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Old 3rd September 2014, 01:32 AM   #2721
steenkh
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I found liqiudspacetime's reuse of Einstein's e=mc^2 into his own A=Mc^2 particular elucidating.

He had constantly been badgered for an equation to make predictions for his theory, and he probably took the only one he knew and changed it for his own use - completely without understanding the consequences.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 04:43 AM   #2722
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And parts of physics are pretty dry and dull so if our Woo Slinger is using the good old fashioned techniques of Word Salad, Wall 'O Text, or the Gish Gallop (as most are want to do) combined with the content of these massive walls of nutty text not being words or sentences but equations or snippits of technical descriptions taken out of context it becomes almost too much to even bother to argue against.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 05:19 AM   #2723
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
I think this is the best analysis of the making of a crank theory. It is a pity we cannot find a crank (or a reformed crank, if they exist?) to support it.
That's an interesting point actually. We see quite a few people who used to believe in conspiracies, or believed they were psychic, or whatever, but have since educated themselves and are now much more skeptical not just of that original belief but just in general. However, I can't recall ever seeing something similar from a physics crackpot. From time to time you see someone declare how stupid they were to believe in an electric universe when clearly expanding hollow Earth is the correct belief, but I don't think I've ever seen someone go from believing in an electric universe to actually accepting real physics.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 06:37 AM   #2724
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
... From time to time you see someone declare how stupid they were to believe in an electric universe when clearly expanding hollow Earth is the correct belief, but I don't think I've ever seen someone go from believing in an electric universe to actually accepting real physics.
If I wanted to be naughty I'd cite John Gribbin and The Jupiter Effect.
Quote:
In April 1982, Gribbin and Plagemann published a lesser-selling book, The Jupiter Effect Reconsidered. In it they theorized that the effect had actually taken place in 1980, despite the lack of planetary alignment then, and that had triggered the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens.
In his book, The Little Book of Science (pub. 1999), Dr. Gribbin admitted about his "Jupiter Effect" theory "...I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it."
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jupiter_Effect
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Old 3rd September 2014, 06:48 AM   #2725
DeiRenDopa
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
That's an interesting point actually. We see quite a few people who used to believe in conspiracies, or believed they were psychic, or whatever, but have since educated themselves and are now much more skeptical not just of that original belief but just in general. However, I can't recall ever seeing something similar from a physics crackpot. From time to time you see someone declare how stupid they were to believe in an electric universe when clearly expanding hollow Earth is the correct belief, but I don't think I've ever seen someone go from believing in an electric universe to actually accepting real physics.
How about Hossein Turner: Critical Issues for Electric Universe Proponents. Here's the last para:

Originally Posted by Hossein Turner
On the whole, the EU has some serious issues to resolve and questions to answer if it wishes to recover or even build-up its credibility within the global scientific community. For now, it gives me the impression that the majority of EU proponents spend most of their time selectively attacking or promoting pieces of other peoples' work, without doing enough analytical or problem-solving work of their own. It also seems to be a group that attracts the naivety of the layman who may be too easily persuaded by novel and original niche theories with little quantitative meat on the bones of the theory. In reality, astrophysics is a hard science that requires many hours of detailed study and an aptitude for interdisciplinary learning. This apparent (and often counterintuitive) difficulty however, should not put people off in their endeavours to further their understanding of our mysterious and complex universe.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 06:50 AM   #2726
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How does one account for the occasional accomplished professional who strays outside of his/her own field to advocate crackpot ideas? Linus Pauling and vitamin C come to mind. Does it not seem to be a manifestation of narcissism re-enforced (in this case) by a Nobel prize?
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Old 3rd September 2014, 06:55 AM   #2727
thedopefishlives
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
How does one account for the occasional accomplished professional who strays outside of his/her own field to advocate crackpot ideas? Linus Pauling and vitamin C come to mind. Does it not seem to be a manifestation of narcissism re-enforced (in this case) by a Nobel prize?
We see this a lot in the conspiracy theory area: Engineers tend to be susceptible to this, for reasons we have discussed at length in that forum. In some cases it may well be narcissism, in other cases it may be a predilection for engineers to latch on to a mental problem and try to solve it using the principles that they know. In the case of conspiracy theories, many times, the principles that they know form an incomplete picture of the actual intricacies involved in the "questionable evidence" they are purporting to debunk, resulting in arrival at the wrong conclusions. So it seems to be with crackpot physics: Someone in a tangentially related field knows enough about, say, electromagnetism to be dangerous; but with no knowledge of real quantum physics, his theory of nuclear binding via Coulomb attraction falls flat on its face.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 07:29 AM   #2728
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
In physics, there is a lot more emphasis on broader theories that explain stuff. So there may be more of an interest among crackpots to create a theory in physics in the absence (or despite) actual experimental evidence, whereas very few biologists do that.
Yeah I think its certainly a factor at least.

In my mind I keep coming back to something. Think back on this board to the Woo Slingers that... well there's this wonderful turn of phrase from someone and I've blanked on who exactly but it defined a "fanatic" as someone that couldn't change their mind and wouldn't change the subject. Yeah think of those charming individuals we have and have had on this board that hijack every topic with their pet idea. Usually they fall into two broad catagories, physics Woos or philosophy Woos. And it's all because of the broadness of the topics as they define it.

If your Woo is in certain very broad topics, like physics or "philosophy" then you can waltz into pretty much any thread and in your mind not hijack it.

It's a terrible perversion of Carl Sagan's "In order to make an apple pie from scratch you must first make the universe" addage, but twisted into "You can't talk about this article about a new view on subatomic particle interaction until you address my idea that the universe is a giant snot bubble."
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Old 5th September 2014, 04:47 PM   #2729
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Here is some more physics crackpottery from a century ago:

Source: Simon Newcomb, The reminiscences of an astronomer, 1903, pp. 381, 383-384 -- at books.google.com

He had a lot of experience with anti-gravity crackpots, like one who seemed very indignant at its acceptance, starting a long and impassioned speech with "It seems to me that the astronomers of the present day have gravitation on the brain". But he once encountered one who was relatively reasonable:

AGCP: I would like to see Professor Newcomb.
SN: Well, here he is.
AGCP: You Professor Newcomb?
SN: Yes
AGCP: Professor, I have called to tell you that I don't believe in Sir Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation!
SN: Don't believe in gravitation! Suppose you jump out of that window and see whether there is any gravitation or not.
AGCP: But I don't mean that. I mean --
SN: But that is all there is in the theory of gravitation; if you jump out of the window you'll fall to the ground.
AGCP: I don't mean that. What I mean is I don't believe in the Newtonian theory that gravitation goes up to the moon. It doesn't extend above the air.
SN: Have you ever been up there to see?
(There was an embarrassing pause, during which the visitor began to look a little sheepish.)
AGCP: N-no-o
SN: Well, I haven't been up there either, and until one of us can get up there to try the experiment, I don't believe we shall ever agree on the subject.
(That ended the conversation)
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Old 8th September 2014, 07:19 PM   #2730
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Sometimes crackpots can be amusing (from another thread):

Quote:
The question that troubles me the most is why do primary colors exist? Is it that photons (or the quanta within them) spin only in any one of precisely three exact directions? Are these directions the fixed three dimensions of space known as the x,y,z axes? Are translucent objects slightly shifted onto the fourth dimension? So a translucent red glass has its electrons ‘fixed’ on the x axis, but on the y and z axis it has been shifted out of our three dimensions of space? If we could see into the fourth dimension, would we then require four primary colors? And in doing so, would transparent objects then have this fourth primary color?
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