Myth: Real science is easily distinguished from pseudoscience.
Fact: This is what philosophers call the problem of demarcation: One of Popper’s principal motives in proposing his standard of falsifiability was precisely to provide a means of demarcation between real science and impostors. For example, Einstein’s theory of relativity (with which Popper was deeply impressed) made clear predictions that could certainly be falsified if they were not correct. In contrast, Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis (with which Popper was far less impressed) could never be proven wrong. Thus, to Popper, relativity was science but psychoanalysis was not. As I’ve already shown, real scientists don’t do as Popper says they should.
But quite aside from that, there is another problem with Popper’s criterion (or indeed any other criterion) for demarcation: would-be scientists read books, too. If it becomes widely accepted (and to some extent it has) that falsifiable predictions are the signature of real science, then pretenders to the throne of science will make falsifiable predictions, too.14 There is no simple, mechanical criterion for distinguishing real science from something that is not real science. That certainly doesn’t mean, however, that the job can’t be done. As I discuss below, the Supreme Court, in the Daubert decision, has made a respectable stab at showing how to do it.