Intervention: PseudoScience in a Scientific Forum

by | Nov 7, 2018 | Artwork #3: Intervene, Projects

Artist Statement:

Originally, I thought that I might do something with forums and the weirdos that crop up around them. At about the same time, Youtube started recommending me the Spirit Science youtube channel, a channel devoted to pseudoscience like merkhaba forcefields, chakras, etc (with racist overtones of Jews being a benign race of aliens from space for added measure)

I decided to inject pseudoscience into a scientific forum, and, taking inspiration from Spirit Science and the “documentaries” posted on their official website, as well as the Yes Men and their act as presenting as a group they do not actually side with as a way to bring light to issues that are not actually visible in normal life. Specifically, I was influenced by the Bhopal hoax, where one of the Yes Men pretended to be a spokesman for Dow Chemical, the way I pretended to be a believer of pseudoscience.

My intervention attempted to push pseudoscience into visibility as a problem on a scientific forum. (honestly, there was already a lot of pseudoscience, and most of it was phrased less carefully and sensically than what I produced, such as arm whip man, featured below)

(I think there might be something wrong with the quality of the images, but you already saw them in my presentation)

I only managed to present two questions, each of which was taken down from the general public eye really quickly, though they can still be found with a little searching. The first was in the Genetics section of the forum, asking if it was possible to use CRISPR, a genetic manipulation tool currently in development as a possible way to cure cancer and other genetic issues, to unlock chakras, spiritual centers of energy in a person’s body, with major points running down the middle of the body. This strange blend of real and fictional is a trademark of pseudoscience, and what makes it seem to make at least some sense to the occasional person.  Only one person got to see my post before it was locked by moderators and the person used that opportunity to mock the question, likening the dubious existence of chakras to the invisible dragon beneath his chair.

My second question was in Earth Science, asking what minerals were considered “safe” as healing crystals, since magnets could warp a soul out of shape, and chalcanthite could upset a body’s copper stores (a reference to the fact that chalcanthite is poisonous partially due to its high copper content). That one was locked by moderators instantly.

After that second question, I got banned, and then banned again when I made a second account, with a similar name and liked the post where the mods mentioned banning me.