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Complaint What counts as crackpottery?

  1. Jan 28, 2013 #1
    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?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2013 #2
    Yes. If Einstein posted his theories before they were part of mainstream science, he would be banned too.
     
  4. Jan 28, 2013 #3

    ZapperZ

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    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.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/blog.php?b=2979 [Broken]

    Zz.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Jan 28, 2013 #4

    rollingstein

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    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.
     
  6. Jan 28, 2013 #5

    ZapperZ

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    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.
     
  7. Jan 28, 2013 #6

    Ryan_m_b

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  8. Jan 28, 2013 #7

    rollingstein

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    Do personal published theories become automatically acceptable (ok, not in some freak journal!)
     
  9. Jan 28, 2013 #8

    micromass

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    If you managed to publish them in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, then you can discuss them here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  10. Jan 28, 2013 #9

    mfb

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    According to the rules:
    => 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.
     
  11. Jan 29, 2013 #10

    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.
     
  12. Jan 29, 2013 #11

    rollingstein

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    As an aside, have top physicists posted on PF in the past?
     
  13. Jan 29, 2013 #12

    ZapperZ

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    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.
     
  14. Jan 29, 2013 #13
    Can you provide a link?
     
  15. Jan 29, 2013 #14

    AlephZero

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  16. Jan 29, 2013 #15

    russ_watters

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    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".
     
  17. Jan 30, 2013 #16

    LCKurtz

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  18. Feb 10, 2013 #17
    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.
     
  19. Feb 10, 2013 #18

    mfb

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    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.
     
  20. Feb 10, 2013 #19

    micromass

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    Please not that neither post would be allowed on this forum. Even if it turned out to be correct.
     
  21. Mar 22, 2013 #20
    How does one differentiate crackpottery, obvious crackpottery, and facetious crackpottery? There's a great deal of the latter, even among senior posters.

    Since obvious crackpottery can receive an infraction, it might be well to understand the subtext of the rules.
     
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