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-   -   Scientists and other Scholars who publish work considered "crank" by most peers (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=790371)

Frylock 04-14-2016 08:13 AM

Scientists and other Scholars who publish work considered "crank" by most peers
 
This is probably a big ask but I am hoping to find out who exists--or has recently existed--who fits the following criteria:

1. Is an academic who could be considered well-published in their field
2. Has a view that is considered not just wrong, but "crank" levels of wrong, by a large number--preferably most or even all--others in their field
3. At least occasionally speaks about and publishes about this "crank" idea in peer-reviewed or otherwise "gated" well-established venues* in their field--venues universally or near-universally considered reliable academic venues by people in the relevant field

*so like, journals, conferences, curated academic web/blog sites, etc.

The best example I can think of is any proponent of String Theory, which isn't really a good example at all. But it's my understanding that many physicists do despair that String Theory is at crank-ish "not even wrong" levels of "wrong."

What better examples exist? Are there really biologists out there, for example, who could be considered realistically to be "respected scientists," in the sense outlined above, who openly espouse and even get stuff published on creationism or Intelligent Design? Climate scientists who do the same arguing against global warming? Etc.

Princhester 04-14-2016 08:27 AM

Bjorn Lomborg could be considered a candidate.

USCDiver 04-14-2016 08:27 AM

I think the Anti-vax researcher, Andrew Wakefield is the poster child for this.

BrotherCadfael 04-14-2016 08:41 AM

The classic example was "continental drift". There was some evidence (magnetic traces, mostly) that continents could move and had moved, but until a workable mechanism (plate tectonics) was proposed to explain how it could happen, "Continental Drift" was a fringe theory and proponents were considered nuts.

One of the very, very, very few cases of complete woo ultimately becoming the dominant paradigm.

Unfortunately often cited by current advocates of woo.

Grey 04-14-2016 08:51 AM

You'd be wrong about String Theory. It's isn't crankish nonsense but it does get a lot of attention despite being just one approach amongst many to get past the standard model and tie the 4 fundamental forces together.

I was thinking of Roger Penrose and his attempts to tie consciousness to to quantum events in the brain. He's deeply respected in theoretical physics and mathematics but his views on consciousness are basically dismissed.

Frylock 04-14-2016 08:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael (Post 19259133)
The classic example was "continental drift". There was some evidence (magnetic traces, mostly) that continents could move and had moved, but until a workable mechanism (plate tectonics) was proposed to explain how it could happen, "Continental Drift" was a fringe theory and proponents were considered nuts.

One of the very, very, very few cases of complete woo ultimately becoming the dominant paradigm.

Unfortunately often cited by current advocates of woo.

Yeah that's a good example albeit a very old one, and your last line is unfortunately apropos because I am trying to advocate for an idea a lot of people think is woo but which there _are_ a handful of relevant serious respected scholars who say the idea should at least be taken seriously. So I'm trying to show this idea is in a better position than other "crank" ideas in at least that regard. I hope I'm right. ;)

Frylock 04-14-2016 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grey (Post 19259153)
You'd be wrong about String Theory. It's isn't crankish nonsense but it does get a lot of attention despite being just one approach amongst many to get past the standard model and tie the 4 fundamental forces together.

I was thinking of Roger Penrose and his attempts to tie consciousness to to quantum events in the brain. He's deeply respected in theoretical physics and mathematics but his views on consciousness are basically dismissed.

Does he present these ideas successfully in "gated" and peer-reviewed venues? Or is it something he talks about just in his popular works?

Grey 04-14-2016 09:01 AM

Phys Life Rev. 2014 Mar;11(1):39-78. doi: 10.1016/j.plrev.2013.08.002. Epub 2013 Aug 20.
Consciousness in the universe: a review of the 'Orch OR' theory.

Fretful Porpentine 04-14-2016 09:10 AM

Roger Stritmatter would probably qualify in literary studies: he's a full professor at Coppin State University, best known for maintaining a website dedicated to the proposition that the Earl of Oxford wrote the works of Shakespeare. IIRC, he's got at least some publications in respectable venues that touch on this idea.

cjepson 04-14-2016 09:13 AM

A request for clarification: Are you asking for:

(a) respected scholars who
(b) have something that is widely considered a crank belief and
(c) have publications supporting that belief in peer-reviewed journals?

If so, I'm not sure there's anyone who meets all three criteria... if a belief is truly considered "crank" by most peers (as specified in your thread title), then it seems to me that, by definition, it's not likely to get past a peer review.

(On edit: I'm thinking mainly of scientists. This may not be as true for other scholars.)

Ignotus 04-14-2016 09:31 AM

Linus Pauling (Nobel laureate) had, in his later years, some weird ideas about vitamin C and whatnot. I believe he even had some articles on this subject published in well-renowned journals.

friedo 04-14-2016 09:35 AM

How about Linus Pauling. He is one of the most important theoretical chemists who contributed a great deal to chemistry and quantum physics and won two (!) Nobel Prizes. (OK, one of them was a peace prize, but the other was for chemistry.) He also discovered the biochemical mechanism of sickle-cell anemia.

He was also a Soviet sympathizer, and wrote a book How to Live Longer and Feel Better which advocated that everyone take huge doses of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and that this would cure all your ills. I'm pretty sure this is where the myth of Vitamin C curing or preventing colds comes from. He later published papers asserting that Vitamin C could treat heart disease, atherosclerosis, and other maladies.

His experimental trials were laughably bad with poor controls, and followup studies using proper controls found no difference between Vitamin C and placebo for all of these conditions.

Busy Scissors 04-14-2016 09:46 AM

James Lovelock is held in extremely highly regard - on account of his obvious brilliance and achievements as a scientist outside of the 'system' - but I'm not sure how seriously his Gaia hypotheses are taken. Suspect they might be referred to as 'crank theories' had a less distinguished scientist rolled them out.

Should say that I've not read the papers, and thinking about very large regulatory systems and network effects in biospheres all sounds sensible. I believe he went a long way past that, though, with little data or mechanistic ideas to hand.

Les Espaces Du Sommeil 04-14-2016 09:59 AM

Linguist Merritt Ruhlen is a lecturer in Anthropological Sciences at Stanford. His efforts to reconstruct the Proto-Human language, the highly conjectural common ancestor of all the world's languages has very few supporters and loads of critics. According to the latter, his theories fall into the "not-even-wrong" category.

"... the search for global etymologies is at best a hopeless waste of time, at worst an embarrassment to linguistics as a discipline, unfortunately confusing and misleading to those who might look to linguistics for understanding in this area" (Campbell and Poser 2008:393).

LSLGuy 04-14-2016 10:17 AM

Truly famous names can sometimes get bunk published. Often bunk that's not really up their main area of expertise. Such as Penrose on consciousness or Pauling on vitamin C.

I'm not sure how examples of this support the OP's desire that his particular flavor of "Eminent scientist both supports bunk and gets it published ... a little" be accorded extra respect.

Science publishing is ultimately a human social phenomenon. It's not purely social as in Facebook "likes". But the social aspects of peer review and noteworthiness are things which detract from the truth value of the totality of a given journal's output, not contribute to it. Said another way if you're looking at two articles, one by a big name and one by a nobody, it's more likely the nobody has done the better research and found the better truth.

IOW, bunk remains bunk even if it's popular and celebrities like it. Whether those are entertainment celebrities or science celebrities.

The fact a broken calendar has been right twice in a century is no reason to decide that broken calendars are good Oracles.

Some Call Me... Tim 04-14-2016 10:18 AM

Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, depending on how you define recent. They managed to publish by inertia after nearly everyone had concluded their Cold Fusion was woo.

Oh, and nobel prize winning physicist Brian Josephson now believes in lots of hardcore woo including parapsychology, but he's not now publishing in the same peer reviewed areas as his earlier, more respectable, work.

Frylock 04-14-2016 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LSLGuy (Post 19259384)
Truly famous names can sometimes get bunk published. Often bunk that's not really up their main area of expertise. Such as Penrose on consciousness or Pauling on vitamin C.

I'm not sure how examples of this support the OP's desire that his particular flavor of "Eminent scientist both supports bunk and gets it published ... a little" be accorded extra respect.

Quite the opposite--my expectation/hope is that what I described in the OP is a really rare thing.

Exapno Mapcase 04-14-2016 10:24 AM

Fred Hoyle has to be the champ.


Quote:

In addition to his views on steady state theory and panspermia, Hoyle also supported the following controversial theories:
  • The correlation of flu epidemics with the sunspot cycle, with epidemics occurring at the minimum of the cycle. The idea was that flu contagion was scattered in the interstellar medium and reached Earth only when the solar wind had minimum power.[citation needed]
  • The fossil Archaeopteryx was a man-made fake.[34] This assertion was definitively refuted by, among other strong indications, the presence of microcracks extending through the fossil into the surrounding rock.
  • The theory of abiogenic petroleum, where natural hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) are explained as the result of deep carbon deposits, instead of fossilized organic material. "The suggestion that petroleum might have arisen from some transformation of squashed fish or biological detritus is surely the silliest notion to have been entertained by substantial numbers of persons over an extended period of time."[citation needed]
  • The use of the fifty-six Aubrey holes at Stonehenge as a system for the neolithic Britons to predict eclipses, using them in the daily positioning of marker stones as proposed in his 1977 book On Stonehenge. The use of the Aubrey holes for predicting lunar eclipses was originally proposed by Gerald Hawkins whose book of the subject Stonehenge Decoded (1965) predates Hoyle's.[citation needed]


Quartz 04-14-2016 10:38 AM

Eric Laithwaite is a good example. My father was actually present at his infamous lecture.

Surreal 04-14-2016 10:40 AM

Stephen Jay Gould

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/science/14skull.html

http://lesswrong.com/lw/kv/beware_of_stephen_j_gould/

http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/evolute.html

Fretful Porpentine 04-14-2016 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cjepson (Post 19259201)
A request for clarification: Are you asking for:

(a) respected scholars who
(b) have something that is widely considered a crank belief and
(c) have publications supporting that belief in peer-reviewed journals?

