Science, Protoscience, Quasi-science, Pseudoscience
Defining key terms - by Mike Moum
Science: a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science is constrained by the requirement that it conform to the real world. It is based on the fundamental belief that the universe is regular and predictable, i.e., that general laws exist, which are discoverable by the human mind, exist and govern the physical world.
Protoscience: an unscientific field of study which later becomes a science. Its foundations are not all based on empirical evidence. It is different than pseudoscience because it is willing to change based on the discovery of new facts and the development of deeper understandings. An example is chemistry, which started out as alchemy but evolved into a real science through observation and experimentation. Another example is astrology, which evolved into astronomy. Note that although astrology has evolved into astronomy, there are still those who practice astrology, which is now considered to be pseudoscience.
Quasi science: An equivalent term for quasi science is "pop science". It is seemingly scientific, and uses the language of science, but does not use its methods and rigor. It involves commonly held beliefs in popular science but which do not meet the criteria for true science. Two examples are time travel and extra-terrestrials living on earth. Quasi science is often discussed in the media, often with breathless and exaggerated headlines. It is similar to pseudoscience, and it can be difficult to distinguish between the two.
Pseudoscience: false (pseudo) science: theories and practices presented as scientific, but lacking supporting evidence, and often contradicted by evidence. Its claims cannot be justified by the scientific method; it is presented as being consistent with norms of scientific research but fails to meet those norms. It is often characterized by contradictory, exaggerated, or unprovable claims, and the absence of systematic processes when developing theories. Pseudoscience is not falsifiable to its proponents - no amount of evidence, no matter how decisive, can demonstrate it to be wrong.
Pseudoscience will be discussed more thoroughly in another thread.
I would like to see in the main subject a forum (not as a subforum) about Baha'is and pseudoscience. Nothing irks me more than Baha'is supporting pseudoscience (especially anti-vax and anti-GMO). I'm certain that there have been science minded seekers that have decided that Baha'i is not worth their while because they have seen a Baha'i promoting woo. IE - It hurts our teaching efforts.