# Why do so many posters want to put the boot in ?

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Relativity is wrong

QM is wrong

Newton is (was) wrong

Aunt Sally's cake recipe is wrong.

etc

There is no perfect theory. Usually because they are incomplete.

But that does not mean they are not useful, so long as we understand the limitations and stay within them.

As a for instance

Take a theodolite and measure the vertical angle to a remote point up is positive, down is negative) and you can calculate the vertical height of one above the other by trigonometry.

right?

Sometimes, but I have seen situations where a positive vertical angle has been recorded in both directions. This effect can never be resolved by trigonometry, it needs new theory.

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Relativity is wrong

QM is wrong

Newton is (was) wrong

Aunt Sally's cake recipe is wrong.

etc

There is no perfect theory. Usually because they are incomplete.

But that does not mean they are not useful, so long as we understand the limitations and stay within them.

As a for instance

Take a theodolite and measure the vertical angle to a remote point up is positive, down is negative) and you can calculate the vertical height of one above the other by trigonometry.

right?

Sometimes, but I have seen situations where a positive vertical angle has been recorded in both directions. This effect can never be resolved by trigonometry, it needs new theory.

Crackpots come here constantly. If you don't want to see the stuff, then just don't look at the Speculation section.

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Relativity is wrong

QM is wrong

Newton is (was) wrong

Aunt Sally's cake recipe is wrong.

I am fascinated and bewildered by the posters who indulge in this behaviour. The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is unflattering to their intellect and their personality. What troubles me is that one in a thousand, or in ten thousand may actually have an interesting idea, but they will be lost in the Sea of Stupidity.

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Hubris and ignorance. A bad combination.

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The reason people keep creating threads is that they really believe that they are the new Einstein or Copernicus. Obviously, their brilliant ideas conflict with the existing theories, which therefore must be wrong. Typically the posters are not hindered by any knowledge on the topic... They don't know that in order to think outside the box, you must at least know where you left the box, or what it looks like.

Obviously, some are also just stoned, drunk, or just 12 years old and bored.

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At least with a 12 year old there's a chance that they want to learn something. The typical crackpot is utterly convinced that he is right and will brook no contradiction. They are not just unencumbered by the knowledge, but also of the process — they are genuinely surprised that people want a model, and evidence and predictions. This ignorance also explains the misconception that science is a dogmatic enterprise and no more than a religion.

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I look at them as required reading. It's important to take a look outside the mainstream since that's usually where everything not currently mainstream can be found. But you have to worry about someone who claims to have studied extensively yet also claims that SR is plainly wrong and we need to stop using it.

One observation I've unofficially made over the years here is that science is really difficult. It has so many overlapping layers of prerequisite knowledge! It's hard to get past a certain level of physics without a great deal of math, and chemistry becomes more necessary the further you study biology. That's a ton of studying and some people become convinced there's an easier way, a way that satisfies curiosity, intuition AND laziness.

Some people aren't driven to put the puzzle together piece by piece; they want to start guessing what the picture is using intuition and "outside the box" thinking. It's a form of confirmation bias, because this type of thinking tells them what they want to hear: they don't need all that study. They can learn this stuff on their own. They don't need the math, they don't need the chemistry, they don't need all that time-consuming piecing-together of evidence. Why gather supportive evidence when crackpottery feels more like proof?

You need to be able to shoot holes in the arguments of your peers, so you need to be rational and civil about it. It also requires that the poster understand that any criticism of his idea is not a personal attack. This hinders a LOT of discussions here, imo. Science is supposed to be dispassionate about ideas, reviewing them carefully, looking for flaws, willing to embrace them if they work better, equally willing to admit they're wrong (or not better) when shown why. Crackpots can almost be like religious zealots, convinced they have answers rather than explanations. They often hold their ideas sacred, entwining themselves inextricably with them so it makes it difficult to criticize one without seeming to criticize the other. And they sometimes seem to want that, because persecution makes them even more certain they're right.

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The reason people keep creating threads is that they really believe that they are the new Einstein or Copernicus. Obviously, their brilliant ideas conflict with the existing theories, which therefore must be wrong.

