February 22, 2010

The Crackpot Index

John Baez's gift to the research world (selected entries - please see the whole one):
A simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to physics:
- A -5 point starting credit.
- 1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.
- 3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.
- 5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results of a widely accepted real experiment.
- 5 points for each word in all capital letters
- 10 points for each claim that quantum mechanics is fundamentally misguided
- 10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it. (10 more for emphasizing that you worked on your own.)
- 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.
- 10 points for each new term you invent and use without properly defining it.
- 10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is "only a theory", as if this were somehow a point against it.
- 10 points for claiming that your work is a "paradigm shift".
- 20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to your past theories.
- 20 points for naming something after yourself.
- 30 points for suggesting that Einstein, in his later years, was groping his way towards the ideas you now advocate.
- 50 points for claiming you have a revolutionary theory but giving no concrete testable predictions.