If so, I'm not sure there's anyone who meets all three criteria... if a belief is truly considered "crank" by most peers (as specified in your thread title), then it seems to me that, by definition, it's not likely to get past a peer review.

In Stritmatter's case, my understanding is that his peer reviewed publications tend to be "stealth Oxfordianism"; for example, one of the obstacles to Oxford's authorship is that he died in 1604, and at least ten of Shakespeare's plays are generally agreed to have been written after that date. So Stritmatter's modus operandi is to argue for an earlier date for one of these works in a peer-reviewed journal (an idea that most mainstream Shakespeare scholars might consider unlikely, but not inherently nutty), without directly arguing that somebody other than Shakespeare wrote it -- and then make the Oxford connection in a non-peer-reviewed venue. Or to argue in a peer-reviewed venue that a passage in Shakespeare alludes to a particular Biblical passage -- a mainstream, non-controversial argument in itself -- and then point out on his website that this passage is underlined in Oxford's personal copy of the Bible.

Francis Vaughan 04-14-2016 10:55 AM

Yeah, Fred Hoyle is one of the first to come to mind. Which is really sad. He richly deserved a free trip to Stockholm, but his less mainstream ideas made him unpalatable. His Steady State theory of the universe probably really made it hard. But he gave us the Big Bang as a name, and of course neucleogenesis.

There are quite a few cranks around in acedemia who push ideas outside of their area of expertese. I have personally come across a couple. One local geophysisist tries to debunk global warming, and there are a few creationalists about to say the least.

Really Not All That Bright 04-14-2016 10:59 AM

Fred Hoyle and canals on Mars immediately came to mind. I think another good example would be Lord Kelvin and his views on the age of the earth (though to be fair science was only just beginning to show how much older it was).
Quote:

Originally Posted by USCDiver (Post 19259093)
I think the Anti-vax researcher, Andrew Wakefield is the poster child for this.

Wakefield's work is no longer being published in any reputable journal, though. At the time when his original vaccination work was published in The Lancet it was seen as cutting edge rather than crazy. It wasn't until people figured out he falsified his data that everyone (including his peer reviewers and co-authors) caught on.

wevets 04-14-2016 11:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frylock (Post 19259071)
This is probably a big ask but I am hoping to find out who exists--or has recently existed--who fits the following criteria:

1. Is an academic who could be considered well-published in their field
2. Has a view that is considered not just wrong, but "crank" levels of wrong, by a large number--preferably most or even all--others in their field
3. At least occasionally speaks about and publishes about this "crank" idea in peer-reviewed or otherwise "gated" well-established venues* in their field--venues universally or near-universally considered reliable academic venues by people in the relevant field


Peter Duesberg certainly qualifies - well-published, and did some very valuable work on cancer and cancer-related viruses in the 1970s and 1980s. Has the certainly wrong idea that HIV is a harmless virus merely found in association with AIDS, and is not the cause of AIDS.

Meets part 1 of your #3 criteria - he was just here yesterday speaking about it (a colleague is a former student of his & keeps inviting him) - although he hasn't published anything in respectable journals about it in years. His webpage lists a 2011 publication on AIDS in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, which I never heard of before today and I doubt has a high level of prestige.

Francis Vaughan 04-14-2016 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 19259505)
I think another good example would be Lord Kelvin and his views on the age of the earth

Lord Kelvin simply worked out the age of the Earth based upon heat transfer calculations. He was smart enough to know that the assumption that the Earth had no internal heat source was important to his analysis. He did live long enough to see radioactive sources discovered, but only just. Although devout, he was also smart enough to temper his beliefs about the world with science. Where it gets hard for him is when there were important discoveries yet to be made that invalidated some of his calculations. Nuclear fusion and thus the age of the sun being the obvious gap. But his beliefs were rooted in solid application of scientific knowledge as it was at the time. He wasn't a crank.

Colibri 04-14-2016 12:01 PM

That's not remotely a good example. Gould's views may be controversial but are not considered to be "crank levels of wrong." And the last two "cites" are a blog and a speech by an economist. Not exactly a good indication of Gould's reputation in the field.

Fiveyearlurker 04-14-2016 12:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wevets (Post 19259534)
Peter Duesberg certainly qualifies - well-published, and did some very valuable work on cancer and cancer-related viruses in the 1970s and 1980s. Has the certainly wrong idea that HIV is a harmless virus merely found in association with AIDS, and is not the cause of AIDS.

Meets part 1 of your #3 criteria - he was just here yesterday speaking about it (a colleague is a former student of his & keeps inviting him) - although he hasn't published anything in respectable journals about it in years. His webpage lists a 2011 publication on AIDS in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, which I never heard of before today and I doubt has a high level of prestige.

I came to nominate Duesberg. We actually had him come give a talk when I was in graduate school. At this point, I think he has to know that he is wrong, but he was so invested in it, that his pride isn't letting him backtrack.

Surreal 04-14-2016 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 19259736)
That's not remotely a good example. Gould's views may be controversial but are not considered to be "crank levels of wrong." And the last two "cites" are a blog and a speech by an economist. Not exactly a good indication of Gould's reputation in the field.

Okay, but no comments at all on the first link? The one that said "almost every detail of his analysis is wrong", “Ironically, Gould’s own analysis of Morton is likely the stronger example of a bias influencing results”, and "I had the feeling that his ideological stance was supreme. When the 1996 version of ‘The Mismeasure of Man’ came and he never even bothered to mention Michael’s study, I just felt he was a charlatan.”

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker 04-14-2016 12:22 PM

Kary Mullis

Colibri 04-14-2016 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Surreal (Post 19259779)
Okay, but no comments at all on the first link? The one that said "almost every detail of his analysis is wrong", “Ironically, Gould’s own analysis of Morton is likely the stronger example of a bias influencing results”, and "I had the feeling that his ideological stance was supreme. When the 1996 version of ‘The Mismeasure of Man’ came and he never even bothered to mention Michael’s study, I just felt he was a charlatan.”

Gould is certainly no charlatan. That's only one of many books. He's been a very influential figure in evolutionary biology. And being biased about a certain idea and getting an analysis wrong does not make him a crank. If so, there would be a pretty large number cranks among scientists.

Again, you are quoting a newspaper report rather than the opinion of Gould among actual scientists. And the article also contains this quote:

Quote:

As for the new finding’s bearing on Dr. Gould’s reputation, Dr. Kitcher said: “Steve doesn’t come out as a rogue but as someone who makes mistakes. If Steve were around he would probably defend himself with great ingenuity.”
In this and other cases, Gould interpreted data to fit his own intellectual framework. But that's been the case for many influential scientists. It doesn't make them cranks.

Ignotus 04-14-2016 12:50 PM

And there are of course Phillip Lenard, Johannes Stark et al., whose campaign for "Deutsche Physik" against relativity and quantuum mechanics in Nazi Germany may, however, have been more of an act in bad faith and a sign of moral cowardice rather than genuine crankiness.

Senegoid 04-14-2016 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan (Post 19259493)
There are quite a few cranks around in acedemia who push ideas outside of their area of expertese. I have personally come across a couple. One local geophysisist tries to debunk global warming, and there are a few creationalists about to say the least.

Several examples given here are/were noted scholars who published crankish stuff outside of their field, or at the fringes of their field. But OP seems to be asking, more specifically, for crankish stuff published by noted scholars within their field.

If we allow examples of scholars delving into matters beyond their field of expertise, then let's not forget William Shockley, developer of the transistor, the man who "brought silicon to Silicon Valley" and who, later in his career, became a strong proponent of eugenics and "voluntary sterilization" for anyone with IQ under 100. IIRC, he became especially noted -- and scorned -- when he began pushing theories of certain races being genetically inferior to certain other races.

mozchron 04-14-2016 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wevets (Post 19259534)
Peter Duesberg certainly qualifies - well-published, and did some very valuable work on cancer and cancer-related viruses in the 1970s and 1980s. Has the certainly wrong idea that HIV is a harmless virus merely found in association with AIDS, and is not the cause of AIDS.

Came in to nominate Duesberg as well. Also Mullis.

Senegoid 04-14-2016 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ignotus (Post 19259867)
And there are of course Phillip Lenard, Johannes Stark et al., whose campaign for "Deutsche Physik" against relativity and quantuum mechanics in Nazi Germany may, however, have been more of an act in bad faith and a sign of moral cowardice rather than genuine crankiness.

Was this just something that Nazi ideology seemed to require?

Sounds akin to Lysenkoism in Russia, which was, at its core, a kind of ideological contortion of biological science that seemed to fit well with the Soviet concepts of communalism. Or something like that.

wevets 04-14-2016 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Surreal (Post 19259779)
Okay, but no comments at all on the first link? The one that said "almost every detail of his analysis is wrong", “Ironically, Gould’s own analysis of Morton is likely the stronger example of a bias influencing results”, and "I had the feeling that his ideological stance was supreme. When the 1996 version of ‘The Mismeasure of Man’ came and he never even bothered to mention Michael’s study, I just felt he was a charlatan.”


Is that enough to make Gould a crank? Crank ideas usually don't come in the form: "he believed Morton was wrong."



Crank ideas, to me, are more of the form:
HIV doesn't cause AIDS

Sunspots are a cause of viral disease outbreaks

Vitamin C is a cure-all medicine

The nation that controls Magnesium controls the Universe

Psychic consciousness and memory exist independent of neurons and brain chemistry

Dianetics



I don't think "Morton was wrong" qualifies as a "crank" idea even if Gould's analysis was hilariously wrong, or even dishonest.

lazybratsche 04-14-2016 01:30 PM

There are a number of biologists who study aging that, IMHO, dance right on the line separating paradigm-breaking research and crankdom*, or pharmaceutical research and snake-oil sales.

