Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Pseudoscience Constellation

Did you ever notice that buying into one form of pseudoscience often begets other kinds of foolishness? Phillip Johnson, the lawyer who had a religious experience after a messy divorce, is not only one of the founders of the modern intelligent design movement; he's also an AIDS denier.

Russell Humphreys, the young-earth creationist, also denies that global warming is a problem.

Recently I learned about another example, possibly one of the most impressive yet. R. Webster Kehr is a Mormon and ex-Marine who

- thinks "evolution is the most absurd scientific theory in the history of science!!"

- denies Einstein's theory of relativity and the photon theory

- thinks that the naturals and the reals are the same size, even though he admits there is no bijection between them. He also describes himself as the author of many mathematical papers, although oddly enough, MathSciNet doesn't list a single one.

- subscribes to cancer quackery

You have to work pretty hard to be so deluded in so many fields simultaneously.


Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Did you ever notice that buying into one form of pseudoscience often begets other kinds of foolishness?

Sounds like Crank Magnetism"

Oort Cloud said...

Phillip Johnson (is) an AIDS denier."

If you were the lead editor of Science, would you allow a debate to be printed in your magazine between an "AIDS denier" and an expert on the opposite side?

R. Webster Kehr ... denies Einstein's theory of relativity
If you read carefully, that link says: "Did you know that Einstein's 1920 version of special relativity is nothing but a mathematical model of "ether drag?"
It doesn't look like he's denying the theory. It looks like he's accepting the theory, but explaining what it really does.

Anonymous said...

He cannot explain properly how a retro-reflector works - and that is pretty simple. It doesn't send a beam back to where it came from - it displaces the beam sideways depending on where on the first mirror the beam hits. This is useful in lasers because the return beam can interfere with the operation of the laser.

Chris P

John said...

Wow, that guy is some kind of genius. He's revolutionized modern physics, set theory and evolution. /sarcasm