Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Evolution Crackpot Index

Heard of the Rapture Index? Here's the Evolution Crackpot Index. Higher scores get you closer to "revolutionary" thinking in creationism and intelligent design.

From John Wilkins at Evolving Thoughts (via The Crackpot Index):

A simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to biology.

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 correction.

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. 5 points for each mention of "Heackel", "Dawkin", "Steven Gould" or "Eldridge".

9. 10 points for each claim that genetics or evolution is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).

10. 10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity. An extra 5 points for citing your engineering, dentistry, medical or computing degree as authoritative in biology. An extra 5 points for a pseudomedical qualification (such as homeopathy or holistic massage).

11. 10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it.

12. 10 points for mailing your theory to someone you don't know personally and asking them not to tell anyone else about it, for fear that your ideas will be stolen.

13. 10 points for offering prize money to anyone who proves and/or finds any flaws in your theory, or to anyone who can prove evolution is true.

14. 10 points for each statement along the lines of "I'm not good at genetics, but my theory is conceptually right, so all I need is for someone to express it in terms of equations".

15. 10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is "only a theory", as if this were somehow a point against it.

16. 10 points for arguing that while a current well-established theory predicts phenomena correctly, it doesn't explain "why" they occur, or fails to provide a "mechanism".

17. 10 points for each claim that Punctuated Equilibrium Theory, or some similar recent view in biology, in evidence of creationism (or some similar view such as Intelligent Design or, or claim that modern biology is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).

18. 10 points for claiming that your work is on the cutting edge of a "paradigm shift" and that we need to go beyond Darwinism.

19. 20 points for suggesting that you or your hero deserve a Nobel prize.

20. 20 points for every use of religious or science fiction works or myths as if they were fact.

21. 20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to your past theories.

22. 20 points for each use of the phrase "hidebound reactionary" or "Darwinist establishment" or cognates.

23. 20 points for each use of the phrase "self-appointed defender of the orthodoxy" or cognates.

24. 30 points for suggesting that a famous figure secretly disbelieved in a theory which he or she publicly supported (e.g., that Darwin recanted on his deathbed).

25. 30 points for suggesting that some major scientist, in his later years, was groping his way towards the ideas you now advocate.

26. 30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by a pre-industrial culture (without good evidence).

27. 40 points for comparing those who argue against your ideas to Nazis, eugenicists, stormtroopers, or brownshirts.

28. 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.

29. 40 points for comparing yourself to Galileo, suggesting that a modern-day Inquisition is hard at work on your case, and so on.

30. 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 fantasizing about show trials in which scientists who mocked your theories will be forced to recant, especially after their death, or for announcing the "death of Darwinism".)

31. 50 points for claiming you have a revolutionary theory but giving no concrete testable predictions, formal models, or exact hypotheses.

32. 10 points for every claim of lurker e-mail support.

33. 100 points for asserting that molecular evolution of complex proteins is impossible because of the large neutral gaps that selection would have to cross, or that there are boundaries between species or other groups of organisms that evolution cannot breach.


jim said...

You get 50 points for A relationship with Lassen College. And you get 50 bonus point for being intelligent enough to live and work in that part of the world.

- jd
a Lassen grad

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