Crazy Crackpot Claims

Smart Mofos edited

Yeah…you know who else sounds like crazy mother *#!@ers?  Crazy mother *#!@ers.

Besides the unnecessary profanity, here’s the problem with this meme: saying that dumb people think smart people sound like crazy people does not prove that you are smart, even if somebody has called you crazy, nor does it make your critics dumb.  Here’s an argument tactic favored by people with ideas that sound…well…crazy.

Person A: I say the Moon is inhabited by purple unicorns!

Person B: What?!?  There’s no evidence for purple lunar unicorns!  That’s crazy talk!

Person A: Of course it sounds crazy to somebody as uneducated as yourself.

If Person A’s claims hold any water, then they should stand on their own merit.  Person A should be able to convince Person B of the reality of purple Moonicorns™ without calling Person B’s intellect into question.  Person A is making an extraordinary claim.  He should be aware that the burden of extraordinary evidence is on his shoulders.

In 1992, mathematical physicist John Baez of the University of California, Riverside, devised the crackpot index – a guide to ranking the often-pseudoscientific claims made by people seeking to revolutionize science without the worrisome burdens of evidence or common sense.  Baez awards each claim (and its respective claimant) a -5 point starting credit, then adds points for each statement made by the claimant that comes straight from the Crackpot Playbook.  For example, a claimant might earn 10 points for comparing himself favorably to Einstein (or, say, using a picture of Einstein in his meme), or he might gain 20 points for bringing up ridicule – real or imagined – afforded to his previous “theories” by the scientific community.

I mention the crackpot index because the statement made in this meme is strikingly reminiscent of things crackpots say when attempting to deflect skeptical criticism of their ideas.  “If you think my ideas are crazy, it’s only because you’re too stupid to understand them.”  While many scientific revolutions have been started by ideas that initially sounded crazy (relativity and quantum mechanics, e.g.), the difference between these revolutions and crackpot claims is that the authors of the scientific revolutions came prepared with evidence.  They did not resort to attacking their critics, but instead sought to convert their critics by patiently explaining their position and supporting evidence, as many times as needed.  Their ideas eventually took hold because they (A) made sense on their own, and (B) fit in with the wider field of understood facts.  Einstein never complained that his earlier theories were ridiculed by the “established orthodoxy”.  Feynman never grumbled that Big Science was suppressing his ideas.  Heisenberg did not call his critics imbeciles.  The real revolutionaries won by persistence, not petulance.

Being called crazy does not immediately make you right, nor does it make your critics dumb.  That’s an intellectually dishonest way of looking at things.  As noted skeptic Michael Shermer puts it in his 1997 book, Why People Believe Weird Things:

They laughed at Copernicus. They laughed at the Wright brothers. Yes, well, they laughed at the Marx brothers. Being laughed at does not mean you are right.

Sometimes people call an idea crazy because it really is crazy.  If people constantly scoff at your ideas, you might take a moment to re-evaluate your beliefs.  Are you really the lone beacon of truth in a world clouded by wrong thinking?  Or are you the crackpot?  Only an honest evaluation of the evidence will tell you for sure.  The key word is “honest”.

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3 thoughts on “Crazy Crackpot Claims

  1. This so called crackpottery can go both ways. Crackpot claims are at first accepted, but later rejected, or, on the other hand, a true claim is presented, but is also rejected under the title of crackpottery.

    For instance, back in grade 9, I made a few points concerning the peculiarity of “motion” to my science teacher. Basically I was told to sit down and shut up. From his point of view my words were nothing but the words that come out of the mouth of a crackpot. Others responded in the same way as years passed by.

    Despite their opposition, I continued onward to investigate the peculiarity of motion. The outcome of my independent investigation led me to creating the equivalent of that which today is known as Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity. I also independently derived all of the special relativity equations, but did so in a manner that is found nowhere else.

    In short one can say that most people of this day and age are crackpots. For instance, people think that if they step on the car accelerator pedal, the car speeds up, or if they press upon the brake pedal, the car slows down. But this is only what a crackpot would see. A crackpot only sees what the eye can see. Thus the mind is no smarter than the eye itself. Those who see the truth, are those that can see that the car is always on the move, and never stops moving. All that can be done, is change it’s direction of travel.

    Those who are not crackpots, are those who see the truth. Thus if you look in the direction of truth concerning the basic mechanics of reality, if you’re not a crackpot you will figure out special relativity all by yourself and you also will independently derive all of the special relativity equations. It’s very simple, thus it is no more difficult to achieve than is riding a bicycle. Only if you are detached from reality do you disagree with this.

    Watch the 9 mini videoa at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKAwpEetJ-Q&list=PL3zkZRUI2IyBFAowlUivFbeBh-Mq7HdoQ for proof of this.

    • First, thank you for reading and for commenting! Second, independently deriving the Special Theory of Relativity does not make you a crackpot – you’re making claims about reality that have been verified by experiment, so your claims don’t run counter to established knowledge. A crackpot is a person who advances claims that are not supported by science, and then (usually) claims that Big Science is trying to hold him back. Assuming you’re telling the truth about your accomplishments, good for you! Now if you said “Einstein was completely wrong about relativity and I can prove it!”…that would make you a crackpot (unless you actually did prove it).

  2. Thanks for your kind response. In my case I simply started by examining the idea of absolute “motion” that is taking place within an absolute 4 dimensional Space-Time environment. This led to Special Relativity eventually, and did so in a unique manner. Thus it exposed the absolute foundation of which Special Relativity resides within. Meanwhile, I usually get nothing but rude insults wherever I present it. The opposition just goes on and on.

    Ex. http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10572342&postcount=2748

    The method of which I derived the SR equations is 100% unique, and thus in turn I am constantly told it is rubbish. As crazy as it sounds, they are saying that only basing ones derivations upon Einstein’s 2 postulates is acceptable. These are “postulates”, while my method is based upon absolutes, not assumptions.

    Anyhow, thanks again for the kind words.

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