Specifically, I'll mention Aubrey de Grey as crank-ish. He's the subject of many breathless articles in the popular press about how we will Cure Aging Forever! But the vast majority of his academic publications have been commentaries and review articles, mostly in a journal that he runs. However, he also runs a small research foundation that does does plenty of legitimate, if unconventional, research.

*The easiest way I've found to find candidate cranks is on TED talks. Even the more grounded scientists (whose work I am very familiar with) that give such presentations are encouraged to make ever more grandiose and unsupported claims... I now assume similar phenomenon happen in just about every other subject of a TED talk, where some core nugget of truth is stretched and distorted beyond all recognition, all in the service of empty intellectual preening.

Ignotus 04-14-2016 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Senegoid (Post 19259916)
Was this just something that Nazi ideology seemed to require?

Sounds akin to Lysenkoism in Russia, which was, at its core, a kind of ideological contortion of biological science that seemed to fit well with the Soviet concepts of communalism. Or something like that.

Well, Einstein and Max Born were Jews. And any Jewish theory must be wrong, right? See the logic?

And yes, I think the short and ugly history of Lysenkoism is a totally parallell phenomenon.

yabob 04-14-2016 02:00 PM

What about all the late 19th century scientists who bought into spiritualism, such as Crookes, Pierre Curie and Alfred Russell Wallace?

DrDeth 04-14-2016 02:19 PM

He started out as one of the most readable scientists out there, but then started beating one drum very very loudly and constantly (as evidenced in your first link) which got very tiresome.

DrDeth 04-14-2016 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 19259505)
Fred Hoyle and canals on Mars immediately came to mind. .

Are you thinking Percival Lowell? :confused:

Atamasama 04-14-2016 02:33 PM

Would Nikola Tesla count? His contributions to science are unquestioned but he had some really out-there ideas, especially later on in life.

LSLGuy 04-14-2016 02:44 PM

I think he's pretty much the archetype of "bleeding edge scientist becomes obviously crazy crank."

zimaane 04-14-2016 02:57 PM

Jeff Meldrum is a professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University. Not dean of Harvard, but nothing to sneeze at either.

His main research area is Bigfoot, in whose existence he passionately believes:

http://www.oregonlive.com/today/inde..._publishe.html

Frylock 04-14-2016 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Senegoid (Post 19259887)
Several examples given here are/were noted scholars who published crankish stuff outside of their field, or at the fringes of their field. But OP seems to be asking, more specifically, for crankish stuff published by noted scholars within their field.

That's correct. :)

Chronos 04-14-2016 03:40 PM

Hoyle was the second person I thought of. The first, though, was Mordehai Milgrom, who's long been pushing the hypothesis that there is no dark matter, and that instead gravity itself is modified in some way. The problem is that his Modified Newtonian Gravity can't fit all of the many different dark matter observations at once, it's very difficult to make it even self-consistent, and nobody has ever even proposed a relativistic form of the model. It may be that he's stumbled upon some interesting emergent phenomenon in dark matter distributions in galaxies, but it's obscured behind his mountains of nonsense.

araminty 04-14-2016 03:53 PM

This example doesn't fit neatly into the OP's requirements, but it's an interesting story. Zoology blogger Darren Naish describes it as "taxonomic vandalism." Here's his post on the issue.

The particular idiot in question is an amateur herpetologist, who, for his own bizarre reasons, has taken it upon himself to rename and reclassify Australian reptile fauna. He has succeeded in publishing a LOT of papers, by dint of founding his own "journal." Because of the ICZN's established rules of taxonomy, including the Principle of Priority, the ludicrous new names he applies are, technically, valid.

The guy (I'm not using his name, as he probably has Google alerts up the wazoo and is loudly defensive of his "work") is also known as a cowboy snake exhibit, draping venomous snakes, that he has surgically altered, all over children. He gives me the heebie-jeebies. I really wish he would stop.

dtilque 04-14-2016 03:57 PM

Some examples no one's mentioned yet:

Halton Arp, an astronomer who disagreed with the Big Bang. He thought quasars were associated with relatively nearby galaxies, rather than being extremely distant phenomena.

More Big Bang non-agreers were Geoffrey and Margaret Burbidge.


In geology, Samuel Carey advocated that plate techtonics was driven by the Earth expanding rather than subduction.

SmartAlecCat 04-14-2016 05:20 PM

John Christy, climate change denier. One of the few competent, intelligent climate scientists who do so.

wolfpup 04-14-2016 05:33 PM

There are tons of examples in the ever-popular and lucrative field of climate change denial, literally far too many to list. But one of the more notorious ones was the physicist Frederick Seitz, who was among other things the recipient of the National Medal of Science and was the president of Rockefeller University and, incredibly, was for a time president of the National Academy of Sciences. He was also pathologically dishonest and had all the integrity of a sewer rat, first contracting with R.J. Reynolds to lend his credentials to undermining the science about the dangers of tobacco, then launching an all-out attack on climate science.

Seitz was one of the key principals behind the disreputable Oregon Petition in which a large number of scientists allegedly questioned the reality of climate change, wherein it turned out many of the names were completely fabricated and the rest either worked in completely unrelated fields or else had their views misrepresented. The Oregon Petition was accompanied by a 12-page article questioning climate change that looked exactly like a paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which turned out to be a forgery created by Seitz and which precipitated an extraordinary public reprimand from the NAS.

There are also a very small number of real scientists working in the field of climate science who knowingly publish garbage. Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas are two names often found together in this context. Roy Spencer is another, a name almost invariably found on the Internet as "Roy Spencer, Ph.D." to make it clear what you're dealing with when you deal with Roy. Spencer is simply a far-right political ideologue misappropriating and distorting science for political objectives. Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick are another dynamic duo particularly noteworthy for their incessant attacks on the distinguished climate scientist Michael Mann. McKitrick is actually a mining engineer but McIntyre is an academic mathematician, and the duo published a paper making some minor but ultimately irrelevant criticisms of some of Mann's statistical methods. McIntyre has been beating that same dead horse on his Internet blog ever since, and complaining that no one wants to publish his brilliant observations any more.

Another interesting one is Richard Lindzen, among the more prestigious of the quacks because he was actually a reputable atmospheric physicist at MIT until his retirement a few years ago. His modus operandi was simple, and was basically modeled on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the scientific domain he would publish (usually) reputable research, but his public persona was that of a staunch denialist. He would say things in public speeches and op-eds in papers like the Wall Street Journal that were scientifically laughable, but because he had a long string of legitimate publications and was a well-known academic -- at MIT, no less -- his words were perceived by many to carry a credibility that had absolutely no justification.

Freeman Dyson is in a different category entirely. He was a brilliant physicist who is now extremely elderly and, apparently, rather senile, and has somehow persuaded himself that climate models are inherently flawed and that, by extension, everything we think we know about the future of climate is wrong. There are actually a number of these individuals suffering some form of dementia peddling similar nonsense, but Dyson is perhaps among the most storied.

It seems to me that the Seitz and the Lindzen types, actual scientists who cynically and dishonestly abused their reputations to promote falsehoods, are the most dangerous of the quacks because they not only mislead the public but put science itself into disrepute.

chorpler 04-14-2016 05:52 PM

How about Steve Jones, the physics professor at BYU who got involved in 9/11 conspiracies and got a few papers about thermite being used in the "demolition" of the World Trade Centers published in peer reviewed journals? I believe he had some claims about measuring the weight of souls before then, but I'm pretty sure they weren't published in peer-reviewed journals.

Aspidistra 04-14-2016 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by araminty (Post 19260503)
This example doesn't fit neatly into the OP's requirements, but it's an interesting story. Zoology blogger Darren Naish describes it as "taxonomic vandalism." Here's his post on the issue.

The particular idiot in question is an amateur herpetologist, who, for his own bizarre reasons, has taken it upon himself to rename and reclassify Australian reptile fauna. He has succeeded in publishing a LOT of papers, by dint of founding his own "journal." Because of the ICZN's established rules of taxonomy, including the Principle of Priority, the ludicrous new names he applies are, technically, valid.

The guy (I'm not using his name, as he probably has Google alerts up the wazoo and is loudly defensive of his "work") is also known as a cowboy snake exhibit, draping venomous snakes, that he has surgically altered, all over children. He gives me the heebie-jeebies. I really wish he would stop.

The minute you said 'herpetologist' I was pretty sure I knew who you were talking about - and looking at your link, I was right. Dude in question used to bring his snake show to our local primary school for maybe as much as a decade - and I must say, the presenters (not him personally, but people he'd trained) were extremely professional and competent every time, and I'm not aware of anyone having any problems with the show ever.

We also had them for the Taller Girl's birthday party, and I did research him online prior to allowing that, and discovered the loopiness, but decided that it probably didn't detract from the fact that he runs his displays competently - and in the event, that seemed to be true.

It seems to be a case of "smart, but not as smart as he THINKS he is" syndrome

Tamerlane 04-14-2016 06:04 PM

Hmmm...Dean Kenyon might qualify on the outskirts. He came to his Young Earth Creationism a decade after he was already an established biology professor ( granted not a particularly notable one ) and YEC is about as far out in crank land as it gets for most professional biologists.

janeslogin 04-14-2016 06:09 PM

These two were disrespected for some period of time: Helicobacter pylori, previously Campylobacter pylori, is a gram-negative, microaerophilic bacterium found usually in the stomach. It was identified in 1982 by Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, who found that it was present in a person with chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers, conditions not previously believed to have a microbial cause. I

Jackmannii 04-14-2016 06:26 PM

Peter Duesberg (known for denying that HIV causes AIDS) is actually not representative of what the OP is asking about.

