Tales From The Idiot Files

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
First-time Visitors: Please visit Site Map and Disclaimer. Use "Back" to return here.


Readers who have visited these pages in the past may notice two significant changes. First, all the links from my pseudoscience pages to my home page (except the one on this page) go here. Second, the header that used to be at the start of each page is gone. It used to look like this:

A Note to Visitors

I will respond to questions and comments as time permits, but if you want to take issue with any position expressed here, you first have to answer this question:

What evidence would it take to prove your beliefs wrong?

I simply will not reply to challenges that do not address this question. Refutability is one of the classic determinants of whether a theory can be called scientific. Moreover, I have found it to be a great general-purpose cut-through-the-crap question to determine whether somebody is interested in serious intellectual inquiry or just playing mind games. Note, by the way, that I am assuming the burden of proof here - all you have to do is commit to a criterion for testing. It's easy to criticize science for being "closed-minded". Are you open-minded enough to consider whether your ideas might be wrong?

The Rules

After quite a few years of dealing with responses to this challenge, it has become depressingly obvious that 90 per cent of the people who reply have no idea what the challenge is about.

You Meet my Standards, Not the Other Way Round

This is not about satisfying your standards of proof. I am trying to figure out whether responding to you is a waste of time or not. If I refute your point and you argue back with some specious reply, or change the subject, then you're not honestly willing to have your ideas refuted and it's a waste of time for us to proceed any further.

These pages are devoted to pseudoscience. That means things like creationism and perpetual motion are wrong. So are 9-11 and moon-hoax conspiracy theories. If you want clarification, I'll assist you.

This is Not a Symmetrical Relationship

Your ideas about science are not on the same level as science's ideas about your theory. We have credentials and experience. You don't. You are not our equals. All men may be created equal but they don't stay that way.

I am Not Volunteering to do Your Research

I am not going to do extensive literature searches for you, edit a paper for you, co-author with you, or suggest a journal for you. The fact that you don't know how to do these things - things any graduate student knows how to do - shows how unqualified you are to challenge science. This is like wanting to drive the Indy 500 and asking how to start the car.

No, I am Not Going to Buy Your Book

My ideas are openly available for anyone who wants to read them. You do the same.


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Created 18 July 2008;  Last Update 02 May, 2013

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