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Crapology (n.)

In Science and Nature on 13 March 2009 at 11:57pm

Any body of conjecture, surmise or hearsay that is dressed up in the garb of scientific knowledge in the hope of passing it off as fact.

It is notoriously easy to mistake crapology for genuine science due to its use of common scientific language and idioms. The crucial difference being that in the former case there is no clear way to falsify the relevant claims, or sources of evidence upon which they are based. Other characteristic techniques employed by crapologists include:

  • Quantification: “There are seventeen different ways to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
  • Enumeration: “The branches of the tree are eight: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego.”
  • Scientific jargon: “Vibrational essences contain the energy of the flower, gem, place, animal, etc. from which they are made.”
  • Appeal to authority: “Everyone who has ever looked into this has concluded that it is definitely true.”

The same is of course true of science itself, much of which may turn to be crapology after all. Indeed, the identification of entire areas of scientific research as crapology forms the basis for the well documented phenomenon of scientific revolution.

Other notable branches of crapology include astrology, Freudian psychoanalysis, Marxism, natural religion, scientology, parapsychology, economics and quantum physics, which is just too crazy to be true, no matter how many experiments happen to confirm it.

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