Popper Demarcation Practice and Malpractice

Many people presume the Popper Demarcation Principle to distinguish the boundary between science and pseudoscience. While the Popper Demarcation indeed involves this aspect, the two ideas are not congruent. The actual delineation hinges on the role of predictive and falsifying testing practiced by those entities claiming the methods of science, or science as the body of knowledge. He contrasts this claimant group with those who make no such claim to science at all. False Skepticism to Popper, was also pseudoscience, because it claims to be conducting science – but does not employ rules of evidence or falsification. This includes the practice where his definitions are abused in order to falsely condemn disliked subjects.
If your version of skepticism purports that it ’employs the tools of science to make the most probable conclusion’ on behalf of science, or calls an entire subject a ‘pseudoscience,’ …then beware.

Popper Demarcation GuidelinesKarl Popper proposed the demarcation principle, as a means to approach the problem of how we differentiate science from non-science in principle. This categorization of that which resides outside of science is a non-pejorative filtering of those mechanisms which can be relied upon to product the body of knowledge. To put it another way, the demarcation problem consists in crafting principles, constraints, reasons, or conditions to regard something like epigenetics under “science” and place a discipline (falsified, yet still pretending to represent science) such as phrenology as a pseudoscience. The two critical aspects of the Popper Demarcation Principle involve the separate issues regarded below: The issue of the Role of Predictive Study, and the claim or lack thereof, of doing or representing science. In absence of framing Popper Demarcation inside these two clarifying factors, much confusion and false condemnation can be spun by fake skeptics, through Popper Demarcation Malpractice.

The Ambidextrous Nature of Predictive Studies

Predictive study is treated differently by Popper, as distinguished by its role of employment in the methods of science as opposed to the conclusions of science (see graphic to the right). Popper, like any scientist, fully understood the critical role of predictive studies in the scientific method, as well as the critical role of prediction making ability inside a successful theory. He was not discounting these valuable components/steps out of the process of science.  What Popper was framing, is the circumstance where predictive study alone is employed to substantiate conclusions as accepted or peer-ready science. This type of science is the chief method of hypoepistemology practices by those wishing to push a social agenda. In this role, predictive studies can be employed as pseudoscience. The Ethical Skeptic must discern the circumstance where an epistemology is based only on scant statistics, studies of studies, or predictive tests – and has not fully challenged its theory with ascertainable falsification testing or past falsification achievements (Promotification or Popper Error).

However, for those who confuse or conflate the methods of science with the body of scientific knowledge – the role of predictive study is sacrificed at the alter of agenda. In such approaches, employing equivocal terms or proxy equivocation in their articulation of the issue of predictability, every proposed claim about what distinguishes science from pseudoscience can be confused with a counter-example. Karl Popper postulated that falsifiability stands as the criterion which distinguishes science from pseudoscience. If any set of claims or theory can be shown true through the disciplines of falsification, it belongs to the domain of science. Many people wrongly presume this to mean that if any set of claims or theory is innately unfalsifiable, it belongs to the domain of pseudoscience. This delineation is incoherent as some un-testable scientific claims sets, such as M-theory or multi-verse interpretations are not considered pseudoscience.

If they were enforced based on predictive study only, as a finished body of knowledge, that would indeed be hypoepistemology pseudoscience. But in science as a method, M-theory or multi-verse predictive studies are indeed considered science.

The key opportunistic play here for Social Skeptics is that both, context dancing between science as a body of knowledge and science as a method, or the equivocation involved in merging the two ideas, produces incoherence and useful confusion. A method of condemning subjects by dancing between the two contexts of the Popperian term. A simple prima facia incoherence that Karl Popper, a seasoned scientist and philosopher surely would have, and did, recognize. Did the people who presume this equivocation, think Karl Popper to be a simpleton, more stupid than are they? The reality that escapes the philosophically dilettante is that he did indeed deal with this inconsistency. The Handbook of the Philosophy of Science expounds on this:

The phrases “demarcation of science” and “demarcation of science from pseudoscience” are often used interchangeably, and many authors seem to have regarded them as equal in meaning. In their view the task of drawing the outer boundaries of science is essentially the same as that of drawing the boundary between science and pseudoscience.

