Ever since John Baez wrote his delightful, very funny and insightful crackpot index (which I recalled reading this post from Sean on Cosmic Variance), the genre has undergone a small revolution. There are many reasons for that phenomena; sadly some of this has to do with the blogosphere, which provides extra exposure and encouragement for those brave and unconventional thinkers, who are tirelessly blazing new paths for us followers.
As a public service, and because the occasional rant is a good way to deal with the rigors of a new semester starting in deep snow, here are a few of my additions to the crackpot index. Apologies to all, especially to David, I promise rants and other types of controversy will not become a frequent feature on this blog.
5 points for each mention of your hobbies and lifestyle, 10 bonus points for each life lesson you have learned along the way.
10 points for each time you wax poetic about political science, evolutionary biology or modern architecture, or any other subject outside your field of expertise.
10 points for each unconventional use of well-known scientific terms. 10 extra points for each claim your use of the term is the correct one.
20 point if you claim your work “foundational” before making contact with any known physics (foundations of what exactly?).
20 points if you solve decade old problems in 5 pages and 3 formulas (and 28 figures), leaving details for future publication (to borrow the immortal words of Sidney Coleman, “hopefully by someone else”).
20 points if you solve decade old problems using weak or non-existent mathematics. 10 extra points if you formulate known physics in a language unrecognizable to most people working in the field.
30 points if you ignore well known results deeming your research impossible. 10 bonus points if you proudly present patently irrelevant loopholes to said results.
30 points for going on in length about the philosophy of science, including your own insights. 5 extra points for every mention of Popper or “falsifiable”.
40 points for going on in length about the failings of some other research program, though it has nothing to do with your work. 5 bonus points for every mention of hegemony or groupthink.
40 points for claiming peer review is “broken”, and the establishment cannot evaluate your work fairly. 10 extra points for suggesting some mechanism for your work to be evaluated more democratically.
50 points if your theory conflicts with everyday experience, but makes predictions for third generation gravitational wave detectors.
The list is by no means exhaustive, feel free to add your criteria in the comments. I’ll be back with something more substantial pretty soon, as soon as I dig myself out of this snow.