Spotting Crackpottery

These short rules will arm you in your fight against woo-woo mysticism, anti-second-law patents, and fantastic claims. It is good education for anyone.

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5 Responses to Spotting Crackpottery

  1. Jim says:

    Great article… I’m saving it for my physics class. One thing that I want to address to my students (that isn’t on the New York State Regents syllabus) is the difference between science and pseudoscience. Arguably we’re in the golden age of scientific discovery, and yet there are still a lot of citizens out there buying snake oil from crafty crooks.

  2. Annie says:

    I’ll have to share this with my seniors. Although the article is written more towards discoveries in the hard sciences, the warnings are equally applicable to findings in the social sciences.

    If anything, I think it’s easier to pass off quackery in the social sciences than the hard sciences, if only because social science is much more ephemeral in nature than some hard sciences.

  3. Ken says:

    I’m still waiting for the Steorn Orbo to work. Any device that manages to break 4 or more of the 7 signs must be real. It must be yet another sign that the establishment is trying to keep down the physics-violating, media-announced, verified at the limits of detection unity overload machine that will bathe the world in unlimited energy. Skeptics are evil people.

  4. Bill says:

    @Ken: Yes, we are all evil. We are the sole cause of unending godlessness and hatred (and Harry Potter). If only we would open our minds to the possibilites that science ignores, we’d be much more spiritually enlightened.

    I really need to get Tom Cruise on the line for this one.

  5. Ken says:

    I’m not evil, but then I’m not a traffic engineer. Having waited at empty traffic lights for a red light to change when there’s no cross traffic, I know traffic engineers are inherently evil. As a systems administrator, I know we’re inherently good. Unicorns look towards systems administrators as proof of divine goodness. :)

    …or something like that. WordPress parses out the sarcasm tag, which is probably one of the most useful tags in HTML.

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