This picture is oversimplified. All non-science is not pseudoscience, and science has non-trivial borders to other non-scientific phenomena, such as metaphysics, religion, and various types of non-scientific systematized knowledge.¹

Claiming and Not Claiming to Do or Represent Science

science is moresoThere is a stark difference between those things which claim to be science, and those things which claim nothing of the sort. If my neighbor runs over and swears that he saw The Chupacabra running through his backyard, he is not claiming to do science, he is not practicing pseudoscience. If he goes to the city council and cites that there are hundreds of missing cats and dogs in the area, he is still not practicing pseudoscience. This set of activity simply constitutes observation and advocacy (or possibly fraud). This is a key understanding which differentiates the false skeptic from the real skeptic. It is when he makes the nonsense claim that he has done research, and by examining the poop of the supposed animal in a lab, now claims that what he saw in his backyard must be an interdimensional being, released by UFO’s, because its poop contained animal proteins not found on this Earth. That is when the person making such claims has indeed stepped into the bounds of pseudoscience. At no time is he ever a pseudo scientist simply because he made an observation of something called by fake skeptics ‘a pseudoscience.’ ¹ ²

Even if he becomes an advocate, and attempts to petition science to study the issue, he is not dabbling in pseudoscience. To kill this type of process through fake skepticism, is to kill the process of science; yes, even on a brazenly ridiculous topic like The Chupacabra. Presuming that one is doing science, by calling the gentleman a liar, or deluded, is in itself – a claim Ξ pseudoscience. Many fake and shallow skeptics fail to discern this important aspect of the Popper Demarcation principle.

Among things which are unfairly labeled as pseudoscience by ill intended fake skeptics, are:

  • Sponsorship of ideas for research
  • Subjects which are ignored through social epistemology or pressure
  • Positions which appear to oppose oligarch corporations
  • Political positions
  • Religious tenets
  • Citing of anomalous observations
  • Moral positions
  • Art, fiction, creative works
  • Advocacy for health observations and those who suffer
  • Anecdotal evidence which is ignored on a grand scale

By practicing Popper Demarcation Malpractice, Social Skeptics can manage the control of access to science, effectively screening out disliked topics, observations and ideas.

Popper Demarcation Malpractice

/philosophy : science : pseudoscience : malpractice/ : the dilettante presumption that if any set of claims or theory is innately non-falsifiable, it belongs to the domain of pseudoscience. Wrongly presuming a subject to be a pseudoscience, instead of false practices pretending to be science. Purposely or unskillfully conflating the methods of science with the body of scientific knowledge, employing amphibology or proxy equivocation in their articulation of the issue, wherein every proposed claim about what distinguishes science from pseudoscience can be confused with a counter-example. This renders the demarcation boundary of no utility, and reduces overall understanding.

Transactional Popper Demarcation Error – incorrectly citing a topic as being a pseudo science, when in fact its sponsors are seeking falsification based protocols to counter the antithetical premise to their case, or its sponsors are employing predictive studies being employed simply to establish plurality for sponsorship inside the scientific method.

Existential Popper Demarcation Error – citing something as a pseudoscience simply because one does not like the topic, or the topic has had pretend science performed in its name in the past.

The reality is that there exist three domains of idea development:  Science, Pseudoscience, Parascience/Non-science. Understanding these three domains and skillfully applying that understanding inside the discourse of ideas is the ethic of one who sincerely wants to know. It is the habit of one who practices Ethical Skepticism as opposed to the purposely smoke and mirrors, equivocation imbued, pretend science and idea assassinating fake version of skepticism.

Science (a method, a discipline and a body of knowledge)

The application of observation, thought, reason, testing, and peer input to arrive at conclusions which reliably can be added to the body of knowledge. That body of knowledge itself.

Particle Acceleration

Materials Fabrication


Pseudoscience (a method and pretense only)

A process which claims to arrive at conclusions by means of science, or citing of elements it purports to exist in the body of scientific knowledge, where in fact neither adheres to nor originates from, actual methods of science.

Attempting to demonstrate free energy by sleight-of-hand battery switching and amperage measurements

Attempting to show one is located on the Earth’s equator by demonstrating differing water drain patterns both south and north of a fictitiously drawn line



Thinking disciplines of benefit to mankind, which seek to improve the human condition, or solve perplexing issues, or even assist science in its overall efficacy, but do not necessarily make the claim of employing science in order to derive such ethics.



Science Fiction


Disciplines of human endeavor which do not employ, nor claim to employ science in their execution. However may involve some science in their development – or turn into a discipline of science through diligent sponsorship.



Public Speaking

An Example of Popper Demarcation Malpractice:

Sometimes the term “pseudoscience” is used in a wider sense in order to pejoratively filter out ideas considered by researching sponsors, advocates, legal activists, politicians and those making disturbing observations. The abuse of the term in this fashion, as constituting that which

(2′)  it is part of a non-scientific doctrine whose major proponents try to create the impression that it is scientific.

