Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Humanist Society
What is Pseudoscience?

After a review of events the host of a serious television analysis program gave the floor to an astrologer who, putting a meaningful expression on his face, informed us of his horoscope for the next few days. Serious newspapers publish horoscopes, not to mention the yellow press. A. Chumak is old hat but no radical changes have been evident in the mass media and pseudoscience is not disappearing. Of course, the production of television, radio, and newspapers is targeted at a mass audience but, alas, in publications which claim to be scientific one can encounter publications which provoke bewilderment, and perhaps even indignation.

Several examples of pseudoscience

By decision of the scientific methods council of Samarkand University in 2001 a small-circulation brochure by Doctor of Chemical Sciences Professor Yu. V. Kurbatov was published [entitled] "Fundamental Theories and Laws: I. Bases, Acids, and Amphoteric Compounds; II. Universes, and III. Associated Problems" [1]. Subheading: "Author's Monograph Textbook" (the style and orthography have understandably been preserved). It says in an annotation that "In the book [the following] have been examined at a modern heuristic level of systematic logical analysis and synthesis: the methodology (ternary law and the genetic elemental level principle of the differentiation and integration of objects)….associated problems…of the structures of the semi-neutrino, neutrino, electron, positron, strong influence…." etc. in the same spirit. The annotation ends with the paragraph: "A similar theory has also been examined: the system, particular and general laws of the Cosmos and associated natural science (philosophical) problems of the concepts of Space, Absolute Vacuum, and Time".

There you are. In 27 pages both about acids with bases and about the principles of the cosmos. The third and last part of the brochure is called no more or less than "Fundamental Theory and Laws of the Formation, Structure, Functioning, and Existence of the Universe". This part ends with four laws of the cosmos; one of them, "structural", goes like this: "The Cosmos is a dynamic rotating centered structure of a complex figure consisting of a parallel pair of gyroscopes of a left subsystem", etc. Earthly ideas about the chemistry of acids and bases are described with approximately the same "originality".

V. A. Alekseyevsky, another professor of the same Samarkand University, came out with a book in 2002 [2]. It was approved by the editorial board of the university as a popular science publication. One can get an idea of the nature of the book from the titles of the chapters: I. The relationships of microparticles. II. The interrelationship between the planets and [their] influence on one another. III. Communications between Man and the world around him. IV. The formation of the fate of Man. V. Prospects for an improvement in fate. Astrology and theology are densely entangled in the book and many references are made to Ye. P. Blavatsky.

But why read the works of professors from Central Asia [where] they have a different country if miracles are no rarity in Moscow and its environs. Take just the boom around the pyramids near Moscow; even a corresponding member of the RAN, the director of a specialized institute, is a convinced supporter of the "miracles" associated with them.

Hundreds of enthusiastic pensioners use their newly-acquired free time for speculative searches, often in those fields of science with which they had no great relationship during their active life. Many of them think that they have made great, even historic, discoveries and write about them to the Academy of Sciences, newspapers, and government agencies, but much less often to the editors of scientific journals. [Here's] just one example. At the instruction of the management of the Academy of Sciences the author of this article corresponded for about two years with a former engineer and shipbuilder. He thought that that he had greatly advanced Mendeleyev's Periodic Table. Here's how he wrote to the President of the Russian Federation: "A sensational appeal. To President of Russia V. V. Putin. Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! Aleksandr Stepanovich Petrov (Ukraine, Nikolayevskaya Oblast', the city of Nikolayev) is addressing you. On the threshold of the third millennium I tried to publicize my discovery in the field of quantum physics and chemistry to the scientists of the world. I have completely discovered the Periodic System of Elements of D. I. Mendeleyev. I have found the final element of the system which was hypothesized by the scientist of genius. The complete Periodic System of Chemical Elements is the key to understanding the Cosmos, it is a matrix of the Unified Information Field. The complete system reveals the foundation of the science of cosmology and its highest development of neutrino astrophysics. Neutrino astrophysics ties all the sciences together, leading them to the Unified Law of the Cosmos. With the discovery of the new elements one can create new materials, new controllable technological processes, new forms of energy, and a new fuel. The possibility of the rapid development and broad use of such a science as genetic engineering has appeared".

