I have heard about the word “pseudoscience” in my psy101 class, it was defined as some things or claims which can’t be proved by science and I can’t tell apart from “science”, “non-science” and “pseudoscience”. The boundaries separating them are fuzzy, unclear, and I never include “physiognomy” into pseudoscience but I do now.
So, the example I would like to have here is physiognomy, which people analyze one’s destiny through facial features. This is a Chinese traditional, the earliest record of the physiognomy can be traced back to the spring and autumn of the 7th century BC. According to the relevant literature, the physiognomy has started to prevail in the upper class at the latest in the Spring and Autumn Period. At that time, many aristocrats had already chosen the family heirs as the basis for judging the facts, the appearance of fortune-telling was obviously not the case of its initial occurrence. In the record period of the “Zuo Zhuan” it is universal and has formed a certain system of physiognomy. The theoretical system of physiognomy is based on the yin and yang theory of five elements, and it takes human experience to enrich the methods. Many of the conclusions of the physiognomy are precisely the conclusions drawn by a large number of divisions in the past several thousand years after they have studied and judged the relationship between various facial features of the human body and the trend of life. Because of this, although the theoretical system of facial philosophy is based on the theory of Yin-Yang and Five Elements, the conclusion is based on a large amount of statistical data, so its applicability has a reliable basis. Many of the conclusions in physiognomy, even when measured in terms of modern science, can be found in the modern sciences such as human physiology and genetics.
As we can say physiognomy is a “pseudoscience” which has somehow based on some scientific data collection in the past thousand years, but it is too prejudiced to indicate one’s future by one’s facial feature because everyone would be unique and unpredictable. But still many people considered physiognomy as a science rather than pseudoscience for its long-histories and our predecessors proved this as a believable science to us. So as this class before, I believe physiognomy as a “non-science”, however, I can see it is science-based in the data collection area and it is really hard to prove it into a real science.

One thought on “WEEK1

  1. I found the topic you chose to write about is fascinating! Grew up in China, I am pretty familiar with the notion of “physiognomy” and some of the rules.
    I believe that physiognomy is commonly accepted not only by people in China but also folks from many other countries in Asia. I like the historical background information you included in your paragraph because I did not know that the many aristocrats choose the family heirs as the basis for judging the facts. I also did not realize that the appearance of fortune-telling was not the initial occurrence of physiognomy.
    I agree that the unique theoretical system of Yin-Yang and Five Elements that facial philosophy based on is too abstruse to judge. In addition, physiognomy does require a significant amount of statistical data as the basis on the human body to come up with the conclusions. However, its reliability is instead a lack of precision since everyone’s measurement might be slightly different. I am very interested in how the applicability of physiognomy is going to change in modern society according to the facial plastic surgeries.
    I heard about physiognomy in my life all the time, but I never considered any connections between this and Pseudoscience. Your analysis on figuring out whether physiognomy is pseudoscience or not is very interesting. I totally agree with your opinion that it is too prejudiced to decide one’s future merely based on his or her facial features since everyone is unique and unpredictable.

Leave a Reply