[Paleopsych] John Baez' crackpot index

Pavel Kurakin pkurakin at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 31 08:00:12 UTC 2004

John Baez is a distinguished theorist in quantum loop gravity, which is assumed as a main competitor of superstrins theory to become a TOE ("theory of everything"). Here's his 'crackpot index", i.e., his arguments and criteria what kind of "new theories" should not be taken "seriously" by "true scientists":

Here's my view of this, as sent to Prof. Baez:
Dear Prof. Baez!

I have just examined Your crackpot index. I got a great plesure, thank
You. When I was in charge for answering some crackpots, declining
classical mechanical conservation laws, I derived 2 simple rules for

a)  If I am not able to meet crackpot's arguments in their essense, I fail.
b)  If I am not able to formulate short, I fail to beat this crackpot.


a) Your list seems to be too long. Any good classification uses from 3
to 7 points.

b) Mentioning Feynman is not forbidden for crackpots as well for
well-mannered physicists, taught not to say bad words. If one uses
double standards, 5 points to suspect him as pseudo-scientist.

c) Current quantum theory does not indeed provide "underlying
mechanism". It is not a tradegy, but it is exactly so.

d) Providing "uderlying mechanism" without new predictions but also
without contradictions to current knowledge has no difference to
current knowledge. No differnece, let me point, means it is not
better, but it is not worse as well.

d) Russian proverb says that "7 miles is not a loop for crazy dog".
So, if "alternative" theory provides a shorter way, even without new
predictions, it's better than current theory. It is moreover better,
if point (d) is valid.

e) 2 or even more theories, equivalent in predictions, are equivalent.
Equivalent, in my terms, is simply equivalent :) The difference is in
authority of "main" theory shareholders. No more difference.


Pavel V. Kurakin,
Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences.

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