Sometimes, I think it's a matter of them feeling that in order to become the "next Einstein", they have to dethrone the existing one; so they develop their "theory" along that vain. It's like they think that science is nothing more than one big game of "King of the Mountain".

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One observation I've unofficially made over the years here is that science is really difficult. It has so many overlapping layers of prerequisite knowledge! It's hard to get past a certain level of physics without a great deal of math, and chemistry becomes more necessary the further you study biology.

exactly,

(everything is relative)

there's even experts that fall victim to this.

you need some sort of understanding of a quark, to have some sort of understanding of a quasar.

(and everything in between)

Edited by krash661
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Einstein would argue with himself,not with others...

To see the public want to become the next Einstein is wonderful,just imagine if each one wanted to become the next Saddam...

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Einstein would argue with himself,not with others...

To see the public want to become the next Einstein is wonderful,just imagine if each one wanted to become the next Saddam...

But Einstein was well educated in mainstream math and physics of the time. And it doesn't matter that he argued with himself during experiments and research, he still shared his work each time he wrote a paper, and he argued with others then. He didn't work in a vacuum, he didn't shun mainstream science, he took mainstream science further. He understood "the box" thoroughly, so he was able to know when to work outside of it.

I can appreciate anyone who wants to be like Einstein, but I don't think cherry-picking the bits of his life that sound attractive is very intellectually honest. Do the work, study the best explanations we currently have, try to make them better, but don't have the audacity to NOT study physics to a deep degree and then claim you're being like Einstein because you think current physics is incomplete or wrong. That's not what Einstein did.

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Einstein would argue with himself,not with others...

Aren't all scientists supposed to argue with themselves?

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But Einstein was well educated in mainstream math and physics of the time. And it doesn't matter that he argued with himself during experiments and research, he still shared his work each time he wrote a paper, and he argued with others then. He didn't work in a vacuum, he didn't shun mainstream science, he took mainstream science further. He understood "the box" thoroughly, so he was able to know when to work outside of it.

He stood on the shoulders of giants allowing him to see further.

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I think we are loosing the point that nobody's theory is perfect (even Einstein's).

Every theory is only a model and the wise man knows when to use it and when to look for something better. He does not automatically say "The theory did not work out 'here' so should be discarded for all other purposes, as so many posters do."

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I think we are loosing the point that nobody's theory is perfect (even Einstein's).

Every theory is only a model and the wise man knows when to use it and when to look for something better. He does not automatically say "The theory did not work out 'here' so should be discarded for all other purposes, as so many posters do."

True, but I do not see any speculations that seem to predict more than mainstream theories that exist.
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I think we are loosing the point that nobody's theory is perfect (even Einstein's).

Every theory is only a model and the wise man knows when to use it and when to look for something better. He does not automatically say "The theory did not work out 'here' so should be discarded for all other purposes, as so many posters do."

Einstein has to be one of the most misrepresented people in history.

I think, at least from my experience with speculative posters is that a lot of them have started their inquiry with a mindset of "Theory X is wrong. I am going to find proof." as opposed to wanting to actually learn about a certain theory or scientific field. They then encounter something that they personally don't understand, or that they think is unexplained by the theory and have their "eureka" moment. They come here (or elsewhere) touting their brilliant discovery (not knowing the established venues for presenting a new scientific idea i.e. peer reviewed publication - or even worse having been rejected by peer review) only to be dismayed and offended when it is trivially dismissed as flawed. Thus the resulting "science is just religion/dogma which rejects any ideas outside the mainstream" rant.

As a postdoc, I'm only a junior, minor cog in the machine of science. Even so, I think that a lot of these speculative posters would be astounded at the amount of thought, analysis and review that goes into even the most trivial advancement in a scientific field, or the number of ideas, including my own which wind up on the cutting room floor of science. Rather than rally against "the dogma of mainstream science" when I have an idea which has been shown by someone greater than me to be flawed, I'm usually impressed with myself for having come up with an idea that someone I admire did, even if it turned out to have been wrong, or already tested.

