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Talk about Skeptical Investigations

I have some problems with these "skeptics". Whenever I hear about a new kook science I go check out the skeptic sites to see what they say about it, and a lot of the time all they have to say is something like "any idiot should be able to see that this could never work." Well, sorry skeptics, that's not science either.

Their basic premise is flawed too--all claims require the same amount of proof, whether some redneck from middle America thinks they're "extraordinary" or not. At one time it was an extraordinary, insane claim to state that tiny cells inside our bodies can make us sick by attacking us from within, when any idiot could tell you that could not be possible, since everyone knew that too much bathing in the night air was the cause of illness.

If someone has a new theory and there's anecdotal evidence to support it, a full clinical study should be carried out. People shouldn't rush to condemn the whole idea by making ad hominem attacks against the theorists and making it impossible for them to get the funding to do the studies in the first place!

– magdalen 2005-05-24 20:21 UTC

Based upon my own unofficial observations, dear Magdalen, much of the skeptical investigation of kook science that comes down the pike goes like this:

Announcement of new science.
Skeptics poo-poo it, and declare it bunk.
Big flame war over the legitimacy of the new science.
Someone gets around to testing the new science and proving or disproving it.
Big flame war over the legitimacy of the testing.
Eventually, repeated testing and additional flame wars settle down and the new science is seen as either legitimate (a la the Big Bang Theory) or kook rantings (a la orgone energy).
Proponents of the kook scientists continue to rant and rave and make personal attacks against the skeptics, who in turn point fingers and declare they were right all along.
And so on, and so on, and so on.

Now, if the new science is a kook science, then the skeptics are right and the kooks are just kooks. Which is what usually happens in most (but not all) cases of a new science popping up. (Cold fusion, crop circles, and so on.) But the accusations of bias and personal attacks are being flung so thick and heavy that at times it's hard to tell the genuine open-minded skeptics from the closed-minded cynics. Especially since the kooks accuse everyone who denounces their theories as closed-minded cynics.

– Modemac 2005-05-24 20:55 UTC

What difference does it make any more whether crackpot science is or isn't 'true'?

45% of America believes the Earth is only 10,000 years old or there-abouts.

– Anonymous 2005-05-27 07:52 UTC

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