I've been spending the summer developing a new, expanded version of
the famous "crackpot index", based on the latest available research.
Here it is:
THE CRACKPOT INDEX
A simple method for rating potentially
revolutionary contributions to physics.
1) A -5 point starting credit.
2) 1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.
3) 2 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous.
4) 3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.
5) 5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful
6) 5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results
of a widely accepted real experiment.
7) 5 points for each word in all capital letters (except for those
with defective keyboards).
8) 10 points for each claim that quantum mechanics is fundamentally
misguided (without good evidence).
9) 10 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Einstein, or
claim that special or general relativity are fundamentally misguided
(without good evidence).
10) 10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this
were evidence of sanity.
11) 10 points by beginning the description of your theory by saying
how long you've been working on it.
12) 10 points for mailing your theory to someone you don't know
personally, but asking them not to tell anyone else about it, for
fear that your ideas will be stolen.
13) 20 points for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel prize.
14) 20 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Newton or
claim that classical mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without
15) 20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if
they were fact.
16) 20 points for defending oneself by bringing up (real or imagined)
ridicule accorded to ones past theories.
17) 30 points for each use of the phrase "hidebound reactionary".
18) 30 points for each use of the phrase "self-appointed defender
of the orthodoxy".
20) 30 points for suggesting that a famous figure secretly disbelieved
in a theory which he or she publicly supported. (E.g., that Feynman
was a closet opponent of special relativity, as deduced by reading
between the lines in his freshman physics textbooks.)
21) 30 points for suggesting that Einstein, in his later years, was
groping his way towards the ideas you now advocate.
22) 30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an
extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).
23) 40 points for comparing those who argue against your ideas to
Nazis, stormtroopers, or brownshirts.
24) 40 points for claiming that the "scientific establishment" is
engaged in a "conspiracy" to prevent your work from gaining its
well-deserved fame, or suchlike.
25) 40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated,
present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is. (30 more
points for planning to hold show trials in which scientists who mocked
your theories will be forced to recant.)
26) 50 points for claiming your has a revolutionary theory but
giving no concrete testable predictions.
soon to be available at http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html