Duesberg has been a co-author on a fair number of research papers in recent years in decent journals, but based on a PubMed search, these are articles about genetics and carcinogenesis, not his crank beliefs about HIV. The only papers I can find regarding his HIV-doesn't-cause-AIDS thesis since 2003 were published in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology (not exactly a high-impact publication) and Medical Hypotheses (pretty much a junk journal that accepts a lot of goofball provocative ideas).
Quote:

Originally Posted by janeslogin
These two were disrespected for some period of time: Helicobacter pylori, previously Campylobacter pylori, is a gram-negative, microaerophilic bacterium found usually in the stomach. It was identified in 1982 by Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, who found that it was present in a person with chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers, conditions not previously believed to have a microbial cause.

Not a good example at all.

Marshall et al's proposition that H. pylori caused ulcers caused initial skepticism among many physicians/scientists, but followup work confirming their findings came out in fairly short order, so they were never consigned to the status of cranks like others mentioned in this thread.

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bacter...king_of_a_myth

Guest-starring: Id! 04-14-2016 06:32 PM

These astrophysicists could be considered somewhat "alternative".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFTaiWInZ44

Kropotkin 04-14-2016 06:45 PM

Thomas Gold?

Hari Seldon 04-14-2016 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grey (Post 19259153)
You'd be wrong about String Theory. It's isn't crankish nonsense but it does get a lot of attention despite being just one approach amongst many to get past the standard model and tie the 4 fundamental forces together.

I was thinking of Roger Penrose and his attempts to tie consciousness to to quantum events in the brain. He's deeply respected in theoretical physics and mathematics but his views on consciousness are basically dismissed.

I have to agree on Penrose. Not just his ideas on consciousness, which cannot be refuted, but his claim that humans can solve problems that computers cannot, which is easy to refute. And he won't admit he is wrong.

Another example was Linus Pauling, double nobelist, who went off the deep end over vitamin C. I don't agree that Wakefield is an example. Total fraud.

In another era Newton spent a lot of time trying to turn lead into gold.

Ignotus 04-14-2016 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hari Seldon (Post 19261122)
I have to agree on Penrose. Not just his ideas on consciousness, which cannot be refuted, but his claim that humans can solve problems that computers cannot, which is easy to refute. And he won't admit he is wrong.

Another example was Linus Pauling, double nobelist, who went off the deep end over vitamin C. I don't agree that Wakefield is an example. Total fraud.

In another era Newton spent a lot of time trying to turn lead into gold.

I believe he was rather trying to turn iron into copper (useful for casting bronze cannons). And this was hardly crank or even fringe science in an age before Dalton and the atomic theory.

bonzer 04-14-2016 08:52 PM

You know what, I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest that pretty much every single bloody reply in this entire thread fails the OP's criteria. Every single last one of you.

Now I'll start by emphasising that I'm probably the Dope's fiercest adovcate that science is an utterly human activity. Just because something is scientific doesn't make it special. It's just as human as anything else.

So let's go. I'm skipping most of the humanities/biological suggestions and only a couple of the physical science ones.
  • Plate tectonics The arguments around mechanisms were utterly significant in the first half of the 20th century. But you then become in danger of ruling out Arthur Holmes as a mere crank. By all accounts he was always regarded as a major figure and was central to the determination of the age of the earth, several decades before plate tectonics became accepted. Not to mention his influential textbook.
  • String theory Yes, controversial amongst quantum field theorists (including myself), but not obviously pseudoscience. On the whole, sensible - if highly speculative - stuff.
  • Roger Penrose Kind of an example, but not terribly significant. Major figure in mathematical physics, but his stuff on conciousness is marginal. The latter got high profile publications initially, but these days? His other stuff gets paid attention to.
  • Roger Stritmatter Does anybody serious take him at all seriously? Other than the fellow cranks?
  • Linus Pauling How successful was Pauling in getting his Vitamin C stuff into the serious literature? And I speak as someone who once
    spent an afternoon in one of the US's main medical libraries checking whether Pauling intervened in my mother's death from cancer. (He didn't, but it was a minor matter of timing, rather than geography. I don't hold the connection against him.) From memory, Pauling either had other's lead on the key studies or he had stuff published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Which is a kind of bias in these matters: elected Fellows get to publish, or recommend, stuff without peer review. So rubbish endorsed by elderly, but eminent, cranks gets published in high profile journals.
  • James Lovelock As noted, a bit of an odd case.
  • Pons and Fleischmann Plus Jones, of course. Cold fusion was almost correctly universally regarded as absolute nonsense from the start. From memory, Jones got published in Nature, almost entirely as a curiosity. And, again from memory, was instantly dismissed as such. Pons and Fleischmann did get published in a specialist electrochemical journal. Regarded by physicists as chemists circling the wagons unconvincingly.
  • Fred Hoyle Massively emminent astrophysicist, while also generating any number of silly speculative ideas. But did any of the latter really
    infiltrate the professional journals? To some extent, I'd guess, but his major noncoventional stuff was utterly via his popular books.
  • Eric Laithwaite The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are what everybody refers to. Surely minimal impact otherwise. And unconvincing.
  • Stephen Jay Gould I agree with Colibri that this is just generally silly.
  • Andrew Wakefield As noted, surely not being published anywhere sensible.
  • Peter Duesberg A sensible track record at one time. Not remotely regarded as sensible for some time.
  • Lord Kelvin and the age of the earth Lord Kelvin was not an idiot. The whole debate is rather more complicated than anybody who has read
    on the details will assume.
  • Kary Mullis A weirdo, while still undoubtedly deserving of his Nobel. Not sure there's much else to say on the matter in hand.
  • Lenard and Stark Evil Nazis. Their genuine contributions to physics are indeed probably somewhat overlooked as a result. Kind of difficult to big them up on that basis.
  • Lysenko A genuine candidate, in that, while utterly nuts and without merit, some contemporaries may have considered him serious, given the political conditions.
  • Mordehai Milgrom I seriously don't agree, but I'm not sure I'd consider him a crank, as such.
  • Halton Arp Long before his death, surely supposedly the poster boy for the astronomer being denied access to the usual telescopes and journals. Personally - as someone
    who'd read his stuff - I felt that entirely justified. But, no, he wasn't the crank getting published.
  • The Burbidges Were they actually being treated as particulary crankish? Very out there, certainly, but univerally regarded as having done good stuff in their time.

TSBG 04-14-2016 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bonzer (Post 19261212)
You know what, I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest that pretty much every single bloody reply in this entire thread fails the OP's criteria. Every single last one of you.

Now I'll start by emphasising that I'm probably the Dope's fiercest adovcate that science is an utterly human activity. Just because something is scientific doesn't make it special. It's just as human as anything else.

So let's go. I'm skipping most of the humanities/biological suggestions and only a couple of the physical science ones.
  • Plate tectonics The arguments around mechanisms were utterly significant in the first half of the 20th century. But you then become in danger of ruling out Arthur Holmes as a mere crank. By all accounts he was always regarded as a major figure and was central to the determination of the age of the earth, several decades before plate tectonics became accepted. Not to mention his influential textbook.
  • String theory Yes, controversial amongst quantum field theorists (including myself), but not obviously pseudoscience. On the whole, sensible - if highly speculative - stuff.
  • Roger Penrose Kind of an example, but not terribly significant. Major figure in mathematical physics, but his stuff on conciousness is marginal. The latter got high profile publications initially, but these days? His other stuff gets paid attention to.
  • Roger Stritmatter Does anybody serious take him at all seriously? Other than the fellow cranks?
  • Linus Pauling How successful was Pauling in getting his Vitamin C stuff into the serious literature? And I speak as someone who once
    spent an afternoon in one of the US's main medical libraries checking whether Pauling intervened in my mother's death from cancer. (He didn't, but it was a minor matter of timing, rather than geography. I don't hold the connection against him.) From memory, Pauling either had other's lead on the key studies or he had stuff published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Which is a kind of bias in these matters: elected Fellows get to publish, or recommend, stuff without peer review. So rubbish endorsed by elderly, but eminent, cranks gets published in high profile journals.
  • James Lovelock As noted, a bit of an odd case.
  • Pons and Fleischmann Plus Jones, of course. Cold fusion was almost correctly universally regarded as absolute nonsense from the start. From memory, Jones got published in Nature, almost entirely as a curiosity. And, again from memory, was instantly dismissed as such. Pons and Fleischmann did get published in a specialist electrochemical journal. Regarded by physicists as chemists circling the wagons unconvincingly.
  • Fred Hoyle Massively emminent astrophysicist, while also generating any number of silly speculative ideas. But did any of the latter really
    infiltrate the professional journals? To some extent, I'd guess, but his major noncoventional stuff was utterly via his popular books.
  • Eric Laithwaite The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are what everybody refers to. Surely minimal impact otherwise. And unconvincing.
  • Stephen Jay Gould I agree with Colibri that this is just generally silly.
  • Andrew Wakefield As noted, surely not being published anywhere sensible.
  • Peter Duesberg A sensible track record at one time. Not remotely regarded as sensible for some time.
  • Lord Kelvin and the age of the earth Lord Kelvin was not an idiot. The whole debate is rather more complicated than anybody who has read
    on the details will assume.
  • Kary Mullis A weirdo, while still undoubtedly deserving of his Nobel. Not sure there's much else to say on the matter in hand.
  • Lenard and Stark Evil Nazis. Their genuine contributions to physics are indeed probably somewhat overlooked as a result. Kind of difficult to big them up on that basis.
  • Lysenko A genuine candidate, in that, while utterly nuts and without merit, some contemporaries may have considered him serious, given the political conditions.
  • Mordehai Milgrom I seriously don't agree, but I'm not sure I'd consider him a crank, as such.
  • Halton Arp Long before his death, surely supposedly the poster boy for the astronomer being denied access to the usual telescopes and journals. Personally - as someone
    who'd read his stuff - I felt that entirely justified. But, no, he wasn't the crank getting published.
  • The Burbidges Were they actually being treated as particulary crankish? Very out there, certainly, but univerally regarded as having done good stuff in their time.

