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Whence pseudoscience? An epidemiological approach

Stefaan Blancke (UGent) , Maarten Boudry (UGent) and Johan Braeckman (UGent)
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Abstract
In this paper we develop an epidemiological approach to account for the typical features and persistent popularity of pseudoscience. An epidemiology of pseudoscience aims at explaining why some beliefs become widely distributed whereas others do not and hence seeks to identify the factors that exert a causal effect on this distribution. We pinpoint and discuss several factors that promote the dissemination of pseudoscientific beliefs. In particular, we argue that such beliefs manage to spread widely because they are intuitively appealing, manage to hitchhike on the authority of science, and successfully immunize themselves from criticism.
Keywords
Pseudoscience, epidemiology of representations, human cognition, epistemic vigilance, science mimicry

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Blancke, Stefaan, Maarten Boudry, and Johan Braeckman. 2018. “Whence Pseudoscience? An Epidemiological Approach.” Metode Science Studies Journal (8).
APA
Blancke, S., Boudry, M., & Braeckman, J. (2018). Whence pseudoscience? An epidemiological approach. METODE SCIENCE STUDIES JOURNAL, (8).
Vancouver
1.
Blancke S, Boudry M, Braeckman J. Whence pseudoscience? An epidemiological approach. METODE SCIENCE STUDIES JOURNAL. Universitat de Valencia; 2018;(8).
MLA
Blancke, Stefaan, Maarten Boudry, and Johan Braeckman. “Whence Pseudoscience? An Epidemiological Approach.” METODE SCIENCE STUDIES JOURNAL 8 (2018): n. pag. Print.
@article{8542847,
  abstract     = {In this paper we develop an epidemiological approach to account for the typical features and persistent popularity of pseudoscience. An epidemiology of pseudoscience aims at explaining why some beliefs become widely distributed whereas others do not and hence seeks to identify the factors that exert a causal effect on this distribution. We pinpoint and discuss several factors that promote the dissemination of pseudoscientific beliefs. In particular, we argue that such beliefs manage to spread widely because they are intuitively appealing, manage to hitchhike on the authority of science, and successfully immunize themselves from criticism.},
  author       = {Blancke, Stefaan and Boudry, Maarten and Braeckman, Johan},
  issn         = {2174-3487},
  journal      = {METODE SCIENCE STUDIES JOURNAL},
  keyword      = {Pseudoscience,epidemiology of representations,human cognition,epistemic vigilance,science mimicry},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  publisher    = {Universitat de Valencia},
  title        = {Whence pseudoscience? An epidemiological approach},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.7203/metode.8.10007},
  year         = {2018},
}

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