Register to reply

Complaint What counts as crackpottery?

by Woopydalan
Tags: None
Share this thread:
Woopydalan
#1
Jan28-13, 11:45 AM
P: 746
So I was wondering, at the time Copernicus made his heliocentric theory (personal theory) and it was against mainstream science at the time, does that mean if PF was around at that time and he made a thread about a heliocentric model of the solar system, he would be banned as being a crackpot?
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on Phys.org
Sapphire talk enlivens guesswork over iPhone 6
Geneticists offer clues to better rice, tomato crops
UConn makes 3-D copies of antique instrument parts
tahayassen
#2
Jan28-13, 11:46 AM
P: 273
Quote Quote by Woopydalan View Post
So I was wondering, at the time Copernicus made his heliocentric theory (personal theory) and it was against mainstream science at the time, does that mean if PF was around at that time and he made a thread about a heliocentric model of the solar system, he would be banned as being a crackpot?
Yes. If Einstein posted his theories before they were part of mainstream science, he would be banned too.
ZapperZ
#3
Jan28-13, 11:50 AM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
ZapperZ's Avatar
P: 29,239
Quote Quote by Woopydalan View Post
So I was wondering, at the time Copernicus made his heliocentric theory (personal theory) and it was against mainstream science at the time, does that mean if PF was around at that time and he made a thread about a heliocentric model of the solar system, he would be banned as being a crackpot?
He would first be warned to obey the PF Rules (after all, he would know how to read, no?), and if he persists, then yes, he would be banned for violating rules.

But this is more of a speculative guess. If I were Copernicus, I would not go to the public and suddenly advertize my theory. He certainly didn't, did he?

What he did was to do what was the COMMON PRACTICE at that time, he published his findings.

So what is the common practice in OUR time? Do scientists go to open forum such as PF to sell their ideas? Or do they follow the tried-and-tested path that practicing scientists do when they have something new to report?

And BTW, people often bring up these names in physics whenever they are trying to argue for allowing them to post their personal theories. Yet, they forget who these people are and use such comparison under total ignorance.

http://www.physicsforums.com/blog.php?b=2979

Zz.

rollingstein
#4
Jan28-13, 11:54 AM
PF Gold
P: 330
What counts as crackpottery?

In a Bayesian sense, the chance of "someone making a theory against mainstream science" being a crackpot is orders of magnitude larger than him turning out to be another Copernicus.
ZapperZ
#5
Jan28-13, 12:00 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
ZapperZ's Avatar
P: 29,239
Oh, also note that being banned for violating PF Rules does not automatically imply one is a crackpot, although being a crackpot can automatically incur a ban from PF.

So the topic of this thread "What counts as crackpottery?" doesn't jive with being banned for promoting personal theory. The symptoms of being a crackpot is quite clear:

http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/quack.html

Copernicus does NOT fall under such criteria!

Zz.
Ryan_m_b
#6
Jan28-13, 12:15 PM
Mentor
Ryan_m_b's Avatar
P: 5,404
Zapper beat me to it with that last post. Personal theories are not synonymous with crackpottery. PF makes no judgement when rejecting personal theories, we don't accept them because this isn't the place for them.

When we say something is crackpot it's usually a combination of personal theory that is not even wrong or thoroughly debunked (homeopathy, over-unity, any general pseudoscience), an ideological bent (conspiracy theory, religious) and a cornucopia of logical fallacies and failures of internal consistency.
rollingstein
#7
Jan28-13, 12:26 PM
PF Gold
P: 330
Quote Quote by Ryan_m_b View Post
Zapper beat me to it with that last post. Personal theories are not synonymous with crackpottery. PF makes no judgement when rejecting personal theories, we don't accept them because this isn't the place for them.
Do personal published theories become automatically acceptable (ok, not in some freak journal!)
micromass
#8
Jan28-13, 12:53 PM
Mentor
micromass's Avatar
P: 18,036
Quote Quote by rollingstein View Post
Do personal published theories become automatically acceptable (ok, not in some freak journal!)
If you managed to publish them in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, then you can discuss them here.
mfb
#9
Jan28-13, 12:53 PM
Mentor
P: 11,589
Quote Quote by rollingstein View Post
Do personal published theories become automatically acceptable (ok, not in some freak journal!)
According to the rules:
Quote Quote by Rules
Generally, discussion topics should be traceable to standard textbooks or to peer-reviewed scientific literature. Usually, we accept references from journals that are listed here:

http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/mjl/
[...]
In recent years, there has been an increasing number of "fringe" and Internet-only journals that appear to have lax reviewing standards. We do not generally accept references from such journals. Note that some of these fringe journals are listed in Thomson Reuters. Just because a journal is listed in Thomson Reuters does not mean it is acceptable.
=> they are not banned by the rules, but you should be extremely careful, in particular if the theory is a serious deviation from existing scientific theories.
Maui
#10
Jan29-13, 07:13 AM
P: 724
Quote Quote by Woopydalan View Post
So I was wondering, at the time Copernicus made his heliocentric theory (personal theory) and it was against mainstream science at the time, does that mean if PF was around at that time and he made a thread about a heliocentric model of the solar system, he would be banned as being a crackpot?