No true crank scientist...?

spamforbrains 04-14-2016 10:24 PM

Quote:

Truly famous names can sometimes get bunk published.
Not anymore. Many of the really reputable journals have instituted "blind reviews" where the articles are stripped of any indication of who wrote them before they go out for peer review.

wolfpup 04-14-2016 10:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bonzer (Post 19261212)
You know what, I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest that pretty much every single bloody reply in this entire thread fails the OP's criteria. Every single last one of you.

Now I'll start by emphasising that I'm probably the Dope's fiercest adovcate that science is an utterly human activity. Just because something is scientific doesn't make it special. It's just as human as anything else.

So let's go. I'm skipping most of the humanities/biological suggestions and only a couple of the physical science ones.

Hmmmm... I believe I provided about half a dozen examples in #49 that fully meet the OP's three stated criteria. You seem to be trying to make the point, after suitable disclaimers about the human failings of science, that none of the named crackpots has ever published a crackpot paper in a real journal. And you would be wrong.

My own disclaimer here is that I'm as strong a believer in the scientific method and the peer review process as anyone, but the process is not foolproof and it works not on the basis of perfect infallibility but on the basis of overall performance and accountability in the aggregate.

So again, most of the idiots I named have at least occasionally published crackpot papers with a climate-denialist angle. It's a very lucrative business so it's not surprising that those with no moral compass and/or ideological obsessions are attracted to it. A rather spectacular example is a paper on temperature reconstructions by our favorite dynamic duo, the previously mentioned Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas. This thing was approved for publication in Climate Research, ostensibly to show that it was way warmer in the recent past, and was so bad that it created a scandal that raged on for months, and by the time it was over, half of the editorial board had resigned.

The very second post in this thread mentions the venerable climate denialist Bjorn Lomborg. To be fair, I'm not sure if he's ever published anything in a peer-reviewed journal, and he's a business prof and not a scientist, but he's written a book of lies about climate science for which he's been roundly chastised.

But then, his fellow Scandinavian Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist has definitely published papers on global temperature reconstructions. And what is Ljungqvist's expertise in this matter? Why, the man did his Ph.D. thesis a few years ago on the ideology of kingship in the medieval Scandinavian laws. (He was then employed as Ph.D. Student Ombudsman at the Stockholm University Student Union.) So he developed an interest in climate at the time, and did himself some paleoclimate reconstructions. Too bad he did them so incredibly badly, by using temperature proxies from known anomalous hot spots during the Medieval Warm Period, and by golly he concluded that temperatures were way warmer then than they are now!

Then there are journals whose editors and reviewers are not well qualified to referee papers because the subject matter is tangential to their primary subject. And so it was that another one of our previously mentioned heroes, Roy Spencer -- oh, excuse me, Roy Spencer, Ph.D., as he always refers to himself -- published a climate paper in the journal Remote Sensing that, again, was so irredeemably bad that the journal editor was forced to resign.

And then there are second-rate, low-impact journals that just plain have low standards in which morons can get published. One example is Energy & Environment (not be confused with Energy & Environmental Sciences, which is a real journal). Here is what Wikipedia says about it -- pay attention to the bolded parts:
According to a 2011 article in The Guardian, Gavin Schmidt and Roger A. Pielke, Jr. said that E&E has had low standards of peer review and little impact. In addition, Ralph Keeling criticized a paper in the journal which claimed that CO2 levels were above 400 ppm in 1825, 1857 and 1942, writing in a letter to the editor, "Is it really the intent of E&E to provide a forum for laundering pseudo-science?"

When asked about the publication in the Spring of 2003 of a revised version of the paper at the center of the Soon and Baliunas controversy, Boehmer-Christiansen said, "I'm following my political agenda -- a bit, anyway. But isn't that the right of the editor?"

Part of the journal's official mission statement reads: "E&E has consistently striven to publish many ‘voices’ and to challenge conventional wisdoms. Perhaps more so than other European energy journal, the editor has made E&E a forum for more sceptical analyses of ‘climate change’ and the advocated solutions".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_%26_Environment

Exapno Mapcase 04-14-2016 11:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bonzer (Post 19261212)
  • Lord Kelvin and the age of the earth Lord Kelvin was not an idiot. The whole debate is rather more complicated than anybody who has read
    on the details will assume.

I'm sure you merely typoed this and meant to write, "Lord Kelvin was not an idiot. The whole debate is rather more complicated than anybody who hasn't read on the details will assume."

I agree with that.

I disagree with the comment on Hoyle. A simple search on Google Scholar shows any number of papers in serious journals on steady state cosmology and panspermia from the 90s or later. Considering that he and Halton Arp co-authored a paper against the big bang, it's hard to write him off either.

Similarly, I can find articles written by Linus Pauling on megadoses of Vitamin C and cancer from the last decade of his life. Nutrition Reviews, A Proposition: Megadoses of Vitamin C are Valuable in the Treatment of Cancer, 1986. Another with an impossibly long title from the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine in 1990.

Most of the names mentioned shouldn't be on the list. But your dismissal of them all without cites or research doesn't do your argument any good.

Lorne Armstrong 04-15-2016 01:38 AM

I know this isn't exactly what the OP was asking for, but how about Patricia Cornwell, a respected writer, publishing that nonsense that Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper.

SmartAlecCat 04-15-2016 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfpup (Post 19260765)
There are tons of examples in the ever-popular and lucrative field of climate change denial, literally far too many to list.[...]
It seems to me that the Seitz and the Lindzen types, actual scientists who cynically and dishonestly abused their reputations to promote falsehoods, are the most dangerous of the quacks because they not only mislead the public but put science itself into disrepute.

In Merchants of Doubt, Oreskes and Conway have a great description of how some scientists perform this.

Busy Scissors 04-15-2016 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Some Call Me... Tim (Post 19259387)
Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, depending on how you define recent. They managed to publish by inertia after nearly everyone had concluded their Cold Fusion was woo.

Oh, and nobel prize winning physicist Brian Josephson now believes in lots of hardcore woo including parapsychology, but he's not now publishing in the same peer reviewed areas as his earlier, more respectable, work.

Josephson really is a singular example in the modern era. To be totally brilliant, conducting truly seminal work in your 20s, and then just turn around and show your arse to the entire scientific community. It's sort of awesome in that respect, but at heart it's sad - an exceptional mind losing sight of the art of the soluble, and basically wasting his time for 40 years.

DrDeth 04-15-2016 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Scissors (Post 19263490)
Josephson really is a singular example in the modern era. To be totally brilliant, conducting truly seminal work in your 20s, and then just turn around and show your arse to the entire scientific community. It's sort of awesome in that respect, but at heart it's sad - an exceptional mind losing sight of the art of the soluble, and basically wasting his time for 40 years.

Yeah. I mean if you are older (Linus Pauling was in his 70's when he went into Vitamin C therapy, but I say that wasnt quite crackpot) things happen. If your work is brilliant until youre 70, then you get kinda crackpotish, you're forgiven, in my book.

lynne-42 04-15-2016 11:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frylock (Post 19259163)
I am trying to advocate for an idea a lot of people think is woo but which there _are_ a handful of relevant serious respected scholars who say the idea should at least be taken seriously. So I'm trying to show this idea is in a better position than other "crank" ideas in at least that regard. I hope I'm right. ;)

I am following this thread with great interest. I am also trying to advocate for an idea which places me in the woo category for anyone who has not read it or heard my talks. But of those who have heard it over the last 8 years, I have not a single detractor.

I stumbled over a new theory for the purpose of Stonehenge and other monuments in the process of writing a book on indigenous knowledge of animals. Yes, there is a link! Unfortunately, it takes a bit of explaining which is a pain because I can't do nice groovy sound bites.

I was doing a PhD as a science writer in the English program at LaTrobe University, Australia. This idea was a major distraction from my nice comfortable topic, and publishing offer on the table. I tried academic journals who would not touch it. None of the rejections could identify any fault, which I would have happily accepted and got back onto the book I was supposed to be writing. The archaeologists at my own university would not talk to me, despite requests from my supervisor and their review of a paper sent to them in which they could not fault the theory.

In the end, I converted to an academic PhD and the university had internationally renown archaeologists and an anthropologist examine it - my background includes neither of those fields. It passed well. I then submitted a proposal to Cambridge University Press who accepted it immediately and published it last year. No reviews yet. It is very interdisciplinary which makes reviews hard to get.

I rewrote it all again for my original mainstream publisher, Allen & Unwin, and it comes out in a couple of months here in Australia. Rights have already sold to the US and UK. The manuscript has been endorsed by archaeologists here, the US and by a leading Stonehenge expert. Those comments are all offered for the public endorsement of the book.

Soon, it will go out into the big world.

So like you, Frylock, I am advocating for a 'woo' idea, but the academic process of review, slow and tedious as it has been, has served me well. Lots of tears on the way, but on reflection, I would not do it any other way.

Exapno Mapcase 04-16-2016 10:44 AM

The US Amazon site has three five-star reviews of it, Lynne.

When will your mainstream book be published in the US?

bonzer 04-16-2016 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfpup (Post 19261401)
Hmmmm... I believe I provided about half a dozen examples in #49 that fully meet the OP's three stated criteria. You seem to be trying to make the point, after suitable disclaimers about the human failings of science, that none of the named crackpots has ever published a crackpot paper in a real journal. And you would be wrong.

I probably should have included climate science in with the “humanities/biological” exclusions; it's an area where I've little feel for what's a reasonable journal and what are essentially fronts for garbage.
But there are obvious problems even with your examples there.
Quote:

Another interesting one is Richard Lindzen, among the more prestigious of the quacks because he was actually a reputable atmospheric physicist at MIT until his retirement a few years ago. His modus operandi was simple, and was basically modeled on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the scientific domain he would publish (usually) reputable research, but his public persona was that of a staunch denialist. He would say things in public speeches and op-eds in papers like the Wall Street Journal that were scientifically laughable, but because he had a long string of legitimate publications and was a well-known academic -- at MIT, no less -- his words were perceived by many to carry a credibility that had absolutely no justification.
In pursuing a twin-track strategy of publishing sensible stuff in mainstream journals and then pushing crap elsewhere, Lindzen very explicitly fails to meet the OP's third criterion.
Freeman Dyson's an even worse example, since he's never published anything that could be considered actual climate science. Nor has he, as far as I know, ever tried to. That doesn't prevent him expressing doubts in interviews or his NYRB reviews, but again he's very, very clearly not an example who qualifies for the OP's third criterion.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase (Post 19261470)
I disagree with the comment on Hoyle. A simple search on Google Scholar shows any number of papers in serious journals on steady state cosmology and panspermia from the 90s or later. Considering that he and Halton Arp co-authored a paper against the big bang, it's hard to write him off either.

