Re: META: How to respond to Crank Science?

From: Louis Newstrom (
Date: Fri Aug 17 2001 - 19:29:05 MDT

> As for pseudoscience and loose thinking, maybe one way handling it
> would be to set up an epistemic policy on the list. Such a policy
> would suggest proper standards for what claims could be posted and
> how much empirical or scholarly backup is proper. For example,
> "Posting of claims contradicting known or widely accepted physical
> phenomena must be backed up by at least one independent empirical
> study".

One problem with this is quite evident on the sci.physics groups. These
cranks are not above faking whole web-sites full of studies. I have seen
whole web-sites full of equations proving that Einstein and Galileo was
wrong. All that happens is that you move the argument from posted
statements to referred-to statements.

You might end up telling cranks how to look presentable. Right now, the
best way to identify the cranks is that they DON'T publish references. If
you force them to, then they will apear as rational as anyone else.

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