(2″)  is part of a doctrine whose major proponents try to create the impression that it represents the most reliable knowledge on its subject matter.²

This is false, because the practice which established that ‘proponents try to create the impression that it represents science’ fails the Popper Demarcation itself. So if we are applying Popper here, we cannot create postulates which violate the very principle we are seeking to construct. Declaring a subject, in absence of evidence proving such a claim, to be constituted solely by individuals who are pretending to be science – 1. claims to hold a body of knowledge, and 2. does so without a basis of true science to derive that knowledge. Therefore, such a claim is itself, pseudoscience, according to Popper.

The SSkeptics Dictionary for example (http://www.skepdic.com/pseudosc.html) incorrectly defines pseudoscience as

“A pseudoscience is set of ideas based on theories put forth as scientific when they are not scientific.”

This definition is an incoherent one-liner – Wittgenstein unsinnig: highly convoluted and implication laden professional-sounding babble, articulated so as to tender the appearance of being simple. It is incompatible with parsimony in this regard; and as well, ironically fails the Popper Demarcation of Science itself, because

  1. It conflates ideas into ‘theories’ by default in an effort to pejoratively filter them – a practice of pseudoscience. A theory implies a set of claims under science method, which ideas may not involve. A very similar equivocation to calling an observation a ‘claim.’ So you can then dismiss it as ‘failing science.’
  2. It is NOT ideas which are pseudo-scientific – rather
    1. those things purported to already exist in the body of knowledge, when indeed such is not the case, and
    2. those things purported to be based on methods which are scientific, but in reality are not.
  3. It regards a SUBJECT MATTER (theories) rather than a contention or process, as that which qualifies something as pseudoscience. This is errant and constitutes a logical fallacy – and to those who understand this – yet commit the offense so as to screen subjects from access to science, also constitutes a practice of fraud.
  4. It may or may not imply that proponents of the ‘ideas’ try to create the impression that they represent science or the most reliable knowledge on its subject matter. Again, such a claim cannot be made outside of research and scientific practice; constituting in its implied claim, defamation and pseudoscience.
  5. It makes a final contention that certain ideas are ‘not scientific’ based on a prescribed set of conclusions or the personal level of knowledge on the part of the observer. This is not how science nor skepticism work at all.

The grasp of this differentiation is a key litmus test distinguishing a false skeptic from a true skeptic. They claim to represent science to you in this misrepresentation sleight-of-hand. The shallow and inexperienced might buy this at face value, but an Ethical Skeptic will not.

It is nothing but Popper Demarcation Malpractice… scientific quackery.

¹  Mahner, Martin, 2007. “Demarcating Science from Non-Science”, pp 515-575 in Theo Kuipers (ed.) Handbook of the Philosophy of Science: General Philosophy of Science – Focal Issues, Amsterdam: Elsevier.

²  Hansson, Sven Ove, “Science and Pseudo-Science”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/pseudo-science/&gt;.

The Deontologically Accurate Basis of the Term: Social Skepticism

Failures and agendas in the name of science are not the result of ‘scientism’ per se, as science can never be a teleological ‘-ism’ by its very definition. Science itself is neutral. Failures with respect to science are the result of flawed or manipulated philosophy of science. When social control, change or conformance agents subject science to a state of being their lap-dog, serving specific agendas, such agents err in regard to the philosophical basis of science, skepticism. They are not bad scientists, rather bad philosophers, seeking a socialized goal. They are social skeptics.

Ethical Skepticism agrees with science that there exists no set of truth p which is only true because of a non epistemological basis of desire. I want my beliefs to be true, socially they are justified, I hold moral authority and therefore they should be made true by ‘science.’ This flawed philosophy stands as the essence of Social Skepticism. It is a concealed and deeply seated antipathy towards the protocols of real science. This is why dismissive negativity and intimidation arise so quickly in a Social Skeptic when disdained ideas, evidences or observations are broached.

my science is now the correct scienceAn epistemology consists of both the underpinning objective elements as well as the means of logic, philosophy and method by which we arrive at the proposition p is true.  “Social epistemology is the study of the social dimensions of knowledge or information.”¹ Thus is the definition framed by Alvin Goldman in his excellent article on social epistemology inside the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy resource base.  He further expounds,

Social epistemology is theoretically significant because of the central role of society in the knowledge-forming process. It also has practical importance because of its possible role in the redesign of information-related social institutions.¹

