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What are the ethical

considerations of bad science?

Pseudo science in other words known as a bad science is an area of science which is not
directly supported by evidence of success. Unlike sciences like Physics or Biology, which have
theories that can be refuted, Pseudoscience largely relies on vague or contradictory claims which
are generally unprovable. There is a general agreement that for a theory or idea to be scientific it
has to be falsifiable, and thus there should be a way of experimentally testing it. The act of calling
an unfalsifiable theory to be be true is where Pseudoscience comes in.
Pseudoscience can have detrimental effects on society, especially if society is badly
informed. Around the developing world it is popular to “folk” remedies as medicine or treatment for
a certain ailment and in fact many of these remedies have been scientifically proved to have
positive effects through controlled trials and experiments where the chemicals at work are isolated.
For example, the main ingredient of aspirin is provided by the willow bark, which has already been
used as a medical treatment for centuries. While before society could not develop a proper
explanation to why it would work, it used it nonetheless with consistent success. However when
one begins to delve into an entirely subjective matter, for example, in Chinese folk medicine there
“Qi” energy which is transferred through the body with meridians. While it sounds a bit complex,
this is, in itself an entirely subjective matter and it has no way of verifying the existence of this Qi
energy.
There are some other forms of medicine, both pseudoscientific and scientific which have
evidence suggesting that the methods work. Acupuncture has a large body of empirical results that
point to it being effective in treating chronic pain, but on the other hand, sham therapy, where
needles are placed at random parts of the body and in some cases don’t even penetrate the skin
also has high chance of success. This just shows that the idea of Qi is only mimicking scientific
notions and this pattern is observable throughout the pseudo-sciences where they mimic science
but lack its substance. The ethical problems of today lie with the fact that these pseudo science
might rely on substances or material that is rare. For example in traditional Chinese medicine the
use of the horns of a rhinoceros is customary to treat certain ailments and while there is no direct
evidence that links the horns to successful treatments, the strength of pseudo sciences in society
allow the fraud to go on. Furthermore, this fraud comes at the cost of thousands of rhinoceros,
which are already an endangered species, one on the brink of extinction.
According to the theory of utilitarianism, one can state that there will be generally more
utility through the progressive education of society to understand the limitations of pseudo science.
However when looking at this from the categorical perspective some would state that it is simply
wrong to contradict the cultural heritage of a society, but it is quite the contrary. It would be wrong
to deny that society access to the empirical evidence which suggest and demonstrate the flaws in
cultural pseudoscientific techniques, but one must not forget that it is the society that will choose
what to do with the evidence.