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Where do crackpots come from?

  1. May 21, 2006 #1
    It's irrational to turn into a crackpot - sane people will stop funding your research. Yet there are PhDs turned crackpot; for example Podkletnov. Why? It can't be a statistical fluke - there are thousands of these guys.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2006 #2
    Well I would think most come from broken enamelware, but I digress...
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2006
  4. May 21, 2006 #3
    I think it has something to do with Hydrogen-Bonding and excessive pressure under sub-zero temperatures.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2006
  5. May 21, 2006 #4

    Hurkyl

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    Out of how many?

    (Thousands? Really?)
     
  6. May 21, 2006 #5
    You're a crackpot.
     
  7. May 21, 2006 #6
    “I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man's self-respect is a sin.”
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    Even if you don't believe in sins, it still holds true for everyone.
     
  8. May 21, 2006 #7

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    And besides, it's not nice.
     
  9. May 21, 2006 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Thousands?

    I think some people get hooked on one way of thinking and can't let it go. Eventually they abandon rational thought in order to preserve their belief system.

    In his later years, was Pascal a crackpot, or did he simply see the light? :biggrin:
     
  10. May 21, 2006 #9

    Curious3141

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    Where do crackpots come from?

    Why, from Papa and Mama Crackpot, of course! :rofl:
     
  11. May 21, 2006 #10
    They're called Democrats and Republicans incidently.

    Crackpots come from Pottery Barn, obviously.
     
  12. May 21, 2006 #11

    Lisa!

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    well that says alot about them! :cool:
     
  13. May 21, 2006 #12

    dav2008

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    I'm not so sure that they consider themselves as being crackpots.
     
  14. May 21, 2006 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    I should add that this works both ways. When people believe that science has explained everything - when they believe that the explanation for any mystery is a mere formality - they have closed their minds to the possibility of learning something new and important. This is also a form of crackpotism.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2006
  15. May 21, 2006 #14
    I was actually being quite specific with my Podkletnov example, a crackpot which is not based on religion or any other obvious motivation, who is educated enough to know very well that his research his bunk. The kind that can't possibly believe research they themselves have faked or manipulated or otherwise grossly misrepresented. Is it profitable or something? I mean I know cold fusion got a few millions in federal funding, and still has that, also the isomeric Hafnium bomb nonsense, they also got DoD funding under DARPA (both despite condemnation by the NAS - tells you something about our beauracrats) - [edit: one more example - NASA funding the Podkletnov gizmo - from Bob Park]but I should imagine, on average, it's much easier to get funding for legitimate research, then for absolute nonsense?

    (anyone who hasn't heard of the Hafnium debacle, a great article is here)
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2006
  16. May 22, 2006 #15

    Mk

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    They come from where the sun don't shine.
     
  17. May 22, 2006 #16

    LURCH

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    I think Podkletnov got one anomalous result (probably a malfunctioning scale), and its potential benefits were so impressive that he couldn't help believing it. This of course is the reason science demands not only recordable results, but repeatable ones. I'm sure penicillin looked like a crackpot idea until it got consistent and repeatable results.

    As for NASA funding research on the project; I think they did the right thing. Two million dollars over an eight-year period is really a very small fraction of their R&D budget, and the only way to tell the difference between a revolutionary breakthrough and a crackpot scheme is to test it. The greater the potential benefit, the more thoroughly it must be tested before being discarded.
     
  18. May 22, 2006 #17

    DaveC426913

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    Perhaps the "light" that successful crackpots see is that there is more money in publicity (even bad publicity) than there is in scientific funding.

    If it sells your books, who cares if it's right!
     
  19. May 22, 2006 #18

    wolram

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    Any one ever seen a parrot that has fallen from a perch it has chewed through, if you want to prevent this make sure your perch is unchewable
     
  20. May 22, 2006 #19
    My mom and dad shop there! That makes me a crackpot offspring!:surprised I never though my genes were the reason behind my arrogance...
     
  21. May 22, 2006 #20

    Chi Meson

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    mmmruff rfflrrrph. Thrfl flrmf flf glrmff rphlrmf. *pleh!* the stuffing makes my mouth too dry. Definately unchewable, but now it's all shred up. But I guess I won't fall!:smile:
     
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