ET Crank Test

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by CT10Gov, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. CT10Gov


    In "Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science", Martin Gardner made a pretty good check list for the signs of being a crank. We can apply this test to an ET poster as a quick check of his crankiness.

    We can start off by considering if Jack Hershey fits any of these tests... what do you say?

    (1) "Cranks tend to invent their own terminology, sometimes their own sciences, and tend to write in their own overcomplicated jargon. Beware of the article that discusses a science with terminology not found on Wikipedia. Beware of any scientist that invents his own name for a new science. Obviously all new sciences do originally need to be named, but the number of crank theories with made-up names is much, much larger. And beware of any article that is written with such jargon in an overcomplicated way that makes no sense. Don’t jump to the conclusion that the author is smarter than you; he may simply be a crank."

    (2) Cranks tend to consider themselves geniuses. Cranks tend to learn early on that their work is pretty unique. For some reason they often fail to consider the possibility that this uniqueness is for any reason other than its utter brilliance. “I’m the only one smart enough to see this” a pretty clear red flag. Beware of anyone who claims unique insight.

    (3) Cranks tend to work in isolation from their colleagues. This is conducive to drifting far afield. If you want to stay abreast of the latest developments, you usually want to be part of the community. If you’re not, you proceed unchecked, and you lack the checks and balances and corrections of peer review. Isolation is rarely or never the best way to insure that your work is on track.

    (4) Cranks tend to regard their colleagues and critics as stupid. The Dunning-Kruger effect is expressed when people of mediocre ability are unable to perceive their own mediocrity, and unable to comprehend that others may be smarter or more capable than they. When a crank sees a colleague doing different work or coming to different conclusions, it may well be that his own incompetence prevents him from understanding that it’s possible for others to be smarter. Therefore, the colleagues’ different conclusions can only be due to their stupidity.

    (5) Cranks tend to believe there is a conspiracy against them. Why will nobody publish their paper or invite them to speak at conferences? Is it because their work is poor? No, it must be a conspiracy to protect to status quo and to suppress innovation. A crank is so convinced of his own correctness that there doesn’t seem to be any rational reason for the community to dispute his work, therefore a conspiracy seems to be a better explanation.

    (6) "Cranks tend to criticize the work of big names in science. Einstein is usually the favorite. When a good scientist finds a flaw in established theory, that theory rarely happens to be from one of the big names in science; not because the big names are special or infallible, but simply because the huge number of scientists in the world dilutes the big names down to a tiny percentage. Cranks probably tend to go after big names because their own limited expertise makes them more familiar with the big names than with the actual science being done in the field. Have you ever doubted Einstein, at a time when you could genuinely claim to have a thorough understanding of all the work done since his time?"

    (7) Cranks tend to be paranoid. They worry that their important discoveries are being spied upon, that evil forces are out to destroy their reputations, that colleagues are conspiring to suppress their discoveries. Nobody doing legitimate science, or working within the scientific method, has any plausible reason to be paranoid about such things. Can any legitimate scientist recall the last time they conspired to suppress good work?

    (the points are via the skepticblog, rearranged the ordering by me in order of how I think Jack Hershey fits)
  2. ?....."yes" to three of those, "no" to two and "maybe" to two. :cool: :confused: :eek: :p :D :)
  3. Good post. The first time I noticed this was back in the 80's with L. Ron Hubbard's book.
  4. Is jack a crank or a charlatan? Cranks are harmless, charlatans are more dangerous.
  5. CT10Gov


    Can't he be both?

    A crank is state of mind; a charlatan is a state of being.

    For example, morganist is both a crank (his 'theories' fits just about everyone of those checklist item), and a charlatan (he 'publishes' his theories on blogs/huf post in hope that they might be adopted as policy). Luckily, he's also incompetent, so that latter part doesn't hurt us.

  6. I guess I am a "crank". Wow, break my heart, what another stupid useless idiotic 2 cents. Did these morons have a governement grant to come up with their term, and "anal"ysis? Grow up, get a life, and tell me you can see better reasons to waste tax payer dollars than studies like this.
  7. CT10Gov


    Um... some guy wrote a book on his own dime... what's your problem exactly? Do you hate intellect on principle?

    ... don't think you are crank, just another know-nothing'er

  8. Best was when he said he was genetically predisposed to banking but he couldn't understand that notional on an interest rate swap was different than the risk on said swap.
  9. Oh my goodness, what is the notation......ROFLMAO! Figure it out for yourself. I am just entertained, and that is good.
  10. kut2k2


    No, cranks are not always harmless. They are at best a waste of time and often they waste more than just innocent bystanders' time.

    I think this guy nailed it:

    Jack's largely incoherent posts have derailed many a potentially insightful thread.

    Crank or charlatan, he has been more detrimental than beneficial.

    Nothing to be proud of.
    #10     Aug 1, 2013