pseudoscience; think tanks and other ngo’s in math education in particular

Ben Wilbrink




Greg Thompson, Glenn C. Savage & Bob Lingard (2015). Think tanks, edu-businesses and education policy: issues of evidence, expertise and influence. Aust. Educ. Res. DOI 10.1007/s13384-015-0195-y download




Ben Williamson (2015). Governing methods: policy innovation labs, design and data science in the digital governance of education. Journal of Educational Administration and History open access




Sotiria Grek 2014. OECD as a site of co-production: European education governance and the new politics of ‘policy mobilization’. Critical policy studies, 8 (3), 266-281. doi: 10.1080/19460171.2013.862503 abstract




Steven E. Phelan (2001). What Is Complexity Science, Really? Emergence, 3, 120-136. pdf


On constructivism, also.



Paul Thagard (1988). Computational philosophy of science. MIT Press. isbn 0262700484 info, Chapter 2: pdf


Ch. 9 on pseudoscience. Resemblance thinking: isn’t situationism a form of that resemblance thinking?




To English readers: my priority is to write in English. Sometimes, however, it is better fo formulate fresh ideas in one’s mother tongue, to come back later and translate them. Sorry for this ;-) Anyhow, most of the available literature is in English.


My goal is to find demarcations between science and pseudo-science. Take ‘pseudo-science’ literally: work that in essence is not scientific whatsoever, yet parades as scientific in almost all relevant aspects: professorates, promotions, academic institutions, academic journals. A lot easier to deconstruct: eduquackery like that of Sir Ken Robinson, Sugata Mitra, etcetera. In between the devastating work by institutions such as OECD’s educational operations (PISA etcetera), think tanks, testing industries; in short: organisations that have a stake in money, fame, or simply to prolong their existence.


Examples of pseudo-science: the writings of Hans Freudenthal on math education, such as his China lectures (annotations here).




On Google Scholar:




Sven Ove Hansson (2008; revised 2014). Science and Pseudo-Science. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy webpagina


A fine start for the journey. Rich list of references.



Imre Lakatos (1973/1978). Science and pseudoscience. In John Worrall & Gregory Currie (Eds.) (1978/1980). Imre Lakatos. The methodology of scientific research programmes. Philosophical papers Volume 1 (1-7). Cambridge University Press. isbn 0521280311 pdf


De volgende bijdrage in het boek is van Paul Thagard: Why astrology is a pseudoscience



Stephen A. McKnight (Ed.) (1992). Science, pseudo-science, and utopianism in early modern thought. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. isbn 0826208355 reviewed


Brengt pseudoscience in verband met utopean attitudes. Dat is behulpzaam, want dat brengt ons bijvoorbeeld bij werk van Hans Achterhuis, zeker ook dat over de ideologie of nepwetenschap van de vrije markt.



Hans Achterhuis (2010). De utopie van de vrije markt. Lemniscaat. isbn 9789047702573 info


Achterhuis is niet alleen van belang voor die in het neoliberalisme zo zichtbare band tussen nepwetenschap en utopie: het neoliberalisme heeft evident ook een enorme invloed op tal van huidige onderwijsideologieën: ontwikkeling individuele talenten, op het individu gericht onderwijs, de leerling die zijn eigen leren bepaalt (‘het nieuwe leren’), ondernemers onbelemmerd invloed op het onderwijs geven (ict-industrie; toetsfabrikanten; werkgevers).



Ben Wilbrink & Marco Roos (1991). Strategic science policy and organizational structures in the engineering sciences. ARHO/AWT. EAIR European Association for Institutional Research, 13th international forum 1st-4th September 1991, Napier Polytechnic, Edinburgh Scotland. Proceedings 'Managing the higher education environment' p. 347-360.


