How to create your own pseudoscience:
1. Appeal to something that most people fear or desire, things like suffering and death, or sex and longevity.
2. Make big promises about having scientific proof that you can relieve any physical illness or emotional pain, or that you can deliver “fantastic” sex or “help” people live for hundreds of years.
3. Use a lot of jargon and weasel words. Throw in words like “quantum” and “energy field” frequently. Make your product sound enormously complex, but couch all your promises with vague expressions like “may help.”
4. To ward off critics who might actually know something about science, lace your promotions with references to government and business conspiracies that are keeping the truth from the general public. Make sure you remind everybody that “science doesn’t know everything” and “science has been wrong before.”
5. Don’t be afraid to make stuff up and lie like a government leader. Even if you are prosecuted for fraud, you’ll just get a lot of valuable publicity for free. The odds of you being made to suffer by a big fine or jail term are near zero. If you do have to pay a fine, change the name of your product and start over again with a few tweaks here and there in your language. You can keep doing this forever, given the kinds of things our law enforcement agencies focus on. And don’t worry about the media investigating you and exposing you for a fraud. They won’t bother you until you’ve been arrested. Even then, they’ll just report that you’ve been charged with an “alleged” crime, which you will deny and turn in your favor by playing the persecution card.
6. Don’t be cheap. Charge an exorbitant amount of money for your product. The more you charge, the more likely people, especially government procurement officers, are going to think that your product is genuine.
7. The ideal pseudoscientific product should be a hand-held device that promises eternal life, perfect health (it should detect and cure all diseases), astounding sex (by enhancing your immune system and your personal energy flow), and can also detect bombs or golf balls with the flip of a switch.
8. Make sure you claim that you have discovered a “secret” that every other scientist in the history of the world has missed. If you’re feeling especially daring, claim to have discovered a new law of nature that has scared the scientific community into trying to silence you.
9. Lace your commercials with testimonials from athletes, washed-up celebrities, and psychics. If you can get Sylvia Browne on board, do so. She has written over twenty books that have made it to The New York Times bestseller list. She’ll be expensive, though, so if you can find someone who looks and sounds like her and will work for scale, do it.
10. Never forget that most people trust celebrities more than they trust scientists, physicians, or government agencies. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
11. Claim that the reason your work has not been published in peer-reviewed journals is because of a conspiracy to keep you silent or that the development of your product has taken all your time and money, so you haven’t had the time or been able to get the funding (because of the conspiracy) to do the studies.
- The Trouble with Pseudoscience – It Can Be a Catastrophe (illuminutti.com)
- Here Be Dragons (Brian Dunning) (illuminutti.com)
- Reflections On A Semester Of Using Pseudoscience To Teach Skeptical Skills (randi.org)
- Nasty pseudoscience and counterproductive behavior (idoubtit.wordpress.com)
- From Belief in Ghosts to the Contradiction of Pseudoscience (audreyking.wordpress.com)