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Find how well you or someone measures up as a crackpot

  1. Oct 12, 2003 #1
    The CRACKPOT Index
    A simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to physics.
    A -5 point starting credit.
    1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.
    2 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous.
    3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.
    5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful correction.
    5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results of a widely accepted real experiment.
    5 points for each word in all capital letters (except for those with defective keyboards).
    10 points for each claim that quantum mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
    10 points for each favorable comparison of oneself to Einstein, or claim that special or general relativity are fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
    10 points for pointing out that one has gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity.
    20 points for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel prize.
    20 points for each favorable comparison of oneself to Newton or claim that classical mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without evidence).
    20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if they were fact.
    20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to one's past theories.
    30 points for each favorable comparison of oneself to Galileo, claims that the Inquisition is hard at work on one's case, etc..
    30 points for claiming that the "scientific establishment" is engaged in a "conspiracy" to prevent one's work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or suchlike.
    40 points for claiming one has a revolutionary theory but giving no concrete testable predictions.
    John Baez
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2003 #2
  4. Oct 12, 2003 #3
    Distinguish between cranks and crackpots (though some people are both).

    Cranks are adamant rejectors of certain generally-accepted entities.
    Crackpots are adamant demanders of certain generally-unaccepted entities.


    A crank might refuse to believe in the existence of π and e, no matter what arguments are brought to bear.

    A crackpot might insist that he has a magic number from which all the fundamental constants of mathematics, physics and chemistry can be generated. If you will send $100 and a signed promise to reveal nothing, you will be sent a copy of the lifetime-research paper explaining how it is done and how to derive this number from passages of the Holy Bible.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2003
  5. Oct 13, 2003 #4


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    Those examples ring a bell here at PF...
  6. Oct 13, 2003 #5
    I must admit I compared myself to Newton once, oh and Einstein, oh ya and Galileo, and Darwin I suppose and probably a bunch of others but I lost track and who hasn't sent off letters to the Nobel committee demanding they look at one's work that is their job after all.
  7. Oct 13, 2003 #6
    ...and 100 points for not adhering to the Crackpot Index itself.

    The best laugh 'till you cry account of crackpots is in the New York Times book section from the early '90's: Uh Oh, Here Comes the Mailman by James Gleick. One "lady" advises Gleick to "kick your proofreader squarely in the crotch!"
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