Ranking Pseudoscience in a Tier List
I recently came across this YouTube video from the Professor Stick channel proposing a kind of index for categorizing the different kinds of pseudoscience. The video has been on the YouTube site for almost a year but it's new to me and I've been thinking about how it has been set up and where other pseudoscience not mentioned in the video would be placed in the proposed index.
The proposed index in the video has a "high threat level" S rank at the top of the chart followed underneath by A-F ranks. Each rank level downward on the chart is supposed to represent a decrease in the "threat level" the belief in the given pseudoscience poses to the population.
The main obvious problem with this proposed ranking system is how subjective it is. Being subjective by itself isn't an issue because there are already other subjective ranking systems such as the Starr sting pain scale. Establishing an operational definition for "threat level" would be ideal.
For example, in the video both alternative medicine and anti-vaxxer beliefs are placed in the B rank. Professor Stick doesn't put anti-vax in the A rank because vaccines could be made mandatory for everyone to solve the threat anti-vaxxer beliefs pose. I would disagree with that and going by the proposed pattern put anti-vax beliefs in the A rank. Vaccines being mandatory for everyone is the obvious solution but I know it's not a practical solution. Living in the United States and residing in California I know that not only would certain religious beliefs make forced vaccination against someone's will most likely illegal; you can't impose something on "everyone" when a certain amount of the population isn't well documented to exist.
Maybe I don't completely understand the proposed system and both anti-vax and alternative medicine should indeed be in the B rank. Without a proper definition of how a pseudoscience belief's "threat" is categorized I just assume proposing a solution shouldn't affect the ranking.
What if I add a pseudoscience belief to the proposed tier system not mentioned in the video? For example astrology. Just like believing the Earth is flat belief in astrology can be a gateway to other pseudoscience beliefs such as ESP. Astrology's influence on culture is strong enough that many reputable newspapers have space devoted for horoscopes. Should astrology in Professor Stick's proposed system be ranked D or C?
When I first thought about where astrology should be ranked I thought C would be the proper rank. Later I considered how encompassing the "astrology" term is. Astrologers don't all use the same method. Is it proper to lump together tropical and sidereal astrology as "Western astrology" and therefore equal to Vedic astrology? Is Chinese astrology also supposed to be thrown into the "astrology" term? Maybe some methods of astrology are on a spectrum between D and C based on cultural influence? I am not sure.
If I think too hard the subjective nature of this system becomes amplified. The fault is not in the stars but in ranking. It seems like a good idea but there are issues.
Something less encompassing of a term is overunity or "free energy". Believing that a machine can produce more energy output than the energy put in violates conservation of energy. Belief that the government is suppressing such technology is like believing NASA is hiding evidence that the Earth is flat but I know from my experience with Steemhunt that there are scams that try to cheat people out of their money. Government suppression of overunity devices has the gullibility of the flat Earth D ranking and the literal creation from nothing myth of creationist C ranking.
In the YouTube video there is nothing placed in the E and A ranks. To fill the chart out I would put graphology in the E rank. For the A rank I need something more crazy than fake medicine and almost as huge of a threat to humanity as climate change denial.
Clearly the Church of Spaceship Beep Boop is what I would put in the A rank. Or maybe the S rank. Never less than A so let's just put it in the A rank by itself so it can think about what it's done.