Why Pseudoscientists Abhor Free Speech

That’s simple: no pseudoscientist in history has done anything without dollar-signs obscuring his vision. That is why they are always linked to what they perceive to be sure-fire money-spinners, such as perpetual motion, antigravity and alternative medicine.  The latter is by far the most profitable because it obviously attracts most personal interest and the suckers themselves provide the ‘evidence’ … by declaring that – for instance – plain water cured them, when it was actually their own immune system that did it. Even QEII is involved in alternative health, by backing several homoeopathic hospitals in the UK. When it comes to perpetual motion and antigravity, there is a shortage of ‘man-in-the-street’  buyers, so the  cranks have to go after wealthy suckers or large companies and appeal for ‘blue-sky’ investment. This actually works! A rich chicken-farmer was persuaded to fund the crackpot ‘work’ of one Kenneth Shoulders (he shrugs-off accusations of fraud, haha). However, the main targets are big organisations ‘with more money than sense’. None of them have any sense, it seems.   The CIA [sic] was fooled into training ‘psychic warriers’, largely on the basis of Uri Geller’s conjuring tricks and the ‘scientific backing’ of ex-scientologist Harold Puthoff (who also tried, and failed, to corner the silver market by using paranormal means). DARPA (the USA’s top secret weapons-development agency) was fooled into trying to develop a nuclear bomb based upon hafnium (just about the least likely material).  The French oil company, ELF Aquitaine, was defrauded of an amazing amount of money by two conmen who  kept ELF’s own (real) scientists at bay by pleading ‘commercial secrecy’. The crooks were unmasked by the same trick that was used to unmask Blondlot (another French pseudoscientist) many years before. ELF let the conmen keep the money, fearing public ridicule and a fall in its share price. We know about the scam only because the notoriously aggressive French taxman later wanted to know where such a huge amount of money had gone.  So the point is that there is potentially such a large amount of money to be picked up, what with company scientists often being out of their depth and their bosses being greedy laymen, that pseudoscience is quite a logical career course for the crafty and immoral. They have an easy time of it because Joe Public cannot distinguish between science and pseudoscience: if Brian Cox (who habitually starts a sentence on one continent, but finishes it on another, before bleating about climate change) were to tell them that the Sun orbits the Earth … most of the audience would swallow the ‘new research result’. We exaggerate: but the situation is almost that bad. The only solution is to hound the pseudoscientist at every turn. They are the ‘Jimmy Saviles’ of science: respected until they are found out, whereupon everyone cries, “why were we not told, surely someone knew?” We know … and the crackpots don’t like it. 


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