Science is also distinguishable from revelation, theology, or spirituality in that it offers insight into the physical world obtained by empirical research and testing.   The most notable disputes concern the evolution of living organisms, the idea of common descent, the geologic history of the Earth, the formation of the solar system, and the origin of the universe.  Systems of belief that derive from divine or inspired knowledge are not considered pseudoscience if they do not claim either to be scientific or to overturn well-established science. Moreover, some specific religious claims, such as the power of intercessory prayer to heal the sick , although they may be based on untestable beliefs, can be tested by the scientific method.
This demarcation criterion of usefulness has the advantage of being bottom-up instead of top-down, egalitarian instead of elitist, nondiscriminatory instead of prejudicial. Let science consumers in the marketplace of ideas determine what constitutes good science, starting with the scientists themselves and filtering through the editors, educators and readers. As for potential consumers of pseudoscience, that’s what skeptics are for, but as always, caveat emptor.
His review, and my reading of the published research, are very consistent with the typical pattern of biased research into a treatment that does not work. We see lots of small and poor quality studies, the kinds that are almost guaranteed to generate false positive results.
Pseudoscience appeals to the truth-criteria of scientific
methodology while simultaneously denying their validity.
Thus, a procedurally invalid experiment which seems to show that astrology works is advanced as "proof" that astrology is correct, while thousands of procedurally sound experiments that show it does not work are ignored. The fact that someone got away with simple magic tricks in one scientific lab is "proof" that he is a psychic superman, while the fact that he was caught cheating in several other labs is ignored.
Photos via and flickr user clairewinterphotography .