There are differing definitions of fringe science. By one definition (see below) it is valid, but not mainstream, science, whilst by another broader definition it is generally viewed in a negative way as being non-scientific.
- Fringe science is scientific inquiry in an established field of study that departs significantly from mainstream or orthodox theories, and is classified in the "fringes" of a credible mainstream academic discipline.
- Three classifications of scientific ideas have been identified (center, frontier, fringe) with mainstream scientists typically regarding fringe concepts as highly speculative or even strongly refuted. However, according to Rosenthal "Accepted science may merge into frontier science, which in turn may merge into more far-out ideas, or fringe science. Really wild ideas may be considered beyond the fringe, or pseudoscientific."
- A particular concept that was once accepted by the mainstream scientific community can become fringe science because of a later evaluation of previously supportive research. For example the idea that focal infections of the tonsils or teeth were a primary cause of systemic disease was once considered medical fact, but is now dismissed for lack of evidence. Conversely, fringe science can include novel proposals and interpretations that initially have only a few supporters and much opposition. Some theories which were developed on the fringes (for example, continental drift, existence of Troy, heliocentrism, the Norse colonization of the Americas, and Big Bang Theory) have become mainstream because of the discovery of supportive evidence.
- Fringe science covers everything from novel hypotheses that can be tested via scientific method to wild ad hoc theories and "New Age mumbo jumbo" with the dominance of the latter resulting in the tendency to dismiss all fringe science as the domain of pseudoscientists, hobbyists, or quacks. Other terms used for the portions of fringe science that lack scientific integrity are pathological science, voodoo science, and cargo cult science. Junk science is a term typically used in the political arena to describe ideas that proponents erroneously, for political reasons, dubiously or even fraudulently claim scientific backing.
In the philosophy of science, the question of where to properly draw a boundary between science and non-science, when the objective actually is objectivity, is called the demarcation problem. Compounding this issue is that proponents of some fringe theories use both proper scientific evidence and outlandish claims to support their arguments.
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... Fringe theatre is theatre that is not of the mainstream ... The term comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which name comes from Robert Kemp, who described the unofficial companies performing at the same time as the second Edinburgh International Festival (19 ... term has since been adopted by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and thence by alternative theatres and alternative theatre festivals ...
... Fringe may refer to Fringe (hair), that part of the hair overhanging the forehead, also known as bangs in American English Fringe (trim), an ornamental appendage to the border of an item Fringe (TV ... television series Fringe party, a political party in a national spectrum with a negligible share of the electorate Fringe Product, a record label ...
Famous quotes containing the words science and/or fringe:
“Everything is becoming science fiction. From the margins of an almost invisible literature has sprung the intact reality of the 20th century.”
—J.G. (James Graham)
“Look carefully through all the claims pressing upon you in your complicated life, and decide once and for all what it is that is the one really important and overmastering duty in it, and should be the one dominating aim. Then remember that if you succeed in that, the others, so multifarious, are really no more than the fringe of the garment, and that you need not spend so much anxiety over them, provided that the one most important is faithfully attended to.”
—Anna C. Brackett (18361911)