Browse Definitions :
Definition

pseudoscience

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Pseudoscience is a proposition, a finding or a system of explanation that is presented as science but that lacks the rigor essential to the scientific method. Pseudoscience can also be the result of research that is based on faulty premises, a flawed experimental design or bad data.

The term pseudoscience can refer to a single claim or statement that is purported to be backed by science or data but doesn't stand up under scientific scrutiny. A pseudoscience may also be a complex system, such as astrology, which purports to explain events in the world as brought about and affected by astronomic phenomena. Like astrology, many pseudosciences are relatively harmless. Others, however, may be used to provide "scientific" support for unethical behavior. Physiognomy, for example, is a false science dating back to at least 500 BC that mistakenly correlates physical characteristics with personal traits. Even in modern times, adherents of physiognomy apply its theories to justify and promote inequality and racial profiling.

Pseudoscience may be offered in good faith, simply as a result of misinformation or poor analysis of data. However, scientific methods can also be intentionally applied in a flawed manner to create unwarranted confidence in conclusions that would not be supported by a more rigorous approach. In this case, pseudoscience is sometimes used to promulgate disinformation.

Within IT, data science is particularly vulnerable to flawed assumptions, methods and interpretation. It's sometimes assumed that big data analytics, for example, always yields valid information simply by virtue of the volume of data accessed, and that algorithms are similarly reliable. In both cases, however, the validity of the outcome can only be ensured by the quality of the input and the methods applied to it.

See also: data-driven disaster, falsifiability

This was last updated in January 2018

Continue Reading About pseudoscience

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

  • cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR)

    Cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) is a combination of strategies and services intended to back up data, applications and other ...

SearchStorage

  • RAM (Random Access Memory)

    RAM (Random Access Memory) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

  • business impact analysis (BIA)

    Business impact analysis (BIA) is a systematic process to determine and evaluate the potential effects of an interruption to ...

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive that is used in internally mounted storage expansion cards of a small form factor.

Close