Pseudoscience comes to Thursday Forum

Extra: Lonnie Zingula, Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8613 or

2011-02-17 11:36:54 - General

Coe College’s Thursday Forum lecture series delves into the world of junk science, scientific fraud and all manner of pseudoscience in March.

Physics Professor Mario Affatigato, a 1989 graduate of the college, will guide attendees from the days of elixir sellers to modern concerns about government interference in the interpretation and reporting of science. Called “Pseudoscience: A Modern Disease,” the series will introduce participants to colorful characters like the mysterious Count who sold a “sniffer plane” to the French government, costing the President a re-election; the case of Pons and Fleishmann and cold fusion; and the intriguing Royal Commission, with Benjamin Franklin as a member, that debunked Franz Mesmer.

The four-part series opens March 3. The lectures will explore cases of fraud by scientists, the junk science used to befuddle the public, and the generalized, genuine delusion of pseudoscience. Affatigato will discuss ways to avoid being taken in by pseudoscience. He will also address the economic costs of doing nothing about it. Finally, Affatigato will pose the question: is pseudoscience a modern social disease?

Thursday Forum lectures are held in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with coffee and pastries from 8:45-9:15 a.m., followed by the class until 11:30 a.m. Each series concludes with a luncheon on the final Thursday.

The courses are open to all adults and registration is on-site. The cost is $10 per week or $30 for a four-week course. Gift certificates are available. For more information about the Coe College Thursday Forum lecture series, call (319) 399-8619.

Thursday Forum schedule:

  • “Pseudoscience: A Modern Disease” – March 3, 10, 17, 24.
  • “Great Hollywood Film Directors of the 1930s: The ‘Foreign’ Influence” – April 7, 14, 21, 28. (With 2 p.m. Saturday screenings on April 16, 23 and 30.)
  • “Plato and the ‘Republic’” – May 5, 12, 19, 26.