DailyDirt: Crackpots Versus Real Scientists

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Over a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein published what would become his theory of special relativity, and since then, there have been quite a few experiments that support Einstein's ideas. That's the way science usually works. A theory hypothesis is proposed, and if it's deemed worthy enough, other people will actually try to test out the theory hypothesis and see if its predictions can be verified (and every worthy theory hypothesis needs to be able to predict something that isn't already known). As non-traditional scientific publishing becomes easier and more popular, though, the signal-to-noise for interesting ideas can get a bit difficult to discern. Luckily, there are still some folks willing to bear the burden of debunking extraordinary claims from an endless stream of nearly-good ideas. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.
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Filed Under: abc conjecture, crowdsourcing, e8, grand unifying theory, gut, math, p=np, proof, science


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  1. identicon
    Pseudonym, 14 May 2013 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Re: Hold on there...

    Yeah, I agree with that.

    Part of the thing is that anyone who has worked in science knows that they could, at any time, produce an interesting idea that may go somewhere. Some of us are even lucky enough to have done this. When that happens, you don't want to oversell it, but you don't want to undersell it either.

    There are rules to the peer review process, and you have to play by them. There is, in theory, no shame in having honestly proposed something that turned out to be wrong. Well, as long as you don't do it consistently. Unfortunately, the more significant the problem is, the higher a chance you have of your half-baked idea going viral before it's ready. So I feel really bad for Lisi, and somewhat bad for Deolalikar. That could have been any of us.

    It's harder to feel bad for Mochizuki, because he did not play by the commonly accepted rules. Those rules are there for your benefit. You are the one who best understands your ideas. If you are good, then you are the biggest critic of your own ideas. But the bigger the problem, the more likely that there's something you overlooked. That's why it's up to you to explain your ideas to other people, so they can help you look for what you missed.

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