Friday, April 10, 2009

Crackpot Redux

PZ Myers also posted a link to this great piece by Pascal Boyer about scientific crackpots. Pascal Boyer also wrote the most excellent Religion Explained.

I had written before about my personal experience with crackpots, and some of the more curious quirks that they all seem to share, but Boyer is a genuine crackpot enthusiast and has many more examples to draw from. These cases support his Crackpot Characteristics List, which includes my two favorites "Crackpots ignore other crackpots" and "The crackpot theory is invariably more intuitive than the standard one". The relevance to atheists is that crackpots are a great exhibit of people with a flawed process who have some bizarre similarities to creationists and other sufferers of the Religious Right's pathologies.

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