That's all at one stroke. This is how it is in the advertisements of some treatments or units of medical equipment: all illnesses can be cured.

Much has been written in publications of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and not only in them, about the need to combat pseudoscience. Such a struggle was conducted before: for example, Corresponding Member M. V. Vol'kenshteyn paid much attention to this. At the present time Academicians Eh. P. Kruglyakov (Chairman of the Academy's Commission to Combat Pseudoscience), V. L. Ginzburg, Ye. B. Aleksandrov, Professor K. P. Ivanov, and others actively oppose pseudoscience. Their appeals not to ignore cases of manifestations of pseudoscience undoubtedly need to be heard. These colleagues need to be respected for the fact that they have devoted much time and effort to such a struggle.

But just what is to be fought?

However, as one becomes familiar with the "subject of pseudoscience" the picture becomes somewhat unclear. The thought starts to become worrisome: do we clearly understand what we need to fight? What IS pseudoscience and where does science end and pseudoscience begin? A scientific, if one can call it that, approach to pseudoscience demands a definition of the concepts and classifications. Almost all of the above colleagues have made attempts to give answers to such questions: they have described their understanding of the subject. (True, in Eh. P. Kruglyakov's book [3] the critical zeal did not leave much room for tedious systematic organization; this is possible, and in vain, inasmuch as even the name of the book (Swindlers Posing as Scientists) suggests a certain unambiguity…

Academician Eh. P. Kruglyakov writes in his book: "Pseudoscience is in some sense superficiality, an attempt to "force through" a claim in contradiction with the existing set of facts, views, and ideas on the basis of an ambiguous, often solitary experiment which has not been confirmed by other researchers. Outright falsification also occurs".

A good definition.

Outright falsification is understood and, of course, obvious. Actually, if one attempts to classify the "types of pseudoscience" then it would be easiest put them along with banal swindles, conscious fraud, and charlatanism. Many examples were cited in the article by V. S. Loginov and S. I. Doroshenko [4] which was simply called "Fraud in Science" or in P. Katinin's article [5]. Such cases need to be identified and vigorously exposed; moreover, such "swindlers posing as scientists" (hence these words are just right!) need to be punished somehow. Swindlers need to be treated like swindlers.

But, all the same, this is actually a relatively simply case.

Superficiality and an attempt to force through a claim on the basis of an ambiguous, often solitary experiment - one can also agree with this. Although sometimes it happens that it is hard to classify a specific case as pseudoscience but rather, let's say, not as frivolous, not very serious science. However, good science does not tolerate frivolity and we ought to agree with the aspect being examined. But let's unfairly tear the "claim in contradiction with the existing set of facts, view, and ideas" out of context. It is easy to build a bridge to the definitions of pseudoscience which Academician V. L. Ginzburg gives.

In his interesting polemical articles Vitaliy Lazarevich writes that claims or constructs in contradiction with existing set of facts, views, and ideas are "pseudoscientific" [6]. He also thinks that what is new in science usually does not overturn the old but adds to it and raises it to a new level (the Theory of Relativity does not repeal Newton's mechanics). "Of course", V. L. Ginzburg writes further, "one can permit the subject of what is to be considered 'firmly established' into the discussion ".

One can. In addition, this seems necessary. And further, this is basically what this is about.

Here begins the hardest part. One recalls right away individual historical facts which, it seems, do not fall into the definition formulated in the article [6]. But a more detailed examination allows a multitude of such examples to be collected. Yes, and not just collected once, for example A. K. Sukhotin [9] or O. Yu. Okhlobystin [10]. We will cite several cases, including the active use of the latter two books.

