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About This Forum

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I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Jul 19, 2004
Out of Bounds
KEYWORDS: Pseudoscience, damned science, fringe science, junk science, occult science, parascience, alternative science, forbidden science

This forum is being established to provide a more focused space for discussing the most Fortean areas of scientific inquiry - the research and theories that mainstream institutionalized sciences either passively ignore or actively reject.

Excuses for damning these outsider research efforts include: failure to follow accepted scientific methods; lack of repeatability for alleged experimental results; purely speculative theoretical bases; lack of testable elements or hypotheses; and conflicts with prevailing theories.

Discussions of such outsider scientific pursuits had been posted throughout our forums. This new forum is intended to consolidate these scattered discussions into one area.

Some of our topically focused forums are dedicated to one or another such type of damned science. This new forum is not intended to replace or override any of those extant forums, though certain contributions originally posted within those other areas may end up here.

The boundary between mainstream science and (e.g.) pseudoscience is blurry and subject to multiple interpretations. This makes it difficult to specify clear criteria for inclusion within this new forum. Here are some initial guidelines:

If it purports to explain some aspect of our world / universe (as opposed to simply describing incidents or events), it may belong here. For example, a particular UFO or cryptid sighting incident should be posted in the other relevant forum, whereas a theory or model for what the whole set of such incidents may represent might more appropriately be placed here.

If its explanations are codified with respect to (e.g.) a model, theoretical framework, or set of principles, it probably belongs here. One of the hallmarks of mainstream science is providing a coherent context for explaining phenomena - e.g., their causes, their possible manifestations, and any relevant limits or constraints on their occurrence. Some folks accept such coherent explanatory bases as "scientific" in at least a casual sense, because they are predictive of outcomes under specific conditions or circumstances. Mainstream science demands that this predictability must extend to the outcomes of experimental tests as well. Damned science is often damned for failing to provide this extended predictability to anyone anywhere at any time.

If it represents a body of work disputed or rejected for the reasons cited above, it may belong here. There are controversies within mainstream science itself, which are to be expected within a tradition that validates itself by withstanding refutation. However, mainstream science avoids controversy pertaining to its essential validity as a means for generating new knowledge. Damned science is often identifiable as research which (a) cannot or will not be pursued in accordance with mainstream science's canonical procedures or protocols or (b) adopts positions antithetical to what the mainstream currently accepts.

If it's something mainstream science once accommodated but eventually abandoned, it may belong here. Some Fortean phenomena are still addressed in terms of principles or theories that mainstream science has abandoned or that have fallen out of favor. Retro or revivalist versions of obsolete mainstream scientific beliefs are reasonably considered part of the damned science diaspora.

If it concerns a product or innovation (e.g., invention, technology) defined in terms of damned science, it probably belongs here. If damned science produces items based on or derived from damned orientations, this would be the place to discuss them.

These guidelines are neither rigid nor universally acknowledged. There will no doubt be differences of opinion as what does or does not belong within this forum, because some measure of ambiguity is intrinsic to the notion of pseudo- / damned / fringe science by definition.
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