"Cold Hard Rigor" v theories that do not produce results?
It is curiosity that drives people to invent ideas, be they irreproducible or proven. It is the discipline of science tests in reality the validity of an idea. Sometimes there is no proof. They remain theory. "Proof" is subjective. Something can be proven and accepted as the body of knowlege as "Truth" until, that is, someone else disproves the convention. Sometimes it is not based on science, rather in spite of it. The man who had invented the starter motor for the automobile did not know that it was theoretically impossible for a 'dead short' to work. Historically it was the invention of the prism and of the telescope, which at first were considered toys for children that was the big ahh haa! That led to the age of discovery.
Many silly ideas, and silly inventions, such as perpetual motion machines had been attempted. But significantly was the concept that the unverse might be understandable, and controlled by man. It led to experiments which eventually became scientific discipline. It also caused the industrial revolution. The parents of science technology are sand, doubt, child's play, wonder, awe, and ego. Perhaps a poet had worded it best.
To see the world in a grain of sand
And Heaven in a wild flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour