Fringe science

This page will collect subpages that relate to science regarded as “fringe.” Fringe does not mean “wrong.” “Fringe science” is not “pseudoscience,” though any specific belief associated with fringe science may be pseudoscientific. Fringe is the frontier of science, the edge, and the problem of distinguishing between science and non-science is called the “demarcation problem” and much has been written on it, particularly by sociologists of science. These terms are used, however, popularly, often, not “scientifically.”

I wrote a blog post titled Parapsychologist, about a year ago. Parapsychology is a poster boy for the fringe, and some writers use “parapsychology” as a dog-whistle for pseudoskepticism. After all, doesn’t everybody know that it’s bosh? Genuine skeptics will either be ignorant and admit it, or will know the evidence for and against the existence of “psychic anomalies,” i.e., phenomena involving the psyche or mind that are not understood. Pseudoskeptics confuse the study of the unknown with “belief” in it.

Today, Simon Derricut, who often comments with high cogency here, wrote a little about his current interest, study of possible violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The term “Law” is unfortunate, if it refers to some unbreakable natural principle. The “2lot” is statistical in nature, it is “broken” constantly, but on a small scale. Some of these violations can become observable. Simon is attempting to create a possibly useful application. Color me skeptical, but my stand is that investigation of this will be educational, if one avoids the Scylla and Charybdis of belief and disbelief. He wrote a comment on Comment, and I will study this comment in Fringe science/Simon Derricut.