"In contradiction to firmly established concepts and facts"

For 1500 years in science (in modern times, in anatomy, physiology, and medicine) the blood circulation system described by K. Galen was considered firmly established. In accordance with this teaching venous and arterial blood were different liquids with different purposes. According to Galen, venous blood feeds body organs and arterial [blood] carries heat throughout the body. But in the 17th century W. Harvey advanced another concept of blood circulation and showed that blood is one and the same liquid and explained the role of the heart and lungs. In accordance with the definition of pseudoscience which we cited earlier Harvey was a pseudoscientist [because] his theory and his evidence contradicted [what was] reliably established and generally accepted. It is not surprising that Harvey encountered a hostile reception and his colleagues in medicine first of all even wrote to the King complaining about him. Harvey's home was pillaged and burned. Now Harvey's diagram is considered to be reliably established.

The geocentric system of Ptolemy was also a firmly established truth, for even a century after the publication of N. Copernicus' book "The Rotation of the Heavenly Spheres" (which, by the way, no one wanted to print) instruction was conducted according to Ptolemy. Of course, Copernicus was not accepted, and not only by the Church. The ideas of the scientist were perceived as false by the philosopher F. Bacon, the astronomer T. Brahe, and even Galileo wrote then about his first impression of Copernicus' idea: "I was convinced that the new system was the purest stupidity".

Before J. Kepler the movement of the planets in circular orbits was a firmly established scientific fact. Does it mean that the assertion of the German scientist about elliptical orbits ought to have been considered pseudoscientific? Darwin's doctrine also crushed firmly established ideas and among those who did not accept it were the eminent scientists G. Cuvier, R. Virchow, C. Bernard, L. Pasteur, and others. Euclid's postulate that through a point located outside a straight line only one line parallel to the first can be drawn was a firm, reliably established fact recognized for almost 2,000 years. N. Lobachevsky's idea would also be pseudoscience if the above understanding of pseudoscience were adopted.

Philosophers and science theorists [naukovedy] think that a really creative mind is almost always a negative one. Rejecting the claim generally accepted in science and in narrow-minded thought that, of two given moments of time, one precedes the other, Einstein arrived at the Theory of Relativity [9]. A great many fundamentally new things do not agree with ideas firmly established in science and often even "firmly established" facts.

More examples can be cited. In 1923 one Canadian economist asked E. Rutherford what he thought about the Theory of Relativity. "But it's nonsense", he replied. "We don't need it for our work". C. Huygens and G. Leibniz did not accept I. Newton's Theory of Gravity. The famous chemist H. Davy opposed D. [SIC, actually J.] Dalton's Law of Multiple Proportions and the publication of Dalton's work was delayed as a result. W. Thomson (Lord Kelvin) and D. I. Mendeleyev really did not acknowledge radioactivity. French physicist P. Duhem, German naturalists H. Helmholtz and H. Hertz, and Thomson gave D. [SIC, actually J.] Maxwell's Electromagnetic Theory a hostile reception. Galileo ignored the laws of planetary motion identified by J. Kepler. Even N. Bohr and M. Planck regarded Einstein's idea (1905) about light quanta (which Lewis later called photons) cautiously. In 1912 Planck presented Einstein to the Prussian Academy, noting his services to the creation of the Theory of Relativity. At the same time Planck asked the Prussian academicians not to hold Einstein accountable for the hypothesis of light quanta which he had created.

Almost all chemists of the 18th century accepted the phlogiston theory; even Lavoisier did during the initial period of his chemical work. The great chemists J. Priestley, K. Scheele, and even M. V. Lomonosov, essentially were also believers in the phlogiston theory. Experiments and opinions contradicting the generally-accepted ("firmly established") phlogiston theory were viewed as pseudoscientific. And actually, few took him seriously when in 1777 Lavoisier told the Academy of Sciences of his new views [10].

