prior knowledge of the future, which might be falsifiable all the same. This ultimately ‘poisons the well’ with their own evaluation before letting participants make their own judgment and decisions on the future.
The third fallacy presented by psychics is misreading of evidence. This pitfall has played a major role in falsifying information. It occurs when one does not have a tangible evidence to support their claim. Again, misreading evidence occurs when the interpretation of data is presented in correctly (Khine 86).
Psychics are claimed to have the ability to get information through reading people’s mind or through talking to the dead, etc. The shortcoming of this data is that it is not followed by any form of evidence. Psychics lack the ability to demonstrate clearly how information is derived from the future. Similarly, they also lack evidence to show that a certain occurrence will happen in the future. This field is limited to the brain and only a few individuals can relate to this theory.
Furthermore, it is claimed that the other forms of getting information by psychics is through reading cards and palms of people. This presents the shortcoming comprised n the misreading of evidence. In the modern societies, people perceive psychics as trickery people. This is because give a data that cannot be tested empirically or through experiments. Additionally, interpretation of various aspects of nature is limited to individual psychic.
In the traditional society, psychic assumed important positions such as rainmakers, prophets etc. They used to give different interpretation for the various natural phenomenal, For instance, the stated that occurrence of lighting and thunders were as a result of angers from the ‘gods’. They also gave different interpretations for phenomena such as rain, drought etc. Today, these interpretations have been proven to be wrong and their correct interpretations can easily be justified.
The fourth facilitated by psychics is known as false dichotomy. A false dichotomy is one that offers two options to resolving a situation. In this case, psychics believe that in order for one to get information concerning the future one this information is readily available in human mind. They also believe that that the spiritual nature of the human mind can provide them with unlimited capabilities to happiness, productivity etc (Khine 88).
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There are many aspects of human life that require knowledge about the future. Most of these aspects have a number of sources where information can be derived from. Investors for instance can use value of stock in the money market to determine the value of their portfolio in the future. Similarly, other aspects such as weather, politics, sociology etc have scientific procedures that can forecast the behavior of the future.
The problem with false dichotomy is that it limits participants to two options i.e. in order to get information they either use the psychic methods or not. The hypothesis in this is already wrong since a number of sources have been used to forecast on future behavior of variables. This has been enhanced with the improvement of technology and infrastructure.
The fifth fallacy presented by psychics is known as ad antequitem fallacy. Psychics have demonstrated claims that although have endured for long, they are incorrect. Some of the claims stipulated by psychics are that the conscience mind has to be less active for accurate data to be derived from the sub conscious mind. They also claim that the act psychics have been existed for over a thousand years (Burtol & Burtol 25).
They have not presented any scientific report to support the claim. They have also used not presented a scientific proof to support most practices held in the field. Most of them have used similar strategies such as palmistry, tarot card reading etc. as a way of collecting information from participants. Most of the psychics fall prey of this fallacy because most of them believe that because a practices is ancient then it is valid.
There are many reasons why methods used in the past still relive in the modern community. One of the reasons is that the nature of humans is less active to change. Thus although practices change overtime, they are not completely changed. Moreover, practices in the traditional communities have formed a foundation for practices in the society today. This does not justify that the strategies are true (White & Billings, 81).
The sixth fallacy of reasoning imbued by psychics is known as unsupported generalization. In the context of reasoning, generalization is used by critical thinkers as a fundamental data from evidence. An unsupported data occurs when the subject matter presented by psychics is lacks evidence such as tallies, percentages, trends etc. Similarly, generalization is described as unsupported when it has hidden motive. Psychics hold various explanations for the spiritual phenomenal (Smith 57).
While some of the explanations may be true, other explanations give a falsifiable motive. This is a form of unsupported generalization that is known as motive fallacy. Furthermore, psychics explain natural phenomena using trends that cannot be supported by historical trends or tallies in the past (Bauer, 12).
The other form of generalization used by psychics that defies reasoning is known as hasty generalization. Psychics reach a premature conclusion. This is done through providing claims to participants without fully providing them with evidence. This fallacy is imbued through the process of drawing conclusion based on empirical procedures and no scientific proofs.
The seventh fallacy of reasoning practiced by psychics defied by science is known as slippery slope. Psychics exaggerated claims give the participants an induction of ‘run rampart’. They try to forecast behaviors and trends that will occur in the future. They state practices that will occur in the future if a specified step is taken (Rathus 33).
Psychics claim that by reading people’s palms, tarot cards or talking to the dead, they are able to predict events of the future. In most circumstances, they try to give people these predictions with the hope that corrective measures will be taken incase of a predicament. Again, the aim to ensure that a desirable future is attained through prescribing trends that should be utilized. This is a crime of slippery slope fallacy because they try to assert outcome of practices by specify others.
The eighth fallacy in psychic that defies reasoning is known as slighting the oppositions. Here, psychics are believed to have the ability to see the future. A number of people who have declared themselves to be psychics have fallen prey of slighting oppositions. In the modern societies they have used such claims as basis of their business operations. In this case, they have consciously left some truth about their business dealings as well as techniques of how the get their information to protect themselves (Weschcke & Slate 18).
Moreover, they have used distorted information to favor their abilities and draw people to their specialization and away from scientific process of thinking. This act of distorting the truth or partly revealing information to favor them is known as slighting opposition. In most cases it is done to favor oneself positively. This presents a pitfall to participants who have the right to information wholly to make sound judgments.
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Rathus, Spencer. “Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudoscience.” Psychology Concepts & Connections. Thomson Wadsworth, 2008. Print
Smith, Jonathan. “Science and Chance.” Pseudoscience and Extraordinary Claims of the Paranormal. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers, 2011. Print
Weschcke, Carl & Slate, Joe. “Yours is The Power and Yours is the Glory.” The Llewellyn Complete Book of Psychic Empowerment. Llewellyn Publication, 2011. Print
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