Waarom deze verwijzing? Er zit een interessante spanning in de thematiek van disciplinariteit in de wetenschappen: de discipline ‘disciplineert’ en bewaakt zodoende de kwaliteit van de wetenschapsbeoefening, maar tegelijkertijd loopt de discipline het risico het contact met andere disciplines te verwaarlozen en zodoende van de wetenschap af te dwalen. Het omgekeerde kan dus eveneens gebeuren: dat maatschappelijke/ideologische groeperingen academische status zoeken en verwerven, maar een sectarisch Fremdkörper binnen de wereldwijde academische gemeenschap blijven — een pseudo-wetenschap.



Dominique Lecourt (1976/1977). Proletarian science? The case of Lysenko. NLB. isbn 902308696 (Introduction by Louis Althusser) pdf




Gert Biesta (2010). Why ‘What Works’ Still Won’t Work: From Evidence-Based Education to Value-Based Education. Stud Philos Educ (2010) 29:491-503 DOI 10.1007/s11217-010-9191-x




René van Hezewijk (8 januari 2015). Data zijn geen kennis. Afscheidscollege pdf


Schitterend college. Wat is het om wetenschappelijk te redeneren? Of zoiets. Hommage aan de Poppers en de Linschotens van de academische wereld. Tegengif voor de nepwetenschap.



Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek J. Koehler & Jonathan A. Fugelsang (2015). On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. Judgment and Decision Making, 10, 549-563. pdf




Marsha P. Hanen, Margaret J. Olser, Robert G. Weyant. Science, Pseudo-science, and Society no access; Reviewed by Roy Wallis Social Studies of Science, 12 477-480




A. A. Derksen (1993). The seven sins of pseudo-science. Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 24, 17-42. preview




Frank Cioffi (1975). Freud and the idea of a pseudo-science. In Robert Borger & Frank Cioffi (1975). Explanation in the behavioral sciences (471-499, + comment & reply 500-515). Cambridge University Press. isbn 0521099056


More recent position of Cioffi in Pigliucci & Boudry 2014



David L. Hull (1988). Science as a process. An evolutionary account of the social and conceptual development of science. The University of Chicago Press. isbn 0226360504 info




Tom Cahill (Nov 15, 2015). How These 5 Famous Billionaires Are Dismantling Black Public Schools. blog


Brand of pseudo-science being promoted by US billionaires (the big school robbery) via @drvcourt via @DianeRavitch



Harry Frankfurt (2005). On bullshit. pdf




Benjamin Riley (Feb 19, 2016). Driving out the snake oil in education. Deans for Impact blog via @AceThatTest




Maria Popova (not dated). The Baloney Detection Kit: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking. page




Atul Gawande (June 10, 2016). The mistruct of science. The New Yorker page




Yana Weinstein (Sept 14, 2016). How do you know which study tips to pass on to your students? Put your trust in science. TES download




Daniel T. Willingham (2012). When can you trust the experts? How to tell good science from bad in education. Jossey-Bass. isbn 9781118130278




Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr & Derek J. Koehler, Jonathan A. Fugelsang (2015). On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 549–563




Hard and Soft Obscurantism in the Humanities and Social Sciences Jon Elster (2012). pdf




Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Linn & Jeffrey M. Lohr (Eds.) (2004). Science and pseudoscience in clinical psychology. The Guilford Press. 1593850700 info on 2014 edition




Pigliucci, Massimo; Boudry, Maarten; and more (2014). Philosophy of Pseudoscience University of Chicago Press [KB eBook] info




Lack, Caleb W., PhD; Rousseau, Jacques, MA (2016). Critical Thinking, Science, and Pseudoscience. Why we can’t trust our brains Springer Publishing Company 2016 [KB eBook]




Gregory J. Feist (2006). The psychology of science and the origins of the scientific mind. Yale University Press. isbn 030011074X




Journal: Science & Pseudo-Scieces http://www.pseudo-sciences.org/




Maarten Boudry & Filip A. Buekens (2011). The Epistemic Predicament of a Pseudoscience: Social Constructivism Confronts Freudian Psychoanalysis. researchgate




Susan Haack (2003). Defending science - within reason. Between scientism and cynicism. Prometheus Books. 1591021170