Opinion: Don’t discount the study of pseudoscience

By James Stein Oct 29, 2021

As someone who spends a decent amount of time on TikTok, videos of Johnathan Graziano and his pug, Noodle – more commonly known as the “Bones Pug,” have appeared on my For You Page (FYP) every time I open the app. Every morning, Johnathan stands Noodle up in his bed to see if he will stay standing or flop back down. If Noodle stays standing, he “has bones” and the day will be good, if he flops he has “no bones” and the day may not go well. People have cited their bad days and good days as coinciding with Noodle’s Bones and No Bones days, joking that he has predicted their days. 

Now I know what you’re thinking; people are using an elderly pug named Noodle to predict the universe’s cosmic plan for mankind seems absurd. But the occasionally boneless dog may have some effect on the people that follow him.

 In the world of pseudoscience, people often rely on their own confirmation bias and that of others. In the case of Noodle, people may be experiencing bad things throughout the day on a “No Bones Day,” and their memory focuses more on the negative experience because the dog says that they will have a bad day. The same can be said about good days coinciding with a “Bones Day.” 

This trend reminds me of a lot of people’s views on astrology. In my experience, whenever someone says they are [insert sign], another person will proudly say “I knew it, you seem like an Aries.” Astrology is also considered a pseudoscience as there is no true scientific basis for determining people’s personalities and futures based on the positions of the stars, but the confirmation bias is very real. 

A few weeks ago, I missed an 8 a.m. class and fell down a flight of stairs on the way there. Coincidentally, that was the day Mercury went into retrograde; a phrase commonly associated with people having negative experiences for extended amounts of time. While I personally do not believe in astrology, the timing is hilariously ironic. 

It Noodle has bones on a certain day, or if the stars are aligned a certain way, people find comfort in the idea that some larger force is looking out for them. Pseudoscience is not science, hence the prefix “pseudo,” but the community that people find in harmless trends is real. Just because it is coincidence at best and throwing darts at a board blindfolded at worst, it doesn’t mean that pseudoscience lacks value to the people that participate. 

Similar to religion, not everyone believes in the same thing or they may not believe in anything at all; that doesn’t mean we should discredit the comfort or peace they find in the belief. Allowing people to enjoy their beliefs is the best thing we can do-whether that be reading star charts, choosing their own fate or following the cosmic decisions of an elderly pug.

 

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZM8aeTjsF/

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