In front of the entrance of the Department of Chemistry at MGU are two enormous sculptures: on the right Mendeleyev, and on the left Butlerov. In 1861 Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Butlerov formulated the theory of chemical structure which is now recognized. But how was it greeted? Noted chemists G. [SIC, actually A.] Kolbe, M. Berthelot, N. A. Menshutkin and…D. I. Mendeleyev did not accept it. The theory of electrolytic dissociation of Arrhenius, the principles of stoichiometry of vant Hoff, the agrochemistry of Liebig, Pasteur's theory of fermentation, and Avogadro's hypothesis were not accepted by many or even all [their] contemporaries. The famous German chemist G. Kolbe wrote about the stoichiometric ideas of vant Hoff: "Natural philosophy…has again been discharged by pseudo naturalists from a cell designed to store the waste of the human mind". And this is what Professor von Mohl of Tubingen University wrote about Liebig's book, "Organic Chemistry Applied to Agriculture and Physiology", where the idea about the need to use mineral fertilizers was expressed for the first time: "The most shameless book that ever fell into my hands".

B. P. Belousov's work about oscillating chemical reactions contradicted firmly established facts and generally accepted ideas about chemical reactions. Therefore he did not want to publish a corresponding article in a single journal. It was still good that the author managed to publish an abstract of the article in an outside journal. Now the existence of oscillating reactions is generally accepted.

In the book above [9] A. K. Sukhotin writes that the paradox of a revolutionary idea is also manifested the fact that it is actually always analogous, that is, according to the rules of logic it cannot be deduced from the principles, assumptions, and laws accepted by modern science. And further, "if you follow only those laws which are reinforced only by today's practice, you won't manage to make any important discoveries. A breakthrough to new conditions of science is therefore not achieved through rational explanations and proofs. On the contrary. New things can only be gained thanks to "dangerous" turns of thought which break with common sense. In relying on such "irrational leaps" a scientist ends up in the position of breaking the rigid expressions of thought which deduction and logical impose on him".

Okhlobystin [10] echoes Sukhotin. He cites Louis de Broglie:

"Induction based on imagination and intuition allows one to make great leaps of thought; it is the basis of all genuine scientific achievements". And here is what the chemist J. Berzelius wrote about this: "Human thought is incapable of denying the ability to deduce the existence of facts from indirect circumstances which cannot be directly proven at a given moment. Undoubtedly we run to extremes if because of the fact that we can misuse this ability we do not want to use it in chemistry, which needs it more than do many other sciences".

Okhlobystin

draws the conclusion that chemistry does not and never did have eternal and unalterable truths, laws, and ideas. But can it be that only chemistry is so unreliable? Is everything not the same in, let's say, physics? But this is what A. Einstein said on his 70th birthday: "There is not a single concept of which I am certain that it will stand the test of time".

All the facts cited about the relative nature of our knowledge and the rejection of the fundamentally new related strictly to science. But there is also an abundance of similar examples in the field of inventions. Sometimes T. Edison was tormented and ridiculed as a fraud and obstructed the introduction of his innovations. But Edison himself commented this way to the creation of synthetic rubber by S. V. Lebedev: "The news that the Soviet Union has managed to acquire synthetic rubber is not credible. There is not way this can be done. I will say further that the entire report is a lie". The Paris Academy rejected E. Jenner's smallpox vaccine and declared R. Fulton's steamboat a utopian idea. (Returning to science: the same Academy declared F. Messmer, who made the first experiments in hypnosis, a charlatan, but at the end of the 18th century the Academy decreed that reports of "rocks falling from the sky", that is, meteorites, not be accepted for investigation. It was reasonably pointed out in the decree that rocks cannot fall from the sky for there are no solid things in the sky. Among those who signed was A. L. Lavoisier).

After the first experiments to send radio signals G. Marconi decided to send a radio signal across the Atlantic Ocean. He thought that only a sufficiently powerful transmitter and a sufficiently sensitive receiver were needed. However learned specialists opposed this undertaking. According to the ideas of the day which were obvious to everyone radio waves, like light beams, had to be propagated in straight lines. Therefore they could not bend around the Earth and would disappear. Certainly this pseudoscientific measure also cost money, besides. Marconi knew about the specialists' objections but waved them away. And in 1897 the experiment was performed and performed successfully! No one knew then that there was an ionosphere which was capable of reflecting radio waves. Here is a classic example of a contradiction between firmly established facts and theories; how is that for an example of pseudoscience"?

