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Web link for crackpot test?

  1. Feb 25, 2013 #1
    I'm sorry - I know this is archived somewhere around here but I couldn't find it ...

    Can anyone give me a link for the set of tests used to identify a crackpot (either the theory or its author). I've forgotten who had it on his website - someone at Princeton, maybe??

    I've got a live one on another website (not here, thankfully), and I'm thinking I'd like to run the test on him and his ideas, just to see how he scores.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I googled the title of your thread, and this was the first hit on the list. Is it the list you remember?


  4. Feb 25, 2013 #3
    Sheesh - how embarassing. I should have been able to find that - sorry!

    Yes, it was indeed John Baez's page that I had remembered.

  5. Feb 25, 2013 #4
    So a high score is good or bad? He doesn't say!

    Trust him to have both bases covered just in case "THEY" are proved right.
  6. Feb 25, 2013 #5


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    I recognize most of them, but those two especially made me laugh!
  7. Feb 25, 2013 #6
  8. Feb 25, 2013 #7
  9. Feb 27, 2013 #8
    I have issue with the first point made there. 'Confirmation bias' is unavoidable. Human beings will always form opinion about something in one way or other. Its just not possible to shut off mind and think nothing about it. Even when you are searching about it you must enter a phrase which completely or incompletely reflect your bias on the subject.
  10. Feb 28, 2013 #9
    I think the solution is mainly: "seek evidence to the contrary for every opinion (especially ones you believe)."
  11. Feb 28, 2013 #10
    LOL. I remember a story by a studio musician keyboardist friend of mine about a guy who came into the studio demanding a signed recording contract before he even let anyone listen to one of his songs...becuase they were so great and groundbreaking they would obviously be stolen immediately by jealous people.

    They just laughed him out of the studio and, of course, nobody has heard from him since. As a songwriter myself, I see this happening often. Neophyte songwriters get personally attached to the songs they write because they can't believe they could actually write one to begin with. Therefore, it must have come from some divine muse and therefore is a great work. This often changes over time and they end up becoming their own harshest critics.

    In any case, I imagine developing a new scientific theory suffers from the same mentality.
  12. Feb 28, 2013 #11


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    So... what score did the alleged crackpot get?
  13. Mar 25, 2013 #12
    Actually, he didn't score too badly. He's not as far over the top as others I've seen, but he does suffer from the syndrome of saying things along the lines of, "I have a novel approach to the fundamental underpinnings of all of Physics, which explains a host of things the 'Standard Model' [his quotation marks] can only assert as assumptions." He doesn't post explanations, only challenges, e.g. for anyone to "prove the rest mass of the electron is a constant of motion from first principles. Or I shall just rip up your "Standard Model" as based on spurious assumptions and true in extremely limited context". He's kind of unpleasant.

    He also loves to post repeated links to his arXiv article explaining how he does all this. When I challenged him to produce a citation to an article in a peer-reviewed journal, he was surprisingly able to do so. He referenced a paper coauthored by his mentor/adviser in Phys. Rev. Letters that seems to have provided the background for his own paper (http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v96/i6/e060503). I won't link his own arXiv paper, since I know that's discouraged here.

    It's all based on the quantum brachistochrone problem, and for all I know, it's completely sound, but I couldn't get through the papers, so I'm at a loss to evaluate any of it myself.
  14. Mar 26, 2013 #13
    I about died :rofl:
  15. Apr 8, 2013 #14
    Update: After announcing the he has been told "never to try to do physics again", he has now compared himself to Gallileo and Copernicus. 40 more points!! :biggrin:
  16. Apr 9, 2013 #15
    Are you sure about that?
  17. Apr 9, 2013 #16


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    Oh dear. I used to think I was a crackpot.

    I got only 5 points on the Baez quiz.

    Is there anyone at PF that hasn't admitted to going to school?
  18. Apr 9, 2013 #17
    I've never mentioned it here.

    I got 30 points.
  19. Apr 18, 2013 #18
    Careful with crackpots, you could be murdered!


    In 1952, Bayard Peakes submitted a 33-page manuscript to a publication of the American Physical Society (APS). Peakes had an unusual idea. He didn't believe electrons existed, and he had what he thought was a good explanation of why. But the APS rejected his paper, deeming it "pointless".
    Evidently, Peakes was fairly upset by this. He bought a gun and travelled to the APS offices in New York in search of the editor who had spurned him. When he found that the editor was not around, he shot the APS' 18-year-old secretary instead.

    Seems like a normal story until this ...

    "What we decided was that from then on, any member of the APS could submit an abstract on any subject to any meeting," said Brian Schwartz of the City University of New York, a longtime APS member and former chair of the society's Forum on Physics and Society.

    Which made my day!
  20. Apr 18, 2013 #19
    Adolph Hitler believed a theory (that he didn't create) that the Universe was created when huge chunks of ice fell into the Sun. The stars were large chunks of ice.

    Maybe crackpotism isn't as harmless as it seems.
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