The Art of Science

A friend of mine recently underwent an appraisal to give a talk at TEDx.

She is an energy healer and is particularly interested in helping women in pregnancy.

She was told that she would not be allowed to use the words ‘energy’ or ‘healing’ or anything else that in the opinion of whoever runs TEDx is ‘pseudoscience’.

Now the techniques that she uses do actually work, and have been working for millennia, but as yet there is no-one on Earth who can actually ‘prove’ how they work.

‘Pseudoscience’, as defined by academics, relates to anything that cannot be understood or proven by using scientific method. Or in other words the logic these people who take it on themselves to classify things is this:

“It may well work perfectly, but if ‘we ‘(clever academics) don’t know how it works or can’t find a way of doing that, then it doesn’t work – it’s a fraud and no-one may talk about it. ‘We’ don’t know how it works, therefore ‘you’ shouldn’t use it or talk about it – end of.”

Now I was taught at school a very long time ago that ‘science’ itself is simply a process – as is art; and there’s a significant difference.

Artists create something out of nothing, out of an idea (so according to the definition above ‘art’ must also be pseudoscience!) whereas science is the process of breaking something down in order to understand how it was built up or how it works.

The process is this:

You create a hypothesis – an idea or starting point for your scientific investigation.

You test that hypothesis through a series of experiments.

If ‘enough’ of those experiments support your hypothesis, you then turn the hypothesis into a more detailed ‘Theory’ based on the results (or at least ‘some’ of the results) of your experimentation.

Then you persuade other ‘scientists’ to test the Theory by conducting their own experiments.

If ‘enough’ of those scientists concur with your Theory, it then becomes a ‘Law’- as in ‘The Laws of Physics’.

You’ll notice some flaws in this process of ‘proof’.

Not all of the experiments carried out by the first scientist have to work to move on to the next step. The scientist who is wanting to prove his hypothesis will conveniently ignore the results that are inconsistent.

Theories are usually tested by scientists ‘friendly’ to the first scientist or his hypothesis, and again they will discard results that are ‘inconvenient’.

This happens a lot – it’s called ‘bad science’.

It’s as if you are given a brief to carry out ‘investigations’ and write a report on something but told in advance that you won’t get paid unless the report is consistent with the opinions or theories of whoever commissioned the report.

(This has happened to me more than once – I didn’t take it on)

That happens probably more than we think – and it shows up when two different ‘schools’ of economists come up with totally different theories about how the country should be run.

The thing is, that so you can ‘prove’ something ‘scientifically’ you have to come up with a hypothesis – and that’s where the ‘art’ comes in.

It kicks in again when you start to design the experiments to support your idea.

The process of science is an art in itself.

And no-one knows or can prove how human imagination and creativity works.

So, science itself is ‘pseudoscience’ – because what causes it to work – the art of science – cannot be proven by science.

One of the secrets of good marketing is to test – to experiment – with different approaches to discover which works best.

‘Why’ or ‘how’ it works isn’t particularly important on a case by cases basis and certainly cannot be proven by scientific evaluation.

So, according to the ‘academics’ marketing must also be pseudoscience!

But there’s a problem underlying all this.

Why are TEDx inhibiting the freedom of speech by banning what they see, in their opinion, as pseudoscience?

Why is it that they are refusing to allow people to talk about the benefits of these things or provide explanations of how they work?

Because they are not ‘scientific’ – whatever that means?

Because they might make people think about things and situations in a different way?

Because they might be ‘disruptive’?

Or are they just scared of the ‘establishment’ that is always against change (unless of course they think it up).

Not sure what’s going on here as I thought TEDx was a platform for people to express themselves.

It seems however that you can only do this if you only talk about things that have been scientifically proven – which in many cases means not proven at all.

After all there is a very good scientific ‘proof’ lying around somewhere that the Earth is flat!

And there are still people adhering to this proof and attempting to convince the rest of us that it’s true!

Maybe we should get together and set up TEDy devoted exclusively to ‘pseudoscience’ – which is pretty much everything really!

It doesn’t matter whether we know how something works.

If it works for you – use it.

If something has been working and giving benefit for millions of years, then we should really take that benefit and not refuse it because we don’t know how it works.

After all, if we needed to know exactly how it worked, we’d stop using our brain!