Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Theory vs. The Supporter

My surfing online has yielded many interesting articles and has led me to form a theory of my own. There are a great many crackpots out there, but not everything they come up with is pure idiocy. Yes, if you read their work you come away with a deep understanding of how unhinged they are, but once in a while they come up with a theory that has more merit than we give them credit for.

Take, for instance, one article that purported to explain why our planet was much younger that it appears by arguing against the slow, gradual speed of plate tectonics. The theory went that there had been giant asteroid impacts that had pushed the plates at great speed and then the plates had slowed down. At face value that theory is rubbish. However, look closer at it. Throw out his improbable idea that the plates have so radically change speed and just look at the idea of how giant asteroid impacts might affect plate tectonics. It makes sense. We know there have been some fairly large impacts, but what if there had been a few larger ones, ones that pushed plates in new directions and at faster speeds. It would explain India.

Another of the crackpot ideas is intelligent design. I have yet to find anyone of a serious scientific bent who give it any credence. It's supporters are all striving to prove their religion rather than seeking out theories to explain scientific findings. Yet the core of the idea, that there is a greater intelligence out there, has found a cadre of supporters to solve a problem with certain scientifically derived findings. The two theories of a greater intelligence are not even remotely the same, but the core idea, that there is something greater out there, lie at the heart of both. The issue with intelligent design as a theory is that it was not derived with the scientific method in mind, but rather just to give people of religion a quasi-scientific theory to bolster their claims that God exists and created the universe like their holy book claims.

That is why I have come up with the theory that you must separate the idea behind a theory from the person who created it. Crackpots have their own agenda and their arguments are usually discounted as completely worthless. However, An examination of the ideas they come up with can lead to some gems hidden in the dung. If we look at those ideas in the more sane light of mainstream science, they often have merit once divorced from the crackpot who created them.

In the end, it is the idea that matters, not who came up with it or what they were trying to prove using it. Each individual idea should be taken on its own merit and considered independently. We might find some overlooked ideas if we start looking past the agenda of the person who came up with it.

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