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Signs That You’re on a Pseudo-scientific Site That’s Trying to Con You into Buying Something

September 23, 2010


The site, almost invariably, has zero design and artistic taste, in terms of fonts, colours, or just general aesthetics. This is usually the first warning sign.

To make matters worse, the site never seems to have a navigation menu. Instead, everything is crammed into one extremely long page, significantly shortening the life expectancy of your mouse wheel.

The ‘professionals’ behind the ‘science’ almost always seem to have multiple PhD’s in various fields, except in the field that they are challenging.

Even if one or more of them seem to have genuine qualifications in the relevant field, they’re mostly from minor, obscure institutes that they have parted ways with many years ago.

The central premise of the ‘challenge’ is hammered home ad nauseum in big, brightly-coloured text — almost with every other full page scroll (see 2nd point above). Short term memory? Maybe, considering that it’s quite likely I have forgotten what you’re talking about while trying to keep track of where I am exactly in this freakin’ skyscraper of a page.

The ‘testimonials’ and glowing product reviews by other ‘professionals’ are mostly made up. A quick search on the identity of the review and testimonial writers shows that either they don’t exist, or have no significant qualification or reputation in their fields that could add any credibility to the product they’re endorsing. Remember, some people still have the ability to be excellent scientists in the lab on a weekday, and devout churchgoers who believe ridiculous stuff over the weekend. (See: Francis Collins)

If the product is a book, there’s a 50/50 chance you will NOT find it on Amazon. (Self-published, anyone?) Even if you do, the 5-star ‘reviews’ are obviously written by the same people in the previous point, and they’re offset nicely by 1-star reviews from people who, quite rightly, are wondering if the whole thing is just a parody.

Having said that — if you have a rational, functioning brain, then you’ll recognise the whole con job right away, and you don’t really need a checklist like the above to help you.

From → Humour

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