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Oct. 16th, 2004

                            THE CRACKPOT INDEX
A simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to physics.
1.	A -5 point starting credit.
2.	1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.
3.	2 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous.
4.	3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.
5.	5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful
correction.
6.	5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results of a
widely accepted real experiment.
7.	5 points for each word in all capital letters (except for those with
defective keyboards).
8.	5 points for each mention of "Einstein", "Hawkins" or "Feynmann".
9.	10 points for each claim that quantum mechanics is fundamentally misguided
(without good evidence).
10.	10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were
evidence of sanity.
11.	10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long
you have been working on it.
12.	10 points for mailing your theory to someone you don't know personally and
asking them not to tell anyone else about it, for fear that your ideas will be
stolen.
13.	10 points for offering prize money to anyone who proves and/or finds any
flaws in your theory.
14.	10 points for each statement along the lines of "I'm not good at math, but
my theory is conceptually right, so all I need is for someone to express it in
terms of equations".
15.	10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is "only a
theory", as if this were somehow a point against it.
16.	10 points for arguing that while a current well-established theory predicts
phenomena correctly, it doesn't explain "why" they occur, or fails to provide a
"mechanism".
17.	10 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Einstein, or claim
that special or general relativity are fundamentally misguided (without good
evidence).
18.	10 points for claiming that your work is on the cutting edge of a "paradigm
shift".
19.	20 points for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel prize.
20.	20 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Newton or claim that
classical mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
21.	20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if they were
fact.
22.	20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule
accorded to your past theories.
23.	20 points for each use of the phrase "hidebound reactionary".
24.	20 points for each use of the phrase "self-appointed defender of the
orthodoxy".
25.	30 points for suggesting that a famous figure secretly disbelieved in a
theory which he or she publicly supported. (E.g., that Feynman was a closet
opponent of special relativity, as deduced by reading between the lines in his
freshman physics textbooks.)
26.	30 points for suggesting that Einstein, in his later years, was groping his
way towards the ideas you now advocate.
27.	30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an
extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).
28.	40 points for comparing those who argue against your ideas to Nazis,
stormtroopers, or brownshirts.
29.	40 points for claiming that the "scientific establishment" is engaged in a
"conspiracy" to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or
suchlike.
30.	40 points for comparing yourself to Galileo, suggesting that a modern-day
Inquisition is hard at work on your case, and so on.
31.	40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated,
present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is. (30 more points for
fantasizing about show trials in which scientists who mocked your theories will
be forced to recant.)
32.	50 points for claiming you have a revolutionary theory but giving no
concrete testable predictions.


Scoring: Assume all "Testable Predictions" and points referring to other scientists could be tested by magi of a similar technomagical paradigm. Scores < 100 indicate the percentage chance that the theory is Etherite rather than Technocrat. Scores >= 100 indicate pure Son of Ether material.

Comments

( 2 informants — We want information! )
aberranteyes
Oct. 15th, 2004 05:33 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, Gene Ray, no matter how you score him, is clearly a Marauder.
mythicfox
Oct. 16th, 2004 01:01 am (UTC)
I've actually talked to that guy through email. I actually offered to take him up on his whole "I'll give you money if you disprove Timecube" thing, telling him that he would have to actually prove it first. He and I emailed each other back and forth a couple of times, and he's a friggin' crackpot. I essentially got an interactive version of ranting on his website.

I think I really pissed him off when I pointed out that cubes have 6 sides, not 4, and he said that Timecube doesn't work like other cubes. So I told him that if he's not going to use the same cubes as everyone else, he should mention that.

I really wish I'd saved that conversation.
( 2 informants — We want information! )

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