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Cargo Cult Science

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Cargo Cult Science

Post  Don on Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:21 pm

This will be a talk about the so-called "cargo cults" that sprung up in Melanesia in the wake of World War II and how they can be used as an extremely effective rhetorical analogue for pseudoscience. Not to bring back bad SAT or GRE memories, but Cargo Cults::WWII Cargo Transport as Pseudoscience::Science; the first is simply an ignorant mirror of the surface qualities of the second.

Title: Cargo Cult Science
Brief Description: In the wake of World War II, many Melanesian tribes adopted new religious practices. They began worshiping a new god and exhorting him for "cargo," imitating as best they could the behaviors of the Allies who had used their island homes as staging areas for resource distribution. These "cargo cults" are are powerful example of the speed at which elaborate belief systems can form, and are an equally powerful analogue for pseudoscience and those that practice it. What can Melanesian tribes teach us about the difference between science and pseudoscience? Attend this talk to find out.
Speakers: Don Riefler and Tom Foss
Date/Time: Saturday afternoon, most likely
Length: 1 hour
Equipment Needed: Laptop, Projector, Screen, maybe a mic
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Don
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