Cranks are rarely bothered by other cranks

It’s in the nature of cranks and denialists not to really object to other forms of crankery, as long as the other crank or denialist is also sowing doubt about the same scientific theory. This fits in with proof 295,232 that intelligent design isn’t a science. Witness an IDer who really loves the Creation Museum. O’Leary even likes their idea that chameleons change color to “talk” to each other in the Garden of Eden:

And, if you are not a frothing Darwinist, it is not always clear who is right:

Nature here is not “red in tooth and claw,” as Tennyson asserted. In fact at first it seems almost as genteel as Eden’s dinosaurs. We learn that chameleons, for example, change colors not because that serves as a survival mechanism, but “to ‘talk’ to other chameleons, to show off their mood, and to adjust to heat and light.”

The creationists could well be right about the chameleons. Darwinian theory needs the colour change to be a survival mechanism and interprets just about everything in that light. The chameleon itself may not have any such need. If you think that everything about life forms exists in some relation to a survival mechanism, you have spent too much time among Darwinists.

Can you believe it? An IDer who is more than happy to entertain this batty theory that chameleon’s camouflage has nothing to do with survival, instead it’s some pre-lapsarian lizard Morse code. Never mind that if they believe in science at all they should reject the findings of the museum as psuedoscientific garbage. Never mind that ID is trying to represent itself as a science, and as such should reject young-earth creationism as a rejection of not just biology, but archeology, geology and physics (and many other fields of science I’m sure).

As long as the Creation Museum keeps misinforming people about the theory this crank hates, it’s OK by her. After all, who needs intellectual consistency? Certainly not the crank.

I guess this was inevitable

“Heliocentrism is an Atheist Doctrine”.

I’ve just got to say, wow. I read it at first thinking, “hey, this is hysterical satire”, then I read the comments and thought, “wow, these guys are dedicated – this is pure performance art!” Finally, I started going through the archives with a sinking feeling, “holy crap, these guys are for real.”

I really think they’ve fallen for these cranks line about a fixed earth, and all I’ve got to say now is please, please, please tell everybody about this. If there ever was a better example of the universality of crank thinking, this is it, and of course they would support Brownback before any other candidate.

I’m sure if one of these guys was in line for tenure at ISU the DI would be screaming their heads off if the university wisely decided not to extend tenure. After all it’s academic freedom! We must teach the controversy over Copernicus!

Thanks Coturnix!

Beware the bashers of peer review

I’d like to hear from some other sciencebloggers and science readers what they think reform of peer-review should look like. I’m not of the opinion that it has any critical flaws, but most people would like to see more accountability for sand-bagging and other bad reviewer habits. Something like a grading system that allows submitters to rate the performance of their reviewers, then editors of magazines would tend to only consult with reviewers that authors felt were doing a fair job of evaluating their paper.

The drawback of course would be that reviewers might start going easier on papers just because they don’t want bad grades.

One thing I do know for sure though, we shouldn’t take advice about peer review from HIV/AIDS denialists…
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Unified theory of the crank

A crank is defined as a man who cannot be turned.
– Nature, 8 Nov 1906

Here at denialism blog, we’re very interested in what makes people cranks. Not only how one defines crankish behavior, but literally how people develop unreasonable attitudes about the world in the face of evidence to the contrary. Our definition of a crank, loosely, is a person who has unreasonable ideas about established science or facts that will not relent in defending their own, often laughable, version of the truth. Central to the crank is the “overvalued idea”. That is some idea they’ve incorporated into their world view that they will not relinquish for any reason. Common overvalued ideas that are a source of crankery range from bigotry, antisemitism(holocaust deniers), biblical literalism (creationists – especially YEC’s), egotism (as it relates to the complete unwillingness to ever be proven wrong) or an indiscriminant obsession with possessing “controversial” or iconoclastic ideas. Some people just love believing in things that no one in their right mind does, out of some obscure idea that it makes them seem smart or different.
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