Astrology, telekenesis, ESP, telepathy, clairvoyance, telling the gender of an un-born baby by the spin of a pendulum and of course dowsing. What do they all have in common?
Answer – they are all examples of pseudoscience.
The Iraqi government has spent over $85 million on an electronic dowsing machine. Given that dowsing is one of those phenomena situated comfortably in the middle of the pseudoscience spectrum it is difficult to know why people seem so surprised that it doesn’t work. I suppose having a name like “ADE651” does make it more impressive. Still . . .
Pseudoscience is one of the topics we look at in our Transition Year module entitled Ten Great Ideas. Links to other resources are here.
For a wonderful introduction to pseudoscience see Michael Shermer’s presentation at TED entitled ‘Why people believe weird things’.