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Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 10 2009,21:48   

Quote (CeilingCat @ June 10 2009,06:34)
I ran into this by Pascal Boyer while surfing the net. The article is titled, "How I found glaring errors in Einstein's calculations" and it's about the mail physicists get from nuts. This rang a bell:
Quote
Features of crackpot science

2 Most physics crackpots are engineers. More than 95% of my sample boast engineering degrees, or combine an undergraduate maths/physics degree followed by an engineering PhD or equivalent. This is not too surprising, as this may be the only kind of cursus that provides one with enough math background to understand the equations and formulae in the textbooks without actually studying maths and physics - which would show the crackpot why hes misguided.
It's not just physics, Pascal.

Boyer is the author of, "Religion Explained", still the best book I've read on how religions get started.

Thanks for passing along that article. Boyer's explanation for why most physics crackpots are engineers makes sense to me, and I say that as an engineer. In engineering we have a name for someone who attempts engineering using only standard formulas, that is, without understanding the underlying principles. We call them a "handbook engineer." Similarly, Boyer describes crackpot physicists as textbook physicists.

The UD'ers have a similarly superficial understanding of science; they continually display a lack of understanding of models and modeling. They want to treat the formulas and theories in the science books as prescriptive laws (that have been discovered), rather than as descriptive and useful models (that have been developed.)

ETA: The centrality of the role of modeling is one of the main things that science and engineering share. ID, of course, eschews modeling.

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Invoking intelligent design in science is like invoking gremlins in engineering. [after Mark Isaak.]
All models are wrong, some models are useful. - George E. P. Box

  
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