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Michael Gordin’s “The Pseudoscience Wars”

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Michael D. Gordin.  The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe.  Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

“Like other scientists with an interest in UFOs, [J. Allen] Hynek was denied a voice in most of his profession’s publications yet ridiculed for presenting his work outside of them.”
–Brenda Denzler, The Lure of the Edge

It’s the kind of catch-22 that will drive any UFOlogist around the bend.  We struggle to be scientific; we’re sneered at as practitioners of a “pseudoscience,” in part because we don’t publish our work in the scientific journals that would automatically reject us if we tried.  Of course we’d never use a term like “pseudoscientist” of ourselves.  No one ever does.

This is the point that’s made, in typically sprightly style, at the beginning of Michael D. Gordin’s marvelous book on Immanuel Velikovsky and the reception (or non-reception) of his ideas.  “No one in the history of the world has ever self-identified as a pseudoscientist.  There is no person who wakes up in the morning and thinks to himself, ‘I’ll just head into my pseudolaboratory and perform some pseudoexperiments to try to confirm my pseudotheories with pseudofacts.'”



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Except that's what they practice. And they won't get into the scientific journals because their work doesn't meet the requirements. 

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