Flights of heavier-than-air craft were considered impossible by a great many scientists and specialists (the French astronomer J. Lalande, the German inventor E. Siemens, the eminent German scientist H. Helmholtz, and the American astronomer S. Newcomb). [Translator's note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Newcomb says that Newcomb was only critical of Langley's work, not the concept of heavier-than-air craft]. In the year that the Wright brothers flew their airplane the American Congress passed a law which prohibited the financing of work to create flying machines (!). At the same time the US Patent Office declared that they would not accept applications for aircraft, the same as with perpetual motion machines.

G. Sukhotin cites the poet:

              The pastors repeated that Galileo
              Was harmful and foolish
              But, time showed,
              Who was more foolish and who was wiser.

                    Ye. Yevtushenko

We probably should come to the conclusion that it is quite hard, even dangerous, to detect pseudoscience from the criterion of a contradiction of views firmly established by science.

Now let's look at possible objections.

Many of the examples cited refer to ancient times when the sciences were weaker, some were generally in their infancy, and theories replaced one another because of the infancy of the science. But now we have a somewhat more firmly built structure, it is hard to get [something] new, and the structure's foundation can be considered stable.

This seems convincing. However, if we turn again to the history of science we notice that they thought approximately the same thing at each stage of the development of the structure of science at almost any moment. Well, in any event, in the last one, two, or three centuries, depending on the field of science. The head of the American Patent Office, Charles Duell, wrote "There will be nothing new. Everything that can be invented has already been invented". He wrote this in 1899. [Translator's note: this is an "urban legend", i.e., not true. See http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ahrpa/opa/ptotoday/ptotoday12.pdf, p. 18.]

Ye. B. Aleksandrov and V. L. Ginzburg [7] write: "The constant accumulation of knowledge makes the customary historical analogies unfair when in trying to justify pseudoscientific nonsense; they remember that some great person in the past did not believe in some "crazy idea" and turned out to be wrong…It is possible this was true in the dawn of science when no one knew anything. But today only a hypothesis which agrees with an enormous amount of available reliable knowledge deserves attention. The longer science develops the more it places limitations on fantasies with respect to fundamental hypotheses".

One cannot disagree with the last phrase. As regarding the preceding ones…

The "historical" facts which were cited above evidently say something different, that a fundamentally new idea (possibly at any stage of the development of science, including the contemporary stage) will possibly not be in agreement with "the enormous amount of available reliable knowledge", because knowledge is relative and far from absolute.

Let's try other approaches.

In his exhaustive article [11] K. P. Ivanov defines parascience as conducting dubious or even knowingly spurious research and observations which are nevertheless performed for some time. But what is dubious research? If it is dubious perhaps a genuine or, possibly, useful result be obtained, which is hardly characteristic of any basic scientific work. If the subject and the field of work are themselves dubious then it is still necessary to understand for whom and why are they dubious? And what is intentionally spurious research? Who considers it spurious? And when did they or will they consider it spurious? For several centuries alchemists did not consider their attempts to get a philosopher's stone spurious; it then turned out that the efforts were in vain. Of course, we exclude the case where the researcher himself knows that he is reaching an impasse or is describing the work and results from career, monetary, etc. considerations.

K. P. Ivanov further makes an attempt to define pseudoscience. "Unlike parascience, pseudoscience is based on postulates which are not provable and no one has scientifically proven but are clothed in scientific garb". We ought to again thank K. P. Ivanov for an attempt to look into the concept of pseudoscience. If we speak of the version of the definition given then questions about it rise again. "Unlike parascience". Does this mean that parascience is based on some proven postulates? However, this is a small quibble; we'll leave it aside. Perhaps it is easiest to agree with the conclusion of K. P. Ivanov that parascience, pseudoscience, and fraud can only be distinguished in the event that they manifest themselves most clearly.