Hoyle was immensely prolific in his retirement, but there are patterns in what he was and was not getting published in mainstream journals. His biographer Jane Gregory notes that it was far easier for him to publish on interstellar dust in this period than on cosmology (Fred Hoyle's Universe, OUP, 2005, p331). The former papers were largely couched in terms that avoided the “diseases from space” and panspermia conclusions that he drew from them in his popular books. And goodness knows he spent a lot of time complaining about being shut out of journals. His other biographer, Simon Mitton, who was also the commissioning editor on his last technical book, has a first-hand account of the nervousness within the CUP about publishing that.
Then there's the whole issue of him publishing his papers on Archaeopteryx in the British Journal of Photography. Now I'm sure that's a fine publication, but I'll hazard that that's the only time they've carried a series of research articles on palaeontology. (Ironically, Hoyle blamed the ensuing media firestorm on the magazine having drummed up the publicity.)
Even the paper co-authored with Arp is a revealing exception. Arp, Burbidge, Hoyle, Narlikar and Wickramasinghe, ''The Extragalatic Universe: An Alternate View'', Nature, 1990, 358, 807 was not published as a remotely normal paper. In publishing it, Nature was acting in much the same tradition that had seen them publish Targ and Puthoff on remote viewing in 1974 and Benveniste on the structure of water in 1988: papers that the journal thought were unpublishable on normal grounds, but where the editors relished the newsworthy fuss they would make. Arp et al was accompanied by a disclaimer signed by John Maddox, the editor, noting that the referees had rejected it, but that two of them had found it interesting, so he was creating a new category of papers to be called “Hypothesis”, separate from peer-reviewed letters or reviews. It was also surely a factor that Maddox himself had been a steady state believer who was never reconciled to the Big Bang. I'm not sure there ever were any other “Hypothesis” papers carried by Nature.

jasg 04-16-2016 11:46 AM

In 1923 J. Harlen Bretz theorized that the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington were caused by flooding. He was ridiculed as a 'catastrophist' by most geologists and was not vindicated until 1942 when James Pardee published his findings on Ice Age Lakes.

Frylock 04-16-2016 07:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lynne-42 (Post 19263948)
I stumbled over a new theory for the purpose of Stonehenge and other monuments in the process of writing a book on indigenous knowledge of animals. Yes, there is a link!

Did you mean to provide a link here?

Frylock 04-16-2016 07:26 PM

BTW I guess there's no real reason to be coy here--the purported woo I think is plausible is the idea that Jesus was not an actual, historical figure.

DrDeth 04-16-2016 09:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase (Post 19264534)
The US Amazon site has three five-star reviews of it, Lynne.

When will your mainstream book be published in the US?

what is the title?

Some Call Me... Tim 04-16-2016 10:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bonzer (Post 19261212)
...
Pons and Fleischmann Plus Jones, of course. Cold fusion was almost correctly universally regarded as absolute nonsense from the start. From memory, Jones got published in Nature, almost entirely as a curiosity. And, again from memory, was instantly dismissed as such. Pons and Fleischmann did get published in a specialist electrochemical journal. Regarded by physicists as chemists circling the wagons unconvincingly.
...

Good point about Jones, though it turned out they were talking about somewhat different things when they talked about cold fusion. To me, in that instance Jones was more just arguing for a hypothesis that turned out to be incorrect, whereas Pons and Fleischmann crossed the line into woo and hype. Your mileage may vary on that judgement, of course. On the other hand, Jones went entirely off the rails after 9/11...

However, I must disagree with your characterization of the response. I saw a talk by Nate Lewis about a year after the whole thing hit, and he and his group had started first simply intending to replicate, then nailing down how the incorrect results were made (and at least one plot obviously faked.) His entire group stopped everything else and spent a couple of months on this, as did many other groups across the country. This was not done casually as a curiosity. Pons and Fleischmann were well respected before this hit, after all. Heck, they testified before the US congress... this does not match your characterization as being universally regarded as nonsense from the start.

Heck, Pons got a standing ovation from an audience of 7000 at that spring's ACS meeting.

GIGObuster 04-16-2016 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bonzer (Post 19264615)
I probably should have included climate science in with the “humanities/biological” exclusions; it's an area where I've little feel for what's a reasonable journal and what are essentially fronts for garbage.
But there are obvious problems even with your examples there.

In pursuing a twin-track strategy of publishing sensible stuff in mainstream journals and then pushing crap elsewhere, Lindzen very explicitly fails to meet the OP's third criterion.
Freeman Dyson's an even worse example, since he's never published anything that could be considered actual climate science. Nor has he, as far as I know, ever tried to. That doesn't prevent him expressing doubts in interviews or his NYRB reviews, but again he's very, very clearly not an example who qualifies for the OP's third criterion.

Well, one thing one can say is that indeed it is hard to pass crack work in important science journals. But wolfpup also mentioned others like Soon and Bailunas, that are seen by many of their peers as having published crank papers.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nat...cUJ/story.html
Quote:

Working in close coordination with conservative groups in Washington, he passionately seeks to debunk the growing consensus on global warming before audiences of policymakers, at academic seminars and conferences, and in the media.

Polar bears? Not threatened. Sea level? Exaggerated danger. Carbon dioxide? Great for trees. Warming planet? Caused by natural fluctuation in the sun’s energy.

Soon’s views are considered way outside the scientific mainstream, which makes him a prophet or a pariah, depending on which side you ask. Some say his work simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, that his data are cherry-picked to fit his thesis.
In the case of Lindzen many of his papers were actually plausible, but new research has put, for example, his ideas about the iris effect into the unlikely area, that Lindzen still pushes papers like that as being still valid is where the crank happens.

https://www.skepticalscience.com/inf...e-feedback.htm

You are correct about Dyson not having peer reviewed papers about climate change. But that does not mean that he is not a crank.

wolfpup also pointed at Dr Seitz, who did manage to publish a paper critical of computer models, but he was shown wrong nowadays about the satellite data and was grossly wrong about not seeing the arctic amplification.

http://www.desmogblog.com/frederick-seitz

So, I have to say here that you can have Dyson as a non expert that did not publish, but not much else.

lynne-42 04-17-2016 12:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase (Post 19264534)
The US Amazon site has three five-star reviews of it, Lynne.

When will your mainstream book be published in the US?

Oooops. Thank you! The academic mind-set is too ingrained. I was only thinking of formal reviews in journals. Much appreciated!

The mainstream book, The Memory Code, will be published in the US by Pegasus Books early next year. Atlantic Books are publishing in the UK about the same time. Audible have bought the audio rights, and I imagine that will be early next year as well.

I am not in touch with the others yet - it all goes through my publisher here in Australia, Allen & Unwin. It goes to press here on Monday and hits the book shops June 22. Only a few more months after 8 years obsessive work! Thank you for the interest.

Lynne

lynne-42 04-17-2016 12:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frylock (Post 19265465)
Did you mean to provide a link here?

I am not sure if that is OK in terms of protocol. It would be advertising, wouldn't it?

lynne-42 04-17-2016 12:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 19265667)
what is the title?

The academic book is Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies (Cambridge University Press) and the mainstream book is The Memory Code (Allen & Unwin, AUS, Pegasus Books, US and Atlantic Books, UK)

DrDeth 04-17-2016 02:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lynne-42 (Post 19265940)
The academic book is Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies (Cambridge University Press) and the mainstream book is The Memory Code (Allen & Unwin, AUS, Pegasus Books, US and Atlantic Books, UK)

The first one is added to my Wish list.

lynne-42 04-17-2016 03:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 19266077)
The first one is added to my Wish list.

Thank you! It is very expensive, though. The mainstream one will be far more reasonable.

scoots 04-17-2016 04:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lynne-42 (Post 19263948)
I stumbled over a new theory for the purpose of Stonehenge and other monuments in the process of writing a book on indigenous knowledge of animals. Yes, there is a link! Unfortunately, it takes a bit of explaining which is a pain because I can't do nice groovy sound bites.

It sounds interesting - like the kind of thing I would read. Is the idea that the shape of Stonehenge encodes certain information (animal behaviour, astronomy etc) in order to preserve that information for the future?

If so, which things are you suggesting it encodes?

Aspidistra 04-17-2016 04:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frylock (Post 19265468)
BTW I guess there's no real reason to be coy here--the purported woo I think is plausible is the idea that Jesus was not an actual, historical figure.

The fact that that one's been batted around for about a hundred and sixty years without becoming mainstream is probably going to make your task considerably harder.

lynne-42 04-17-2016 05:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scoots (Post 19266137)
It sounds interesting - like the kind of thing I would read. Is the idea that the shape of Stonehenge encodes certain information (animal behaviour, astronomy etc) in order to preserve that information for the future?

If so, which things are you suggesting it encodes?

I really wish I could explain simply. I apologise for the vagueness. Stonehenge has to be considered in terms of the simple stone circle which it was for 500 years before the big guys (the sarsens) in the middle arrived. The circle is probably simply because knowledge is often stored in a cyclic form in non-literate cultures. Rows and other shapes also work. It is the sequence of stones that is critical, each individual.

