Cover: A Measure for Crackpots

A Measure for Crackpots

Published 1962

by Fred Joseph Gruenberger


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An attempt to determine the difference between the work of a scientist and that of a crackpot. A check list is given of some significant items considered among the main attributes of the scientist (or, in some cases, the crackpot). The check list is: public verifiability, predictability, controlled experimentation, Occam's razor, fruitfulness, authority, communication, humility, open mindedness, Fulton non sequitur, paranoia, dollar complex, and statistics compulsion. This check list is then applied to three types of people: the universally recognized scientist, the widely discredited crackpot, and the middle group, still open to debate, represented by the advocates of extrasensory perception. The theory shows that a metric can be assigned to the merits of another theory.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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