Monday, October 29, 2007

Everybody Is A Crank

The New York Times has a short article (free subscription required) about well regarded scientists stepping out of their own fields and becoming cranks in another. This has been spurred by James Watsons (co discoverer of the structure of DNA) cranky claims about race and intelligence last week, for Watson however such claims are not entirely unusual and not entirely unexpected given his age (79). The article includes an interesting quote from Sir Martin Rees:
“With my own advancing years, I’m mindful of the three different ways scientists can grow old,” Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal of the United Kingdom and president of the Royal Society, wrote in an e-mail message. The first two choices are either to become an administrator or to content yourself with doing science that will probably be mediocre. (“In contrast to composers,” Dr. Rees observed, “there are few scientists whose last works are their greatest.”) The third choice is to strike off half-cocked into unfamiliar territory — and quickly get in over your head. “All too many examples of this!” he lamented
I'm just struggling to come up with too many examples of this (any ideas internets?), there must be some, but there is another more interesting route to crankdom for scientists, one which allows you to remain comfortable in your own field: you are mainstream at some point but stick with a discredited theory long after it was given up as a lost cause by everyone else, Halton Arp is the obvious example from astronomy. I find this the more interesting route because it is the most dangerous, the easiest most seductive route, kind of like the dark side of science where you let your ego get the better of you.

I don't doubt that everyone is a crank in some field, I just wonder what my crank field is. I've known some friends that held what I thought were borderline cranky views on areas such as global warming or biology, but I guess its always difficult to spot where your own thoughts appear unreasonable to others. No doubt someone will enlighten me. Do you know where your inner crank resides?


Anonymous said...

naturally like your web-site however you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts.
Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I
find it very bothersome to inform the reality nevertheless I will definitely come again again.

Also visit my web page lockout in mclean
My page: roadside assistance in panhandle

chenxin said...

20150713 chenxin
gucci uk
ray ban sunglasses
true religion jeans
louis vuitton pas cher
louis vuitton
ray ban glasses
oakley sunglasses wholesale
burberry sale
oakley sunglasses outlet
gucci borse
true religion outlet
hollister clothing
cheap ray ban sunglasses
air max 90
prada outlet
soccer shoes
pandora jewelry
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet
nike air force
pandora outlet
tory burch handbags
coach factory outlet
longchamp handbags
ray ban sunglass
air max 95
coach outlet online
coach outlet online
fitflops outlet
rolex watches
chanel bags
burberry outlet online
polo ralph lauren outlet
toms shoes outlet
michael kors outlet
chaussure louboutin
chanel handbags
cheap oakleys
burberry scarf

Lili Wang said...

true religion outlet
ray ban wayfarer
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton handbags uk
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton handbags
hermes belts
coach outlet stores online
coach factory outlet
lebron 11
gucci outlet online
hollister outlet
cheap jerseys wholesale
oakley sunglasses
coach outlet online
michael kors handbags
tory burch outlet online
louis vuitton
lv bags
chanel outlet online
oakley sunglasses
louis vuitton outlet
air max uk
louis vuitton outlet
celine bag
hollister outlet
burberry outlet online
cheap chi straighteners
michael kors outlet