I’ve Got a Theory and I’m Crazy

It’s often said that distinguished physics professors get calls, letters, and personal visits from amateurs with their own pet theories quite often. If you’ve won a physics Nobel, cranks across the land declare open season on you — they’ll show up with 800 pages of handwritten notes on how all of current science is wrong, and expect a complete conversion of you. Naturally, they will be astounded that you don’t immediately renounce the ignorant brainwashed ways of conventional science and immediately join their cause — no matter how many hundreds of other people reacted the same way to their lectures. This, my friend, is why you do not want a Nobel Prize in physics.

These folks are generally self-educated, not part of the scientific community, don’t get published in traditional journals, and yet still develop surprisingly intricate theories-of-everything, whole philosophies and scientific systems that they claim can explain all of existence and life itself. As opposed to conventional scientists who also develop theories-of-everything (as profiled in I’ve Got a Theory), these people have absolutely no business doing what they’re doing. If any one of these theories turns out to be remotely true, I’ll eat my nameservers.

While I would hate to be cornered by one of them, and fortunately am not important enough to have that experience, I do enjoy checking out their grand theories, if only to admire their unique approach to font sizes and english grammar. I’ve developed several rules of thumb that seem to identify characteristics common to most of these cranks, which you can use to test for crank-ism of your favorite theory-of-everything website. We’ll take a tour of the best of the bunch, and see how they rate in crankhood.


The TimeBlimp Universal Theory of Crackpot Websites:

1. Horrendous grammar, spelling, and general use of language — in short, terrible english.

2. Declaration that some pillar of science is completely wrong — the most common targets is probably Einstein’s Relativity theory. Quantum mechanics is a bit harder to understand, is already flaky enough, plus relativity has the single lone genius behind it, while quantum theory was developed more by committee. Generally, the crackpot theories mix in a smidge of actual science jargon with mystical and new-age nonsense.

3. Unprofessional, irritated, emotional tone to the explanations. All conventional scientific publications are extremely dry, avoid personal language, and are written with great effort to appear competely objective. The scientists might be emotional and irritated, but their writing hides this fact. The cranks, on the other hand, can’t hide it at all — in fact, they often resort to personal threats of violence against critics. Almost universally they view the general rejection of their theories as part of a massive conspiracy, a personal attack, rather than a judgment of the validity of their theories.

4. They usually have websites (what better way to publish to the masses), and their websites are almost always one gigantic continuous long stream of text and figures in one page. The site design is awful, with clashing colors, abuse of blinking text, terrible font sizes and colors. Oh, and they often use ALL CAPS TO EMPHASIZE POINTS, and embellish important sentences with lots of exclamation points!!!! In general, a twisted visual style to match the twisted intellectual content.

5. Invention of their own definitions, notation, jargon, and symbols, sometimes despite the existence of perfectly-good definitions and jargon within the scientific community.


Before We Begin

A note on pronouns: throughout these profiles, I refer to the author as “he”, unless I have specific information that the author is female. While I don’t wish to perpetuate any sexist language, I feel that assuming the masculine pronoun is relatively safe, as in general men are much more likely than women to go batshit insane in the particular way that yields grand, incorrect theories of everything.


And Let’s Begin: The Best of the Crackpots

Read our scintillating reviews of the very best, most entertaining physics-ish theories to be found on the web. Once you’ve soaked up our expert critique, scroll below to find our winner, the absolute best crackpot physics website ever!


The TimeCube One of the most famous, and arguably the best example of a crackpot website
Autodynamics A scientific society dedicated to bringing down Einstein. Oh, and white afro wigs.
The Einstein Conspiracy  
Something ado about I’m not sure what.
The Yun-Qi Kingdom A more pastel shade of crackpot.
Galilean Electrodynamics They’ve published a journal for over a decade now. That’s a lot of bathroom reading.
Specularium The first problem: don’t borrow your theory’s name from gynecology.     
Primordality Doing what shoudn’t be done with webpage font colors.
Observer Physics I observe one ugly website.
Ed Seykota  He really puts the “NO” in Ber-NO-ulli!     
Randall Mills and the Hydrinos Someone needs to use this as a band name, and quick
Scalar Field Theory This guy’s crazy is more crazy than your crazy
The Electric Universe It’s Electric! Boogie woogie woogie!     
 Null Physics  One of the more apt names describing crackpot theories ever to be coined… 


And when you’re done…  Read who wins The Crackpot Physics Battle Royal!

Follow the link to find out who wins.  Of course they’re all winners in my book.  And by winners, I of course mean…  crackpots.


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