However, The Ethical Skeptic bristles at such machinations, this “redesign of …institutions,” and further contends that social epistemology rarely, if ever, remains constrained to the set of social institutions. This epistemic commitment is especially objectionable when it is employed to extend control over science from such social institutions by tampering with the Knowledge Development Process to support a socially driven end goal. An Ethical Skeptic views this as a highly unethical process. A disservice to mankind for selfish and perfidious purposes. Active pseudoscience as opposed to passive categorization (existential) pseudoscience. Ethical Skepticism agrees with science that there exists no set of truth p which is only true because of a non epistemological basis of desire, q. I want my beliefs q to be true; socially they are justified, I hold moral authority and therefore they should be made true by ‘science.’ It is this antipathy towards science which is the key unacknowledged facet of Social Skepticism. This is why the top concerns for our future, between scientists and SSkeptics, don’t align at all (see Real Scientists Disagree with SSkeptics About World’s Top Concerns for the Future). Social Skeptics only use science as a tool for moral authority; it threatens their power, so they seek to control it at all costs.

Social Skepticism fully understands the obstacles to such thinking were it made manifest, and therefore seeks to establish a set of pathways around this problem.  Hyperepistemological and Hypoepistemological skepticism and science are the false epistemological bases which stand in as the apparent scientific protocols supporting an agenda hinging off of a concealed social epistemological based view of science.  The related definition, extracted from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is structured thusly:¹ ²

Social Epistemology

/philosophy : pseudo-philosophy/ When we conceive of epistemology as including knowledge and justified belief as they are positioned within a particular social and historical context, epistemology becomes social epistemology. Since many stakeholders view scientific facts as social constructions, they would deny that the goal of our intellectual and scientific activities is to find facts. Such constructivism, if weak, asserts the epistemological claim that scientific theories are laden with social, cultural, and historical presuppositions and biases; if strong, it asserts the metaphysical claim that truth and reality are themselves socially constructed.¹ ²

Moreover, in recognizing this, when social justice or the counter to a perceived privilege are warranted, short cuts to science in the form of hyper and hypo epistemologies are enacted through bypassing the normal frustrating process of peer review, and substituting instead political-social campaigns – waged to act in lieu of science. These campaigns of ‘settled science’ are prosecuted in an effort to target a disliked culture, non-violent belief set, ethnicity or class – for harm and removal of human rights.

Social Skeptics, view the world of science as a mechanism which can be manipulated and altered to accommodate non-scientific goals, or even promote false scientific conclusions if justified by the moral authority entailed. In their view, science should be employed as the football which enables dictation of morals, standards of human interaction, tolerable or necessary human rights, denigration of specific races, peoples, genders, or groups, acceptable government, political parties and soft economic principles. These strong social epistemological pundits are at their essence scientific crooks.  However, they are fully aware that science, inside the key verticals of its application, in general does not accept such contortions of their professional standards.  As a result, Social Epistemologists must construct sciencey-looking pathways which tender both the appearance of protocol and method, and establish an Apparent Coherency. This Apparent Coherency is then enforced on society as a whole, with much intimidation and negativity as the final facet of its enforcement.

And as is true to form in a socially reenforced protocols, the enormous social pressure brought to bear in the form of anger and mocking humor in a public and derisive context, stands as the signature and indeed red flag hallmark of Social Skepticism.

Social Skepticism

/pseudoscience : agenda : based upon pseudo-philosophy (hypo and hyper epistemology)/ : employment of fake a priori deduction methods combined with biased stacked provisional abductive reasoning, both employed as a masquerade of science method in order to enforce a belief set as being scientific, when it is not. It is a sponsored activist movement which functions as an integral part of the socially engineered mechanisms seeking to dominate human thought, health, welfare and education. This domination serving as means to an end, towards subjection of all mankind’s value to mandated totalitarian institutions. Institutions which serve to benefit a social elite, however which stand threatened by innate elements of mankind’s being and background.

An ideologue driven enforcement of philosophically bad science, crafted to obfuscate mankind’s understanding of critical issues inside which it holds specific goals. Its members practice a form of vigilante bullying, employed in lieu of science to dismiss disliked subjects, persons and evidence before they can ever see the light of day. This seeking to establish as irrefutable truth a core philosophy of material monism, dictating that only specific authorized life physical and energy domains exist. A comprehensive program of enforcement sought accordingly, through rather than the risk of ethical scientific methodology, instead a practice of preemptive methodical cynicism and provisional knowledge which underpins an embargo policy regarding, cultivates ignorance and institutionalizes intimidation surrounding any subject which could conceivably threaten their religion, social control and economic power.

