Literature & Scholarship

Pseudoscience and orthodoxy

The term ‘pseudoscientist’ is a bit like ‘heretic’. To be a pseudoscientist is to be accused; you don’t describe yourself as a pseudoscientist. … So there was a lot of pseudoscience about in the Cold War decades, but the category – not the content – was manufactured by orthodox scientists concerned about maintaining the boundaries of legitimacy but unable to find a stable and coherent way of defining what the category consisted of, other than its violation of valued structures of plausibility.

From Steven Shapin’s excellent review of Michael Gordin’s The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe. Go read the whole review. Then go read the book.