The theory is all based around the most effective memory method known, usually referred to as the method of loci, or memory palaces. That method is attributed to the ancient Greeks and still used by contemporary memory champions. My research has shown that all non-literate cultures also use this method and it can be shown that it has been used in Australia for far longer than the age of monuments such as Stonehenge. Using physical locations for memory is a result of the human brain structure, as shown by the Nobel Prize (2014) winning medical research.

The information I am arguing is stored is all the practical stuff, including a great deal on which survival depends. I acknowledge there is a spiritual domain, but my focus is entirely on the way non-literate elders can memorise an entire field guide to the plants and animals - the Navajo have been shown to have a memorised classification of over 700 insects alone! Then navigation charts and extraordinary methods to cross oceans, deserts, through forests and even on moving, featureless ice. Complex genealogies, laws, trade negotiations, resource management, geology ... the list goes on and on. My research question was (academically worded): how the hell do they remember so much stuff?

It is all to do with recognising song, dance, story, mythology and music as forms of mnemonic aids. There is a whole body of research on this called 'primary orality'. I then looked for the physical indicators of the memory methods - landscape, features of performance spaces and handheld devices. There is a universal pattern. I am using some of these devices now and they are incredibly effective.

I then found those indicators in the landscape of monuments built by small scale oral cultures in the transition from mobile (not nomadic) hunter gatherers to small settled communities. Once you get individual wealth and a warrior class, my theory tends to break down. It is also when the monuments are abandoned. Increasingly restricted societies are a feature of early settlement as are seen widely in the Americas and Africa. That's when the sarsens come into play at Stonehenge and the public space is created at Durrington Walls.

The resistance for the academic domain was because I could not explain with sufficient support in a paper. It took a book. Plus they were (rightly so) suspicious of someone from way outside the domain making such claims. The academic process does allow for such claims, but not overnight!

lynne-42 04-17-2016 05:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frylock (Post 19265468)
BTW I guess there's no real reason to be coy here--the purported woo I think is plausible is the idea that Jesus was not an actual, historical figure.

I'd be coy in many places, but that is why I like the Straight Dope so much. No need to here. How are you going about your research? At a university? Independent researcher?

How are you 'advocating'?

DrDeth 04-17-2016 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aspidistra (Post 19266143)
The fact that that one's been batted around for about a hundred and sixty years without becoming mainstream is probably going to make your task considerably harder.

But then the story of Jesus has been around for c.2000 years, so it's actually a pretty recent idea. For some reason, when the Christians were giving them problems, the Romans never thought to claim that there was no such person as Jesus. Likely as they knew there had been.

Frylock 04-17-2016 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lynne-42 (Post 19266177)
I'd be coy in many places, but that is why I like the Straight Dope so much. No need to here. How are you going about your research? At a university? Independent researcher?

How are you 'advocating'?

Oh haha nothing as serious or involved as what you've accomplished. ;) I'm just doing casual internet discussion/debate stuff.

I have ideas of writing a pop-level book about maybe, but that's just a notion in the back of my head.

Ignotus 04-17-2016 05:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 19266872)
For some reason, when the Christians were giving them problems, the Romans never thought to claim that there was no such person as Jesus. Likely as they knew there had been.

OT: Would such knowledge, if it existed, really have stopped them from claiming otherwise, had they believed it would serve their purpose? Feeding Christians to the lions was OK, but not touting lies? :dubious:

Frylock 04-17-2016 06:25 PM

I suggest a new thread, in GD, would be more appropriate for discussing the topic of Jesus's historical existence.

Jackmannii 04-17-2016 06:55 PM

Gilles-Eric Seralini is still cranking about publications about alleged GMO-related harms, long after his original "groundbreaking" study was widely discredited in the scientific community, retracted by the journal it was published in (and later republished elsewhere, to the accompaniment of further criticism and catcalls).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Séralini_affair

So Seralini would amply qualify on the basis of what his colleagues in related fields overwhelmingly regard as crankery and poorly conducted research, yet he manages to retain some academic standing and continues to get published (albeit largely in low impact/open access journals).

Exapno Mapcase 04-18-2016 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lynne-42 (Post 19266169)
I really wish I could explain simply. I apologise for the vagueness. Stonehenge has to be considered in terms of the simple stone circle which it was for 500 years before the big guys (the sarsens) in the middle arrived. The circle is probably simply because knowledge is often stored in a cyclic form in non-literate cultures. Rows and other shapes also work. It is the sequence of stones that is critical, each individual.

Wow, Lynne. I'm ashamed of you for proselytizing your crazy views on the Dope. Why don't you admit the truth about Stonehenge? It's given by a guy with a real doctorate that I'm sure is more admired in his academic circles than yours is.

Quote:

Televangelist Jim Bakker invited Dr. Dennis Lindsay on to his program on Wednesday to discuss Lindsay’s latest discovery in the realm of Creation Science: the truth behind Stonehenge.

Hold on to your hats: Stonehenge, it turns out, was built by giants who were created by Satan.

Lindsay told Bakker that these giants were tools of the devil, who seeks to destroy Israel because “he’s out to destroy God’s creation and his whole plan of redemption and contaminate the human race.”

But Satan wants to “have his own seed and make his own family,” Lindsay explained, and so he created a race of giants who would attack Israel.

“He build his little squatter’s hut up there on the Temple Mount, you know that temple, because he knows what the Bible says about that place,” he said. “I weaved through why and what is the evidence for giant beings on this earth. We all know about Stonehenge, right? That’s just one of hundreds and hundreds of gigantic places around the world that testify that some sort of supernatural power or giants were involved in its construction.”

Mr. Miskatonic 04-18-2016 01:35 PM

Jacques Benveniste was promoting homeopathy and was technically published in Nature but with a lot of caveats (much like Targ & Puthoff's work with Uri Geller some years before). When push came to shove his methods were found severely wanting. He complained about the additional protocols but his reputation was trashed.

From the stories of how his lab was run, his credibility ruin was well earned.

ETA: This comic version has part of the tale

DrDeth 04-18-2016 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase (Post 19268794)
Wow, Lynne. I'm ashamed of you for proselytizing your crazy views on the Dope. Why don't you admit the truth about Stonehenge? It's given by a guy with a real doctorate that I'm sure is more admired in his academic circles than yours is.

Perhaps a liberal sprinkling of smilies might help this post, Lynne is new here, she might now know you're joshing with her. :)

Exapno Mapcase 04-18-2016 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 19269306)
Perhaps a liberal sprinkling of smilies might help this post, Lynne is new here, she might now know you're joshing with her. :)

:confused: She has a join date of 2003.

markn+ 04-18-2016 03:05 PM

You may want to review the responses when very similar questions were asked in 2010 and 2015:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=582266

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=764878

--Mark

Jackmannii 04-18-2016 04:19 PM

Lionel Milgrom seems to fit the OP's paradigm.

Milgrom was (apparently) a long-time respected researcher/lecturer in chemistry, specializing in porphyrins. He held a faculty position at Imperial College London before getting into homeopathy in a big way (he was convinced that homeopathic treatments helped his partner's pneumonia, according to Wikipedia).

Subsequently Milgrom (to the eye-rolling and/or hilarity of his colleagues) began publishing incredibly esoteric articles attempting to explain homeopathy on the basis of "quantum field theory" or "quantum entanglement", interspersed with attacks on skeptics who he termed "new fundamentalists". His latest paper listed in PubMed is entitled "The vital force "reincarnated": modeling entelechy as a quantized spinning gyroscopic metaphor for integrated medicine", emphasizing the difficulty one has in dismissing garbage that is dressed up in such impenetrable verbiage.

lynne-42 04-18-2016 05:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase (Post 19268794)
Wow, Lynne. I'm ashamed of you for proselytizing your crazy views on the Dope. Why don't you admit the truth about Stonehenge? It's given by a guy with a real doctorate that I'm sure is more admired in his academic circles than yours is.

[Hangs head in shame]. I shall withdraw my book immediately. It only went to the printers yesterday, so I should be able to stop it. Oh well, so much for eight years work.

P.S. Thank you, DrDeth, for worrying that I would take this seriously. Much appreciated. You are right, Exapno Mapcase, I've been on SD a long time and get it (most of the time).

Surreal 04-18-2016 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 19259841)
Again, you are quoting a newspaper report rather than the opinion of Gould among actual scientists.

The article I linked to quoted Ralph Holloway, who said Gould was a charlatan. Here's a few quotes from Robert Trivers, one of the most influential evolutionary theorists of all time, who appears to agree with Holloway's assessment:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...putation-fraud

Quote:

Many of us theoretical biologists who knew Stephen Jay Gould personally thought he was something of an intellectual fraud because he had a talent for coining terms that promised more than they could deliver, while claiming exactly the opposite.
Quote:

As would prove usual, Steve missed the larger interesting science by embracing a self-serving fantasy.
Quote:

What is worse—and more shocking—is that Steve’s errors are very extensive and the bias very serious. A careful reanalysis shows that his target is unblemished while his own attack is biased in all the ways Gould attributes to his victim.

Haldurson 04-18-2016 08:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Scissors (Post 19259285)
James Lovelock is held in extremely highly regard - on account of his obvious brilliance and achievements as a scientist outside of the 'system' - but I'm not sure how seriously his Gaia hypotheses are taken. Suspect they might be referred to as 'crank theories' had a less distinguished scientist rolled them out.

Part of his problem with his Gaia hypotheses (maybe not the whole problem with it) was that some people saw it has having religious connotations, that the earth is LITERALLY a living organism. But Lovelock probably did go a bit too far in his book, and something that should have been no more than an observation became a 'theory'.

FYI -- Lynn Margulis, one of Lovelocks' main 'disciples' visited my school, Caltech, from scripps to be one of 4 professors of an earth history class (it was a multi-disciplinary class taken by both geo and bio majors). The disdain that the geo professors held her in was palpable. I wrote a little 4-part story about an 'adventure' our class had many years ago: https://haldurson.wordpress.com/2016...ory-chapter-1/

Arrendajo 04-18-2016 10:57 PM

Well, there was Isaac Newton and all that alchemy crap.

