I was recently on another finance type forum and realized that most of the people there had some views that were pretty far off the beaten path. What I mean is, most people in the industry who have been formally trained will disagree about a lot of things but they have a certain amount of common ground. For example, no one really believes that we should go back to the gold standard. It's just ridiculous. Nobody thinks that every move of the market is the result of a government conspiracy or that big banks or broker-dealers control the Federal Reserve. It seems the more people you have who are "self-taught", the more ridiculous the consensus view for that community tends to be. It's like learning about something from an infomercial. I've seen very convincing ads for magnetic bands that are supposed to cure everything from arthritis to constipation. If you didn't know any better, there's a good chance you would believe them. But that's human nature. If you don't know anything about a subject, you tend to believe the first person who takes the time to teach you. The problem is that for most of these people, it's less like learning and more like imprinting - where an animal believes that it's the same species as whoever is taking care of it. Imprinting can't be unlearned. In the same way, these people persist in their beliefs even in the face of evidence to the contrary. They simply impugne the source of the information or it's accuracy. So when you propose a contrary point of view, one which is universally accepted by anyone who has any real understanding, they won't even be able to hear what you're trying to say. You may as well be talking in clicks and grunts. Their response to this is that their sources are more reliable and respected than yours, except this is never the case, it is only their perception that makes it so. There can be a thousand experts that say X, but they will rely on the one legitimate expert who says Y. So, since I'm new here, I'd like to know in advance what the whack job ratio is. More specifically, the vocal whack job ratio. How many people believe these bogus theories so strongly that they are going to bust a nut flaming anyone who disagrees with their distorted world view? I'm sure that some people will be annoyed and even angered by this. I will be called an elitist or an egghead who may be smart but has no common sense or any understanding of the real world. If that's you, don't waste your time posting. I know that my perceptions might also be flawed and that I may not have as good a grip on things as I think I do. But it's not an issue of absolutes. It's an issue of probabilities. I'm betting on the people who are the hands down majority of respected professionals and academics, not on the fringe personalities who happen to be right some of the time. Also, I'm not going to waste my time justifying my attitude. If it turns out that I'm wrong, that's my problem not yours. If I thought you had my best interests at heart, I might be more accomodating, but that is never the case. These people reinforce their own beliefs by trying to convert others. Any attempt to validate their point is not motivated by altruism. Thanks in advance. I'll think about putting up a poll if it seems it would be useful.