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Anyone who spends much time on the internet will know that despite it providing the sum of all human knowledge at a person’s fingertips a great many people still have serious misconceptions or misunderstandings of what science is, what its history is, how it is done or its contributions to our lives, to say nothing of whether or not said people actually know or understand the details taught in the education system. These factors contribute to the development of the all too common internet crank, those people who profess great knowledge and ability with which they have developed ground breaking work which they then proceed to post copiously on. The areas of science which are afflicted by such people are wide ranging but having spent a fair length of time online, specifically physics and mathematics related forum sites, I’ve personal experience of those who concentrate on physics and mathematics rather than chemistry and biology.

The claims of physics cranks fall into two categories, those professing a new model of some phenomena (or perhaps all phenomena!) and those professing to have disproven some part of mainstream models, though often the former implies the latter too. Despite viewing themselves are free thinking mavericks who dare to stand up to the mainstream community the behaviour, mind set, methodology and techniques cranks use to push their work or attempt to rubbish work by other people is highly predictable, they generally fit their stereotype perfectly. As such there’s a particular set of things I’ve explained to many different cranks on many different occasions and now I’m thinking its better if I simply knock up a quick list of default explanations and retorts and then in the future link to it and expand it as and when common reactions are needed in any discussion I might be involved in. Of course I could just leave the nuts alone but where’s the fun in that?

(Some of these aren’t written yet)

Publishing pet theories

Denouncing the mainstream – Special relativity

Denouncing the mainstream – Quantum mechanics

One Comment leave one →
  1. Beer w/Straw permalink
    October 8, 2011 12:08 am

    I read that. I usually don’t read personal comments (or leave messages) but yeah, I agree.

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