How social networks help spread pseudoscience

Let's be honest - in the spirit of 2019 is not enoughwhat is different from the 1990s of the last century. This is not about politics and economics, although everything, of course, is interconnected. Today, as 30 years ago, the era of pseudoscience reigns in Russia. And if citizens of the late USSR massively charged cans of water during Kashpirovsky’s television sessions, today countless witches, magicians and healers simply do not leave television screens. However, even despite the dominance of obscurantists on TV, television is not the main way to disseminate pseudoscientific knowledge. Scientists have found that to some extent, due to the spread of pseudoscientific knowledge on the Internet, everyone is in danger, and not only in Russia.


  • 1 What is pseudoscience?
  • 2 Scientists Against Pseudoscience
  • 3 What is the danger of pseudoscience?
  • 4 How to deal with pseudoscience?

What is pseudoscience?

We recently wrote about popular conspiracy theories. In their essence, theories of conspiracy and pseudoscience are very close. They are based on numerous cognitive biases - logical errors inherent in our thinking.

Pseudoscience or pseudoscience are ideas and concepts,which are positioned as scientific, but are not. For example, astrology. Adherents of astrology like to prove to everyone and everyone that astrology is a real science. But this, of course, is not true.

The real science of the universe is astronomy. She studies the motion, structure, and arrangement of celestial bodies and stellar systems. No astronomer would ever think that the gas giant, such as Jupiter or Saturn, in some incredible way affects human life. The very thought of this is absurd. And yet, pseudoscience, and in particular astrology, is incredibly popular all over the world. Therefore, we sometimes write about the exposure of such “scientists” on our channel in Yandex.Zen

Proof of the work of astronomers: Astronomers received a mysterious radio signal from a distant galaxy

Scientists Against Pseudoscience

Try searching for a video on the topic “changeClimate "on YouTube. In less than a couple of minutes you will come across a mass of videos in which they deny global warming. According to a recent study, when it comes to climate change on the Internet, advocates of conspiracy theories and those who don't believe in global warming may have an edge over advocates of scientific knowledge.

Scientists have found evidence that most YouTube videos on climate change contradict scientific evidence that climate change is caused by human activities.

Social networks play a key role inthe spread of pseudoscience. Just think about how disinformation affects our behavior. The authors of the study argue that both scientists and those who share a scientific view of the world should be active and try to be more convincing in conveying their point of view to others.

And this, as you know, is not easy at all. Indeed, pseudoscience, along with conspiracy theories, is very attractive, since it can help people comprehend events or problems that, in their opinion, they do not control.

Why is pseudoscience dangerous?

The situation is that if specifically you willhaving heard about the “essence in the form of a gnome” who supposedly lives with a certain grandmother in an apartment, some will accept statements about the existence of paranormal forces at face value. The spread of pseudoscientific knowledge at some point led to the emergence of a large number of people who paid with their lives or, at best, their health for adhering to pseudo-scientific beliefs.

Treatment of severe illnesses with “laying on hands”telepathy, refusal of vaccinations, HIV dissident, taking homeopathic remedies instead of real medicines - the list goes on for a very long time. No matter how harmless and ridiculous pseudoscience may seem to us, in fact it is dangerous. A person who believes in horoscopes and visits astrologers is very likely to turn to a magician or “healer” in search of answers or healing. You can discuss the passion for pseudoscience in our Telegram chat.

How to deal with pseudoscience?

Further development of digital technology mayhelp misinformation take on the most unusual forms. Using keywords to find the necessary information, manipulating search engines on the Internet is a drop in the bucket. Remember DeepFakes - realistic videos using celebrity faces and voices? Such technologies are likely to make disinformation detection even more difficult.

“This is not Tom Cruise” - YouTube video cover using Deefake technology

But how then to deal with the spreadpseudoscientific knowledge? The problem is compounded by the fact that simply providing scientific information can increase people's awareness of pseudo-scientific theories. And this is not to mention personal beliefs and adherence to different ideologies.

Scientists believe that in addition to popularizingcritical thinking - a way of thinking in which a person questions his own beliefs, it is necessary to teach children to distinguish between genuine and fake information at school. The authors of the study urge other scientists and all those who are somehow connected with scientific activity to join in the fight against obscurantism.

Creating your own scientific content insocial networks can significantly affect the beliefs and even the behavior of other people. Otherwise, the voices of sane people and scientists will continue to be drowned out by pseudo-scientific theories created by people who do not have any convincing evidence.

How do you feel about pseudoscience?