Sunday, September 23, 2007

Promises, Promises

Hi. Just a short, possibly moving into foamy rant ahead.

I'm guessing all my skeptical friends have noticed it at some point or another: Woos make all sorts of promises about how their favorite woo will cause a world-changing, possibly world-saving revolution. They never seem to deliver.

We've had nuts studying psychic powers for a long, long time, and yet have yet to do anything that would pass a test worthy of any attention. And somehow, a lot of them expect to develop practical applications for stuff like remote viewing and telekinesis. Still others claim that the ancients had practical applications, like pyramid building. As if it were impossible with standard human ingenuity (Our primitive ancestors were just as smart as we are. They just didn't have the enormous knowledge base we have today) and a lot of elbow grease.

We've had all sorts of people claiming to have perpetual motion machines, free energy devices, and so on. They can't ever seem to keep them running, or can't ever seem to complete them, but often promise that they'll get the bugs worked out if they get just a little more money.

Another thing that annoys me are these basement inventors who never get their magical machines out and working under controlled conditions. They're an insult to the real basement inventors like all the computer geeks we now have to thank for your ability to read my blog.

Thought its sloppiness and unwillingness to engage people, woo is probably one of the biggest forces for maintaining the status quo. Imagine if all the PR funding for woo was instead spent on genuine research.

1 comment:

Don said...

I think it's also worth noting that they never seem to come up with any new ideas, either. It's always psychic this and that, or some free-energy nonsense that they (a) read about on a crackpot website/newsgroup or (b) saw on some POS History Channel "documentary."

Almost anything that appears to be Noo Woo is really just a derivative of the genre with the various expected words spelled differently (with "k" instead of "c" or something) and put in a different order. "Quantum," tachyons, spirituality, magic, psychic, rays, beams, "energy." The underlying theme is always "We don't understand science but damn do we sure think we do because we read Orson Scott Card and watch Star Trek and play table-top RPGs."

Not in any way knocking the table-top, as an avid (if feening and in withdrawal) gamer myself, its just that I've noticed lots of dumbass dorks tend to associate their geeky interests with actual intelligence and so think they're smarter than other people based only on their love of Lord of the Rings and the Sci-Fi Network.

Just occurred to me: could the popularity of Ghost Hunters and such have anything to do with the general superiority complex of part of Sci-Fi's embedded viewer base of dumbass dorks? Something to consider, I think.