Joined: Jan. 2006
BTW, Over on TDW, a group of people developed:
|Quote (gib@TDW @ and TR)|
|The Evolutionary Theory Crackpot Index|
It seems that evolutionary theory, particularly as it relates to human evolution, is a magnet for crackpots. We all like to think we can spot a crackpot when we see one, but is there any way to distinguish between evolutionary "theorists" who are just a half a bubble off plumb and scientific "revolutionaries" who are truly just a clown shy of a circus?
To aid in categorizing the lunacy of evolution nutters, we humbly present The Evolutionary Theory Crackpot Index, inspired by John Baez's brilliant and creative original Crackpot Index for physics.
A couple of notes:
Please keep in mind that this isn't intended for creationists. Creationism is a special kind of nuttery that usually requires a different approach. The exception would be if the creationist has erected a "scientific theory": that he claims provides empirical support for his craziness.
We have not yet created a calibration scale or a settled on a unit name (a "milliwhatever", perhaps), but we feel that the scale should probably be calibrated in the field, so to speak. So we're breaking it out now and accepting suggestions for fine tuning its application to specific crackpots. We hope this tool will be of use to the members of this forum.
Created by OHSU, eversbane, BWE, llanitedave, Steviepinhead, gib, and Spearthrower. Thanks also to Utu and The Daily Wingnut.
|1. 3 points for referring to an evidence-free scenario as a "hypothesis"|
2. 3 points for proposing a “theory” that makes no robust, testable predictions
3. 3 points for mentioning how long you’ve been working on your idea, as if this meant that it was well-thought-out
4. 3 points for announcing that you can't find any flaws in your idea
5. 5 points for referencing your educational achievements, awards, or honors, as if they counted as evidence for your idea
6. 5 points for intimating that you’re associated with an institution of higher learning when you are not
7. 5 points for each new term you invent and use as if it were a widely accepted concept
8. 5 points for praising proponents of discredited ideas
9. 5 points for either citing or criticizing decades-old research or opinions as if they were still current
multiply by 2 if it is widely known that these ideas have been superceded by modern research
10. 5 points for citing the opinions of someone with no scientific training
11. 5 points for inventing a new principle or mechanism not recognized by mainstream science
multiply by 2 for making your new principle "official" by giving it a name
multiply by 3 for naming it after yourself
12. 10 points for each new, original, or idiosyncratic explanation for a well-understood biological process
13. 10 points for each claim that modern evolutionary theory has significant flaws or gaps
14. 10 points for citing concepts derived from science fiction
multiply by 2 for citing a specific science fiction story or author
multiply by 3 for citing works of fantasy (The Golden Compass, Lord of the Rings, etc.)
multiply by 5 for citing a specific fantasy character by name (Legolas, Frodo, etc.)
15. 10 points for citing someone else's findings as support for your argument when his conclusions actually contradict your argument, as if you know more about how to interpret his findings than he does
multiply by 5 for altering, tampering with, or misrepresenting a quotation in any way
16. 10 points for responding to requests for evidence in favor of your scenario by attacking a competing scenario
17. 10 points for responding to requests for evidence with a thought experiment
multiply by 3 if the results of the thought experiment contradict those of a real experiment
18. 10 points for critiquing an field about which you possess no substantial knowledge
multiply by 2 for admitting your ignorance yet maintaining that your critiques are somehow meaningful
multiply by 3 for failing to correctly identify the object of your argument in a photograph
multiply by 5 for misidentifying a man-made object (fishing lure, aquarium decoration, etc.) as the object of your argument
19. 10 points for encouraging anyone who seems to agree with you, no matter how pointless their contribution
multiply by 2 if their “contribution” actually contradicts something you’ve said and you ignore that fact for the sake of making an ally
20. 10 points for reversing your disagreement with an opinion after learning that it was espoused by someone you like
multiply by 2 if you find this reversal of opinion rational, reasonable, or natural
21. 10 points for acknowledging a correction but refusing to acknowledge that having been in error affects your conclusions
multiply by 2 for picking up the new information and arguing it as if it had always been part of your “hypothesis”
22. 10 points for repeating an assertion that has already been refuted as if you were bringing it up for the first time
23. 10 points for adhering to a factually incorrect or logically inconsistent position despite careful correction
24. 10 points for referring to well-thought-out rebuttals as “tedious", a “waste of your time” or exquivalent
25. 10 points for inventing a "fact"
multiply by 2 for making up a statistic
multiply by 3 for populating a graph or diagram with data you made up
26. 15 points for suggesting that someone is only giving detailed, technical responses to your claims to "make himself look clever"
multiply by 3 for accusing him of trying to "confuse you with facts", "blind you with science" or equivalent
27. 15 points for explaining why phenomena central to your “theory” leave no evidence
28. 15 points for insisting that your idea requires no evidence because you’re just "working out an explanation", as if evidence-free stories had explanatory power
multiply by 2 for insisting that an evidence-free assertion be taken seriously until it is "proven wrong"
29. 20 points for suggesting that someone disagrees with you for emotional or personal reasons, even though he’s never met you or any other participant in the debate and has no stake in its outcome
30. 20 points for referring to logical rebuttals that expose the fallacies of your claims as "sneering", "laughing" or equivalent
31. 20 points for suggesting that your lack of formal education or scientific training gives you a unique perspective, special insight, freedom from establishment dogma, etc.
32. 25 points for every mention of a well-known scientist (Darwin, Dawkins, Gould, etc.) not accompanied by that scientist’s support of your “hypothesis”
multiply by 2 for pointing out that the scientist you’ve named is well-known
33. 25 points for claiming that your work is on the cutting edge of a "paradigm shift", "new era", or "revolutionary movement" in biology
34. 25 points for claiming that people who disagree with you are trying to censor you
35. 25 points for suggesting that people who disagree with you are “angry” or “hysterical”
36. 30 points for attributing your personal failures (to publish your idea, complete your scientific education, etc.) to bias, conspiracies, etc.
37. 30 points for asserting that general acceptance of your “theory” will somehow correct a weakness in the practice, theory, or culture of the biological sciences
multiply by 2 for claiming that the weakness in question is some form of social, cultural, or intellectual elitism
multiply by 3 for suggesting that it is “atheist philosophy”
multiply by 3 for suggesting it has anything to do with racism or Nazis
38. 30 points for each favorable comparison of yourself or some other proponent of your idea to Darwin, or for referring to your hypothesis as the "most important discovery since Darwin" or equivalent
39. 30 points for suggesting that you or some other proponent of your idea deserves a Nobel prize
40. 30 points for referring to those who disagree with you as "self-appointed defenders of establishment dogma" or equivalent
41. 30 points for accusing Darwin (or other prominent evolutionary theorists) of racism, elitism, etc.
42. 30 points for suggesting that many scientists secretly accept your idea and that they only reject it publicly for fear of tainting their reputations, losing their jobs, etc.
43. 30 points for claiming that the rejection of your hypothesis will one day be recognized as a scandal comparable to the Piltdown hoax, etc.)
multiply by 2 for fantasizing about tracking down people who’ve disagreed with you over the years and forcing them to publicly acknowledge that you were right
To add to the ways we can love our pet wingnuts. :) Feel free to grade anyone you like.
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far
The Daily Wingnut