It was an exciting evening at the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium. Speakers included Ben Goldacre, author of “Bad Science” and confronter of HIV denialists; David Gorski, specialist cancer surgeon and witness to cancer quackery; Michael Shermer, investigator of pseudoscience. McGill University’s dynamic crusader for getting science knowledge out to the public.
This year’s Trottier Symposium focuses on the difference between science and “pseudo” or “false” science. While real science accumulates facts and formulates testable theories to gain a unified understanding of the physical world, pseudoscience relies on anecdotes, ideology and cherry-picked data to support preconceived notions. Conventional science is a self-correcting, continuously evolving process based on critical thinking and plausible theories supported by peer-reviewed research whereas pseudoscience is often mired in dogma that is resistant to change. Pseudoscience masquerading as real science can lead to troublesome consequences, particularly when it comes to matters of health. Unfortunately, aided and abetted by the Internet, pseudoscience has been growing by leaps and bounds. Four outstanding, world-famous science communicators will discuss various aspects of pseudoscience and will provide guidance for separating sense from nonsense.