> 《If I had obtained a copy, years of my life would have been spared from my quixotic project of trying to develop psi and become a Bran before Martin wrote his novel!》
I never understood people unable to detect pseudoscience. There can certainly be naïve and unrealistic designs, such as an idea of advancing a White Juche policy through the European Parliament. But that is a question of the odds, and of the evaluation thereof, however imperfect. Whereas literal magic? With literal cult leaders? (I have nothing against cults, but only as political parties à la Kurginian’s.)
It’s like with that one local Ukrainian boomer who believes kids in the 1990s were induced by playing computer games to jump off the rooftops because virtual reality is scary… I’m not joking, this is a thing I heard in 2021 CE! I wish I could introduce the said boomer to AI Dungeon (or Dreamily/Kobold/Novel/Holo AI).
Maybe, it has something to do with my affinity for history? Not a single battle was decided by a wizard (even in Middle-earth). Recovered alien technology cannot plausibly be kept secret for 70 years. And so on.
> 《…in 1985 I had the opportunity to realise that the foundations of the ‘science’ I was studying were shaky.》
On an unrelated note, I believe there to be two kinds of pseudoscience – one stemming from inside, and the other from outside science.
1. The science-inspired pseudoscience appears to me more common in Russia (and possibly the rest of Asia). In part, it tries to use the veneer of science to force humanities to conform to a naturalistic view – such as in Marxism, or in the Gumilev’s anti-Marxist yet Marxist-inspired passionarity theory (“ideological fervour is caused by cosmic rays”). The popular Soviet Russian notions that cold showers improve health, or that solar flares induce weather pains too fall in this category.
What impresses me is that Russian scientists overall lack an understanding of science, or at least lack a mechanism, a scientific consensus, a peer review procedure to weed out the quacks – for another side to this category is a number of seemingly-honest scientists who derive ridiculous conclusions from innocuous data – such as my physics teacher who tried to prove dowsing scientifically. Historians and philologists may fall here, too, although they often happen to be malicious con artists. The Nostratic language hypothesis is formulated in good faith, Scythian toponymy in Ukraine is borderline consensus (but can easily spill into schizophasia), Fomenko is unadulterated nonsense.
2. It is my impression that for whatever reason, America has proven to be immune to this kind of pseudoscience. Scientology and chiropractic remain firmly beyond the bounds of the thinkable. But here, the danger is from without.
The West doesn’t even pretend to mask its Christian ideology. America is a country of victorious faith, of triumphant love. Not a single other religion has challenged Jesus-worship there. Therefore, it is the primacy of Judaism that is given precedence there. The clearest example is the racial science (buzzworded into “scientific racism”) whose entire terminology, prospects, names and repute fell in an instant ca. 1945. Still, it is a testament to the honesty and efficiency of the American science that modern racists can cite recognised post-1945 data, such as twin studies – it is as if the scientists chose to abandon the old language and the old hopes, with their method’s remaining sound nonetheless – in the limited application and reach thereof.
Curiously enough, psychiatry would fall into the first category of pseudoscience – a veneer of pseudoscientific jargon masking bunk Chinese acupuncture. (That said, I have nothing against the use of psychiatry as torture against anti-racist Christian scum, the way Andropov the Apostate did.)