Differences between science and pseudoscience

Both science and pseudoscience refer to the knowledge obtained about a particular fact. Therefore, many times both terms are used to refer to a type of science, so there is often confusion about it.

In this article we will present a clear definition of each term, in order to clarify possible doubts, highlighting the most important differences that exist between them.


Science is known as the knowledge obtained from the observation of regular patterns, reasoning and experimentation in specific fields. From which questions are formulated that generate hypotheses and that lead to the elaboration of laws, affirmations, theories and statements.

The word science comes from the Latin -scientĭa-, which means knowledge. Therefore, science is the structured knowledge that we have about something and that consists of a series of ordered and systematized steps that aim to obtain knowledge.

On the other hand, the method used by different disciplines to become a science is the scientific method. Through it, assumptions or hypotheses are formulated that, after being verified, give as results statements or theories that are translated into knowledge.

Likewise, there are different types of sciences, among which we can mention:

  • The formal sciences: they are those that study ideas and are made up of mathematics and logic.
  • The factual sciences: study the events that occur in the world. For this reason they have to appeal to experience to contrast their formulas and obtain knowledge. In turn, the factual sciences are divided into:

2.1)  Natural sciences : such as biology, chemistry and physics.

2.2)   Social sciences : such as sociology, economics, political science and history.

2.3) Biosocial sciences: such as anthropology, demography, social psychology, bioeconomics, among others.


Disciplines that present themselves as sciences are known as pseudoscience, since they imitate their forms but are not recognized as such by the traditional scientific community. This is because they do not have the rigor of conventional science, that is, they do not follow the structured steps that science uses to produce knowledge.

That is why pseudosciences use the claims of supposed specialists in certain areas. Which issue statements based, generally, on deductions and unverified assumptions from experimentation.

Therefore, numerology, ufology and astrology are pseudosciences, since they start from unproven statements and assumptions. In this sense, ufology, for example, assumes that there is extraterrestrial life and presents some information and assumptions that cannot be scientifically verified.

As can be seen, there are clear and notable differences between science and pseudoscience, among which we can mention:

  • The sciences produce knowledge from the verification of hypotheses while the pseudosciences produce statements from assumptions and deductions that are not scientifically proven.
  • Science is based on experimental results while pseudoscience is based on anecdotal results.
  • Science takes into account favorable and unfavorable results to continue advancing until reaching the truth, while pseudoscience takes into account the favorable results and leaves aside the unfavorable results that it considers critical.
  • Science uses well-defined concepts and magnitudes to describe and analyze phenomena while pseudoscience uses its own concepts developed based on assumptions and deductions.

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