I think a lot of them would be astounded at how much effort it takes to simply push the tentacles of knowledge out an inch from the body of our understanding, let alone overturn it.

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In addition to that, one should realize that even findings into which a lot of effort has been put in, may eventually be proven wrong or inaccurate.

The conclusion should then be that even more effort is required. For some reasons some come to the conclusion that they need less.

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As a postdoc, I'm only a junior, minor cog in the machine of science. Even so, I think that a lot of these speculative posters would be astounded at the amount of thought, analysis and review that goes into even the most trivial advancement in a scientific field, or the number of ideas, including my own which wind up on the cutting room floor of science. Rather than rally against "the dogma of mainstream science" when I have an idea which has been shown by someone greater than me to be flawed, I'm usually impressed with myself for having come up with an idea that someone I admire did, even if it turned out to have been wrong, or already tested.

Too many people lack the patience to appreciate the level of trust derived from such a considerate, contemplative, thorough process like the scientific method. In their scientific explorations, they come up against a river blocking their way and just want to throw a log across or take a big jump and hope to find some solid ground. Meanwhile, science is building a bridge big enough and trustworthy enough for all of us to cross safely.

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Heh, it's engineers who just throw the log across the river. We don't care how it works, as long as it works.

Any scientific background serves just as another tool to get the job done quicker and cheaper.

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The crackpot approach is believing that they can walk on water.

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I am fascinated and bewildered by the posters who indulge in this behaviour. The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is unflattering to their intellect and their personality. What troubles me is that one in a thousand, or in ten thousand may actually have an interesting idea, but they will be lost in the Sea of Stupidity.

I'm not sure if someone has made this comparison before but speculations is the sciences version of a talent show. Like the "Idol" type. Where 99.9% cannot even be considered mediocre. They sing in the shower or in front of a mirror and see the next big super star. You have created a venue for science amateurs to get there big break. To be the next science super star. The next Einstein.

I think the reason everyone likes to watch this bad science spectacle is both "car crash" can't look away behavior and the Simon Cowell like responses from the "judges". It is quite entertaining.

Forgive me for one more comparison. The participant's lack of awareness of their lack of abilities is similar to professional stand-up comedy. Some people think they are the funniest person on Earth and they are just as good as the pros, but then one open mic night and they meet reality. The professionals make it look easy, be it sports, entertainment or science.

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Aren't all scientists supposed to argue with themselves?

Yes, but it is more fun to argue with people you have never met via the internet!

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Relativity is wrong

QM is wrong

Newton is (was) wrong

Aunt Sally's cake recipe is wrong.

etc

There is no perfect theory. Usually because they are incomplete.

But that does not mean they are not useful, so long as we understand the limitations and stay within them.

As a for instance

Take a theodolite and measure the vertical angle to a remote point up is positive, down is negative) and you can calculate the vertical height of one above the other by trigonometry.

right?

Sometimes, but I have seen situations where a positive vertical angle has been recorded in both directions. This effect can never be resolved by trigonometry, it needs new theory.

While it's good to be open minded to some alternative views, maybe it's just as simple as someone might not fully grasp the theory to begin with. How to ''accept'' something of which we have no understanding, or full understanding. I was talking with someone about a variety of theories the other day, and she didn't understand a one of them, which is fine, but she didn't WANT to understand them. lol So, she dismissed them as having no validity. So, it could be as simple as that--dismiss something of which you don't understand nor want to understand. haha

Edited by Deidre
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While it's good to be open minded to some alternative views, maybe it's just as simple as someone might not fully grasp the theory to begin with. How to ''accept'' something of which we have no understanding, or full understanding. I was talking with someone about a variety of theories the other day, and she didn't understand a one of them, which is fine, but she didn't WANT to understand them. lol So, she dismissed them as having no validity. So, it could be as simple as that--dismiss something of which you don't understand nor want to understand. haha

One must love aggressive ignorance...

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Yup!

To not have a natural sense of wonder, idk.

It is okay to question, it's when you stop questioning, that one should worry.

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