Let's think about those alchemists. The period of alchemy lasted a long time, several centuries. Alchemists wanted to learn to turn various elements into gold, to make an elixir of life, etc. Their goal was unachievable, spurious, and they spent a lot of time and effort in vain. Does this mean that alchemists were pseudoscientists? K. P. Ivanov thinks so. But the many centuries of work by alchemists yielded valuable discoveries, inventions, and advances. Much has been written about this in works about the history of chemistry and therefore we will limit ourselves to only several examples. Alchemists discovered zinc, antimony, bismuth, began to use solutions, developed numerous general chemical operations and methods, and accumulated an enormous factual material about the properties of substances, and on this basis found a number of means of distinguishing substances. For example, they learned how to separate gold and silver: aqua regia dissolves gold, but precipitates out silver (in the form of chloride): nitric acid dissolves silver, but not gold. Alchemists improved the means of identifying the content of gold in articles known from antiquity in the so-called touchstone.

K. Nartov, former teacher of Peter the Great and later an academician under Elizabeth quoted Peter: "I have often abused an alchemist looking to turn metals into gold and a mechanic trying to find a perpetual motion machine so that they will suddenly invent many useful things on the side while searching for the extraordinary. Such people ought to be approved in every way and not despised, like many who cause the opposite, calling such exercises nonsense".

According to the system chosen by K. P. Ivanov supporters of the phlogiston theory also ought to be classed as pseudoscientists, for the theory turned out to be incorrect and Lavoisier buried it. But this was an honest mistake. One cannot bear to call the aforementioned supporters of the phlogiston theory, the eminent chemists K. Scheele and J. Priestley, pseudoscientists. The search for the non-existent phlogiston produced the beginning of the chemistry and physics of gases. Then there were many such "pseudoscientists". Kekule proposed the formula of benzene: a ring and three alternating double bonds. Now we know that this is just a ring, but with equivalent bonds. Poor Kekule…

T. Kuhn [12], the author of the once sensational "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" was, perhaps, a maximalist, if not an extremist, but he was right in some respect in that the paradigms of science are actually changing. Does this mean that those who worked within the framework of an old, obsolete paradigm were pseudoscientists? Of course not.

Dilettantes also make honest mistakes

Many of those who make honest mistakes are sometimes very enthusiastic, convinced, and even fanatics, and are insensitive to criticism. The attitude toward them can be varied, depending on the personality of the people making the mistakes and many other circumstances. But sometimes here the question slips in: who is the judge?

The history of science is full of mistakes. In chemistry, for example, there is a report about the discovery of "new" elements [13, 14]. The majority of these mistakes are made by honest researchers. Are such mistakes really examples of pseudoscience? Science doesn't happen without mistakes. Meanwhile, sometimes a trend is overlooked and similar mistakes, inaccuracies, and the lack of a critical attitude toward oneself are seen as examples of pseudoscience.

Of course, mistakes need to be identified and the faster the better. But in many such cases the use of the notions "science" and "pseudoscience" is hardly appropriate. And now about dilettantes.

Academician M. I. Kabachnik wrote about his memories of Nobel Laureate N. N. Semenov [15]: "N. N. had a striking weakness for self-taught inventors, people trying to solve the great problems of science on the basis of their completely insufficient knowledge. N. N. devoted an amazing amount of time to such self-taught people, heard out their pseudoscientific reasoning attentively and did not try to argue with them. Perhaps the unexpected train of thought of such people attracted him or he hoped that in the mass of pseudoscientific junk he would hear something interesting, or this was N. N.'s own sort of relaxation. He always talked about them with a smile and seemingly with – approval".

But when Kabachnik reproached Nikolay Nikolayevich, the latter replied:

"You know, Martin Izrailevich, dilettantes often make brilliant discoveries!"

For they actually do make great discoveries among them, although individual zealots of serious science view the intrusion of dilettantes quite skeptically and see in it one of the sources of pseudoscience. The zealots are largely correct. We recall retiree enthusiasts. But again, vivid examples of discoveries made by non-specialists come to mind. L. Pasteur was a chemist and had no medical education, however he made the greatest discoveries in medicine and, as we would say now, in biotechnology. Physicist N. N. Semenov deservedly received the Nobel Prize in chemistry. The clergyman J. Priestley was one of those who discovered oxygen and the Hamburg merchant Brand was the first discoverer of phosphorus. Many doctors have become eminent chemists, including A. P. Borodin. Chemist N. P. Fedorenko is one of our greatest economists. There are many such examples and no need to again to recall the merchant H. Schliemann, who dug up Homer's Troy.

