It is curious to see that there are people, often in possession of educational qualifications and with every possibility of access to the world of information, who feel tremendously attracted to pseudosciences. Homeopathy, reiki, family constellations or astrology, attract the attention of an audience that hopes to have answers to questions on areas that have nothing to do with science itself.
Psychologists, scientists and sociologists have never stopped wondering why some people believe in something that cannot be proven. Writer and scientific historian Michael Shermer, in his book Why People Believe Weird Things ( Why People Believe Strange Things), states that among the causes are a lack of critical thinking, a decline in reading and a consequent increase in television, as well as fear of science or education.
It is evident that if something attracts us, it is because there is a basic positive reinforcement, and this is very well known by the gurus who are dedicated to the dissemination of theories that have no scientific basis.
The convenience of pseudoscience
Apparently, people feel comfortable following the different pseudosciences because, let’s say, they are easy to put into practice. Psychological therapies, on the other hand, necessarily require the implementation of various scientifically supported strategies or techniques that are not pleasant at all, but which will be able to make the disorder disappear.
The pseudosciences, on the other hand, do not make you feel frustration, emotional changes and do not expose you to your fears. Result? The person is fascinated by the simple fact of feeling understood and not having to leave their comfort zone. He does not have to exert himself as a therapy would suppose, and therefore does not suffer from the consequences of scientifically proven drugs.
While not healing, contact with pseudoscience acts as a positive reinforcement, as it eliminates discomfort, effort or sacrifice. Until the customer is convinced of their effective functioning.
Pseudoscience acts as a palliative to cognitive dissonance: the contradiction that sometimes exists between what we think and what we actually do. It is much easier to think “there is no solution to my problem” than to expose yourself to the momentary suffering that therapies often involve. What you are looking for is nothing more than the confirmation of your beliefs, which, however, have no foundation.
Furthermore, pseudosciences are not only easy and comfortable for the patient. Those who put them into practice do not need great efforts to become a ” professional “. There is no need for titles, years of effort and official practices – the mere fact that someone teaches them a few concepts is more than enough.
The pseudosciences and despair
Faith in pseudoscience appears not to be due solely to cognitive dissonance or convenience. It also exploits the desperation of some people who believe that there is no cure for their illnesses or those of their families. This leads them to search for alternative solutions.
When you have nothing to lose, you cling to what you find, regardless of the consequences. The problem is that the consequences, most of the time, are the patient’s worsening – the pseudosciences create iatrogenesis – and his economic ruin. Necessity has the face of the heretic, it is said in these cases, and it is absolutely true.
Maybe if these people learned to accept how hard life can sometimes be, everything would be easier. The truth is that science is the only one able to give answers to the problems we face, whether they are of a psychological or physical nature, and if on some occasions its influence seems to be limited, it is only because there is still no one. cure for that problem.
The problem lies not in the stupidity, but in the lack of information. For this reason, it is always good to inquire about existing scientific studies before making any decision or consult a professional – true – if you do not want to end up in the hands of charlatans.
Let us first of all try to practice rational thinking and have faith in the empirical. There are many professionals who work every day to find solutions, truths and causes. Anything that does not concern these studies is pure fantasy.