Employment of false hypo or hyper epistemology utilized to enforce a hidden Social Epistemological based agenda seeking establishment of a specific Apparent Coherence which denies all opposing forms of knowledge. Failures and agendas in the name of science are not the result of ‘scientism’ per se, as science can never be a teleological ‘-ism’ by its very definition. Science itself is neutral. Failures with respect to science are the result of flawed or manipulated philosophy of science. When social control, change or conformance agents subject science to a state of being their lap-dog, serving specific agendas, such agents err in regard to the philosophical basis of science, skepticism. They are not bad scientists, rather bad philosophers, seeking a socialized goal. They are social skeptics.

Therefore, as one can see Social Skepticism really stems from a surreptitious social epistemological view of science. A view that science can be molded, shaped and controlled in any fashion that controlling forces see fit.  Further then to be employed as moral authority to enable any policy, governance, party or social goal they initially envisioned. There exists therefore, two versions of application wherein this social epistemology is plied and inside of which it can be concealed and made to appear in the form of science. Hyperepistemology, or in general lying through facts and extremes and Hypoepistemology, or in general lying through misinformation and lax standards.  Finally, the lie, as it is crafted into a social construct under a socially epistemological approach, is termed an Apparent Coherence (see graphic below).

Apparent Coherency - Copy

A hyperepistemology is therefore any pseudoscience which seeks to screen out undesired conclusions by becoming excessively purist in exercise of data, observation, experiment, measurability, reporting and acceptance. It is active transactional pseudoscience. Complementarily, a hypoepistemology is any process which seeks to skip deontological rigor and step right to the prejudiced a priori categorization of a subject as being ‘disproved’ or a favored subject as being ‘consensus.’ This is existential pseudoscience.

Notice that again here, pseudoscience cannot possibly be, in a logical philosophical framework, defined as a specific topic of study. When this false definition is enforced, the whole philosophical basis of epistemology shatters into incoherency.  Such is the nature of social epistemology. It only seeks Apparent Coherency, and nothing more.


/transactional pseudoscience/ Employment of extreme, linear, diagnostic, inconsistent, truncated or twisted forms of science in order to prevent the inclusion or consideration of undesired ideas, data, observations or evidence.  This undertaken in order to enforce a hidden Social Epistemological based agenda seeking establishment of a specific Apparent Coherence which denies all opposing forms of knowledge.


/existential pseudoscience/ Relegation of disfavored subjects and observations into pathways of false science and employment of bucket pejorative categorizations in order to prevent such subjects’ inclusion or consideration in the body of active science.  Conversely, acceptance of an a priori favored idea, as constituting sound science, based simply on its attractiveness inside a set of social goals. These both undertaken in order to enforce a hidden Social Epistemological based agenda seeking establishment of a specific Apparent Coherence which denies all opposing forms of knowledge.

Speaking of social epistemologies, there is an objective in all this. Finally ladies and gentlemen, this whole process introduces the Goal, of the social epistemology called the Omega Hypothesis

Omega Hypothesis (HΩ)

/philosophy : pseudoscience : social epistemology : apparent coherence/ : the argument which is foisted to end all argument, period. An argument which has become more important to protect, than science itself. An invalid null hypothesis or a preferred idea inside a social epistemology. A hypothesis which is defined to end deliberation without due scientific rigor, alternative study consensus or is afforded unmerited protection or assignment as the null. The surreptitiously held and promoted idea or the hypothesis protected by an Inverse Negation Fallacy. Often one which is promoted as true by default, with the knowledge in mind that falsification will be very hard or next to impossible to achieve.


Material Monism

Metaphysical Naturalism


Skin Color Hatred, Denigration or Promotion

Political Party Promotion

Political Philosophy Promotion

Class and National Origin Hatred

Class Warfare

Religious Hatred

Obscuring of Forbidden Elements of Knowledge

Academic Hatred




Royalty Promotion and Enrichment

Two Pseudoscientific Mechanisms Currently in Employment


And understanding that skepticism, in its true form, is a means of preparing the mind and data sets to accomplish real science and to protect of the method of science – not specific Omega Hypothesis answers nor pseudoscientific mechanisms, it becomes incumbent upon us as Ethical Skeptics to deny this false form of skepticism, and the resulting twisted social epistemologies which result.

¹  Alvin Goldman’s “Social Epistemology,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology-social/

²  Matthias Steup’s “Epistemology,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology/#MRE