Conclusion

Is the impression being formed that the author is defending pseudoscience? This would be completely wrong; I simply want to study it so that an enemy such as myself does not fire on his own troops. But one must deal with an enemy as an enemy when it is clear who and where he is.

This has been about the criticism of a number of criteria used to amputate [SIC] pseudoscience. Criticism is fine but what will we have left? Or otherwise, what kind of new criteria could be suggested? V. L. Ginzburg has other definitions of pseudoscience. In his aforementioned article [6] one can read: "one can only call pseudoscience statements, constructs, 'theories', etc. firmly refuted by modern science like astrology, the creation of torsion generators, and "new chronology" [A. F. Fomenko – Yu. Z.]. But various, even unorthodox theories and ideas, from the standpoint of the majority of scientists whose incorrectness has not been proven, are far from being considered pseudoscience".

This does not encounter any objection. Can one be guided by this criterion? True, how is it going to be for the editors of journals who receive "unorthodox" articles? For, at a minimum, something needs to be known in order to refute something, that is, one can refute something published (but "the majority" will be against publication). This is also a problem.

Discretion, caution – these are what we need in the struggle against pseudoscience. Of course, say, UFOlogy, parapsychology, and astrology cannot be accepted into the community of "normal" sciences but even in this case excessive bravery in opinions is hardly justified.

Footnotes

1. Yu. V. Kurbatov. Basic Theories and Laws: I. Bases, Acids, Amphoteric Compounds; II. Universes; and III. Associated Problems. – Samarkand: SGU [Samarkand State University]. 2001.
2. V. A. Alekseyevsky Fate. Samarkand: SGU, 2002.
3. Eh. P. Kruglyakov. Swindlers Posing as Scientists. Moscow, Nauka, 2001.
4. V. S. Loginov, S. I. Doroshenko. Fraud in Science. Khimiya i Zhizn' [Chemistry and Life]. 1992, N? 8.
5. P. Katanin. Nauka i Zhizn' [Science and Life], 2000, N? 6.
6. V. L. Ginzburg. Nauka i Zhizn', 2000, N? 11.
7. Ye. B. Aleksandrov, V. L. Ginzburg. Vestnik RAN [Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences], 1999, Vol. 69, N? 3.
8. V. L. Ginzburg. O nauke, o sebe, I o drugikh [About Science, About Myself, and About Other Things]. Moscow, Nauka, Fizmatlit, 1997.
9. A. Sukhotin, Paradoksy nauki [The Paradoxes of Science], Moscow, Molodaya Gvardiya, 1978.
10. O. Yu. Okhlobystin. Zhizn' i smert' khimicheskikh idey. Ocherk po istorii teoreticheskoy khimii [The Life and Death of Chemical Ideas. Essay on the History of Theoretical Chemistry]. Moscow, Nauka, 1989.
11. K. P. Ivanov, Vestnik RAN, 2002, Vol. 72, N? 1.
12. T. Kuhn, Struktura nauchnykh revolyutsiy [The Structure of Scientific Revolutions], Moscow, Mir, 1975.
13. N. A. Figurovsky. Otkrytie khimicheskikh elementov i proiskhozhdenie ikh nazvaniy [The Discovery of the Chemical Elements and the Origin of Their Names]. Moscow, Nauka, 1970.
14. V. P. Mel'nikov. Istoriya otkrytiya khimicheskikh elementov metodami spektral'nogo analiza [The History of the Discovery of the Chemical Elements by Spectral Analysis Methods], Moscow, Nauka, 1995.
15. Vospominaniya ob akademike Nikolae Nikolayeviche Semenove [Memories of Academician Nikolay Nikolayevich Semenov]. Executive Editor, A. Ye. Shilov. Moscow, Nauka, 1993.

Yu. A. Zolotov, Academician of the RAS

Translated by Gary Goldberg

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