Friday, April 20, 2007

Thinking Small

Orac makes a good point in this week's Friday Dose of Woo, describing the "Tesla" Purple Energy Shield-type crap, which supposedly captures tachyons or something:
Whoever came up with this is wasting his time making these chotchkes all in order to separate the credulous from their $89.95. If he could really do what is claimed above, he'd be a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Physics, easy! Think about it. He claims to be able to alter the atomic structure of the aluminum in the outer shell of the shield to harness high-frequency tachyon energy. If that's true, why on earth is he wasting his time with this woo? Why isn't he making billions of dollars using this principle to generate electricity without oil or coal, vastly decreasing our dependence on foreign oil and providing pollution-free energy in the process?
That's one of the things that always strikes me: Woos almost never seem to think big. It prevents them from seeing the far-reaching implications if their pet hypotheses if they were true. With mediums, why do we get so little beyond "He's with you" when, if someone could talk to the dead, we could be solving countless murder cases? I, however, have never heard of a psychic legitimately claiming credit for solving even a single case. It's always postdictions, standard, generic responses that will apply to most cases, and very, very few specifics.

With most altie "treatments" it's often "Western medicine is evil, and you can survive exclusively on woo!" followed by someone mentioning a serious problem, and the alties backpedaling to say the woo's supposed to complement real medicine, it's subtle, and all those much weaker and smaller claims.

Whenever I hear about a scientific discovery, I get to wondering just what it could mean in the long run. Examples: When I first heard about bio-diesel and the idea of little critters that could take just about any organic substance and turn it into diesel, I dreamed about energy security. Less war in the Middle East (or at least fewer economic reasons for us to muck things up). Potentially "greener" sources of electricity. It may not pan out that well, but there's some hope there. We just have to keep pushing. Woo "discoveries", however, often seem to just be "buy this and you'll be happy/healthy/whatever." I may be all in favor of scientific materialism, but that just strikes me as a bit on the shallow economic sort of materialism.

Just continuing to vent my rantiness.


Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

Yep. It the main reason I continue to rail on old Georgie Schollenberger. He claims to have the first scientific proof of god but the only way you can learn about it is if you buy his book. You'd think that if someone actually had a "scientific proof of god" that the knowledge on its own would be the most amazing find ever. Not sharing this knowledge with everyone would be quite the selfish and greedy move. Why not release the info and bask it it's glory? Think of the benefits this could have for the world.

Of course, I think George might have teetered over the apex of the Dementia hill.

Infophile said...

Well, I bet a lot of them are simply lying about it, which is why they don't bother trying to get it published scientifically. The rest probably see some big conspiracy to keep them down; it's the only way to resolve their cognitive dissonance.

Don said...

Hey, I took on that very same device last year. What a worthless POS it is. I believe Randi has a short blurb about it in this week's SWIFT as well.