Kimstu 04-18-2016 11:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arrendajo (Post 19270657)
Well, there was Isaac Newton and all that alchemy crap.

For a very generous definition of "recent":
Quote:

Originally Posted by the OP
I am hoping to find out who exists--or has recently existed--who fits the following criteria:


Colibri 04-19-2016 12:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Surreal (Post 19270192)
The article I linked to quoted Ralph Holloway, who said Gould was a charlatan. Here's a few quotes from Robert Trivers, one of the most influential evolutionary theorists of all time, who appears to agree with Holloway's assessment:

That's a laugh. Bob Trivers accusing someone else of being an intellectual fraud and of self-serving fantasy. Trivers' own reputation in the field isn't that great on those accounts. That's the pot calling the kettle black. (I've met both Trivers and Gould by the way.)

Surreal 04-19-2016 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 19270844)
That's a laugh. Bob Trivers accusing someone else of being an intellectual fraud and of self-serving fantasy. Trivers' own reputation in the field isn't that great on those accounts. That's the pot calling the kettle black. (I've met both Trivers and Gould by the way.)

So far you've only offered your personal opinions in this thread. Sorry but I'll take the opinions of Trivers/Holloway/Yudkowsky/Krugman over yours any day.

Kelevra 04-19-2016 10:42 AM

My half-brother's step father wrote this book.

I only met him one time. He was on his way to San Francisco to some conference where he was expounding on his theory that all chemistry was wrong. How reactions work is by "loop closure of electrically charged molecules". He somehow tied all that together with his concept of "psycles".

Mostly it just gave me a headache so I could never explain it adequately. Plus I've used enough quotations in this description already and a lot more would be needed to go further!

Colibri 04-19-2016 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Surreal (Post 19271474)
So far you've only offered your personal opinions in this thread. Sorry but I'll take the opinions of Trivers/Holloway/Yudkowsky/Krugman over yours any day.

If you want to cherry-pick your sources, go ahead. However, I think others should understand that the sources you refer to are not reliable ones on the subject. In any case, the characterization of Gould as a "crank" is absurd by any standard. (If Gould is a "crank," then the sources you cite could also be considered such.)

Andy L 04-19-2016 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bonzer (Post 19261212)
  • Lord Kelvin and the age of the earth Lord Kelvin was not an idiot. The whole debate is rather more complicated than anybody who has read
    on the details will assume.

If you're interested, this article http://www.americanscientist.org/iss...of-the-earth/1 has a lot of detail about Kelvin's calculations of the age of the earth.

DrDeth 04-19-2016 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 19271645)
If you want to cherry-pick your sources, go ahead. However, I think others should understand that the sources you refer to are not reliable ones on the subject. In any case, the characterization of Gould as a "crank" is absurd by any standard. (If Gould is a "crank," then the sources you cite could also be considered such.)

Well, he does make a point. He has offered cites, and you have not. Do you have cites?

Colibri 04-19-2016 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 19272059)
Well, he does make a point. He has offered cites, and you have not. Do you have cites?

You want cites that Gould was not a crank? Seriously?

He hasn't offered any reliable cites, which was my point.

Andy L 04-19-2016 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 19272086)
You want cites that Gould was not a crank? Seriously?

He hasn't offered any reliable cites, which was my point.

Gould was awarded the 1975 Schuchert Award by the Paleontological Society for his work in evolutionary theory and elected President of the American Society for the Advancement of Science in 1999.

Surreal 04-19-2016 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 19272086)
He hasn't offered any reliable cites, which was my point.

:rolleyes:

Robert Trivers was awarded the Crafoord prize (roughly equivalent to the Nobel prize) in 2007 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

wevets 04-19-2016 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 19272059)
Well, he does make a point. He has offered cites, and you have not. Do you have cites?


There's some inside baseball going on there. Gould had a very public "feud"* with sociobiologists in the 1970s and '80s, and Robert Trivers heavily influenced and inspired** the development of sociobiology in the 1970s.


This kind of intellectual feud happens all the time in academia and is not a reliable indicator of crankism.


*You'll see his name 7th on the list signing that letter

**He is even sometimes referred to as a 'sociobiologist' as opposed to just a biologist

Colibri 04-19-2016 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy L (Post 19272135)
Gould was awarded the 1975 Schuchert Award by the Paleontological Society for his work in evolutionary theory and elected President of the American Society for the Advancement of Science in 1999.

He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a posthumous recipient of the Darwin-Wallace Medal by the Linnean Society of London. He published over 470 peer-reviewed papers and 22 books, many of them highly influential in the field, in particular his seminal work on punctuated equilibria with Niles Eldredge.

Gould certainly was a controversial figure. Some of his work has been criticized, and some was no doubt wrong. But the OP asked for "crank levels of wrong by a large number of others in the field," and nothing that Gould published is anywhere near that. And calling him a charlatan is nonsense.

DrDeth 04-19-2016 02:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wevets (Post 19272180)
There's some inside baseball going on there. Gould had a very public "feud"* with sociobiologists in the 1970s and '80s, and Robert Trivers heavily influenced and inspired** the development of sociobiology in the 1970s.


This kind of intellectual feud happens all the time in academia and is not a reliable indicator of crankism.


*You'll see his name 7th on the list signing that letter

**He is even sometimes referred to as a 'sociobiologist' as opposed to just a biologist

Thank you, that explains a lot.

I also dont think Gould is/was a "crank". But he was very controversial and I have seen times where he went soft on the hard science in order to prove his point.

jbaker 04-19-2016 02:23 PM

Another possibility might be Joseph Greenberg, one of the most prominent linguists in the world until his death in 2001. His argument that all native American languages (other than Eskimo-Aleut and Na-Dene languages) belong to a single linguistic family has been rejected by the large majority of historical linguists. Responses to his theory of the Amerind languages have been that it "should be shouted down in order not to confuse nonspecialists" (Lyle Campbell) and that it is "unsupported by valid evidence" (Wikipedia). Greenberg continued to have access to publication in high-profile journals after the 1987 publication of his much-criticized book, Language in the Americas.

Colibri 04-19-2016 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Surreal (Post 19272160)
:rolleyes:

Robert Trivers was awarded the Crafoord prize (roughly equivalent to the Nobel prize) in 2007 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Quote:

Originally Posted by wevets (Post 19272180)
There's some inside baseball going on there. Gould had a very public "feud"* with sociobiologists in the 1970s and '80s, and Robert Trivers heavily influenced and inspired** the development of sociobiology in the 1970s.


This kind of intellectual feud happens all the time in academia and is not a reliable indicator of crankism.


*You'll see his name 7th on the list signing that letter

**He is even sometimes referred to as a 'sociobiologist' as opposed to just a biologist

Right. Trivers is a member of the opposite camp with regard to some of the views that Gould challenged. The debate between the two sides got extremely heated in the 1970s when I was in graduate school. (I recall our professor of Animal Behavior, a sociobiologist, heckling Gould when he lectured at my department.) Trivers' research has been accused of similar kinds of bias to that he accuses Gould of, though in the opposite direction. There was a lot of sloppy science conducted in the name of sociobiology too.

Colibri 04-19-2016 02:50 PM

While I wouldn't characterize him as a crank or a charlatan either, Trivers does have a well-deserved reputation for eccentricity in his private life. He was friends with Black Panther Huey Newton and actually joined the party; he was banned from the Rutgers campus for five months due to an altercation with a colleague; and recently has been castigated in the press for remarks alleging that patronizing a 14-year-old prostitute is not that heinous.

Toxgoddess 04-19-2016 05:29 PM

Ben Carson is a recent high-profile example of someone brilliant in his field and utterly bonkers outside of it. I don't know if he's published anything, but he certainly has publicized his creative interpretations of Biblical narratives.

thelurkinghorror 04-19-2016 07:09 PM

Not currently existing, but: John Desmond Bernal, famed crystallographer, Communist fellow-traveller, and devotee of Lysenko way after it ceased to be credible. I'm not sure how much he published in that area, though.

barath_s 04-26-2016 08:43 AM

The impenetrable proof
 
Shinichi mochizuki and inter universal teichmueller theory is an interesting case which may not fit your conditions.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...etrable-proof/

Essentially the man published a series of papers that could be rather revolutionary/prove the ABC conjecture. But so abstruse that no one can make out whether it does so.

Even more confusing, he has the intellectual chops and the 20 year monomaniacal concentration required that he could be right.

davidm 04-26-2016 10:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by barath_s (Post 19285495)
Shinichi mochizuki and inter universal teichmueller theory is an interesting case which may not fit your conditions.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...etrable-proof/

Essentially the man published a series of papers that could be rather revolutionary/prove the ABC conjecture. But so abstruse that no one can make out whether it does so.

Even more confusing, he has the intellectual chops and the 20 year monomaniacal concentration required that he could be right.

I read it. It's wrong. He divides by zero on page 2.

:p

barath_s 04-26-2016 11:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davidm (Post 19285688)
I read it. It's wrong. He divides by zero on page 2.

:p

From the article: only four mathematicians have read the entire proof. All of them worked with him in Japan.

> one must look at whole numbers in a different light—leaving addition aside and seeing the multiplication structure as something malleable and deformable. Standard multiplication would then be just one particular case of a family of structures, just as a circle is a special case of an ellipse

So division by zero isn't proof the theory is wrong. Welcome to the club.

davidm 04-26-2016 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by barath_s (Post 19285909)
From the article: only four mathematicians have read the entire proof. All of them worked with him in Japan.

> one must look at whole numbers in a different light—leaving addition aside and seeing the multiplication structure as something malleable and deformable. Standard multiplication would then be just one particular case of a family of structures, just as a circle is a special case of an ellipse

So division by zero isn't proof the theory is wrong. Welcome to the club.

You do realize that I was joking?

The problem is that he uses Ultra-Mochizuki-Division to divide by a 12 dimensional zero matrix.


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