If you are one of top physicist(it generally tends to stick out in posts), i am sue you'd be allowed to post much much more than the average user on borderline not-yet accepted physics. Again, he/she would be taking a small risk but the quality of posts is what seems to come on top and the fact that the whole of theory/modification is probably not 100% right seems less important. No theory is 100% right or complete, so the rank and quality of posts is what determines the fate of the user. Or at least that's my impression.

PP> If it's a completely new and radical theory that very few people can or have the time to understand, the respective user would be banned outright.
rollingstein
#11
Jan29-13, 07:22 AM
PF Gold
P: 330
Quote Quote by Maui View Post
If you are one of top physicist(it generally tends to stick out in posts), i am sue you'd be allowed to post much much more than the average user on borderline not-yet accepted physics.
As an aside, have top physicists posted on PF in the past?
ZapperZ
#12
Jan29-13, 07:41 AM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
ZapperZ's Avatar
P: 29,239
Quote Quote by rollingstein View Post
As an aside, have top physicists posted on PF in the past?
Sure. Among others, for a while, we had Brian Josephson. Unfortunately, the discussion he was involved in was on a form of "cold fusion".

Zz.
tahayassen
#13
Jan29-13, 09:00 AM
P: 273
Quote Quote by ZapperZ View Post
Sure. Among others, for a while, we had Brian Josephson. Unfortunately, the discussion he was involved in was on a form of "cold fusion".

Zz.
Can you provide a link?
AlephZero
#14
Jan29-13, 10:05 AM
Engineering
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks
P: 6,953
Quote Quote by tahayassen View Post
Can you provide a link?
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthr...+fusion&page=3

Post #34.
russ_watters
#15
Jan29-13, 10:19 AM
Mentor
P: 22,239
PF would not have been possible in Copernicus's time because as one of the first scientists, pretty much everyone else was a crackpot and there was virtually no science to discuss!

Don't make the mistake of defining crackpot as "non-mainstream".
LCKurtz
#16
Jan30-13, 10:27 PM
HW Helper
Thanks
PF Gold
LCKurtz's Avatar
P: 7,575
I'm surprised nobody mentioned John Baez's crackpot index (unless I overlooked it in my quick scanning):

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html
Graniar
#17
Feb10-13, 04:46 PM
P: 71
At first I would like to say thanks to admins for keeping forum clean of real crackpots. It's very detractive when one come to a "physics forum" and should search for some rational among perpetual mobile designs.

Crackpottery is not about conformist/nonconformist thinking.
It is about respect to people, who one speaks to.

When crackpot posts a brand new theory without any proves, did he expect others should just believe him and join his sekt? If a salesman come to your house, and says: "I offer you a brand new pill, nobody sells before. It will make you fly" Would you buy it?

When advanced crackpot posts same theory with the megabyte-sized proves, did he expect others will spend their time in hope to find true genius among thousands of crackpots? That pill salesman also may give you a huge book describing details of how his pill make you fly. Will you seriously review it?

Would be, IE Plank perceived as a crackpot? This would depend of his behavior.
If he would yelling: "There is nothing determinable, wave is the particle! I, and only I know the truth!" - definetly.
More likely he would post: "There is an inconsistency in Bohr atom model, I can't understand"

But, one should carefully distinguish real, obsessed crackpots, from the young persons, generating a lot of ungrounded ideas, due to a lack of knowledge and experience. They may evolve whether to the real scientists, whether to obsessed crackpots. That's a lot of responsibility.
mfb
#18
Feb10-13, 05:01 PM
Mentor
P: 11,589
Quote Quote by Graniar View Post
If a salesman come to your house, and says: "I offer you a brand new pill, nobody sells before. It will make you fly" Would you buy it?
Some would, otherwise I cannot see how some ideas get followers.
This is not just the typical "Einstein was wrong, all scientists are too stupid to see it"-crackpot idea, it also applies to most conspiracy theories and religious groups.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
What counts as an observation in QM? Quantum Physics 3
Counts in spectrometer Classical Physics 0
Source counts Advanced Physics Homework 0
Counts per pixel Advanced Physics Homework 0
Post Counts Forum Feedback & Announcements 3