Science makes top ten worst ideas of all time

The Washington Post, famous for its outside-of-the-box thinking on scientific matters, has published a list of the worst ideas of the last one hundred years (sorry for the hyperbolifics in the title). Not surprisingly, science shows up not one, not two, not four, but three times. First, medical science, then technology, then geography.

The sciences better start getting serious, or else they will be relegated to the same mystical voodoo cesspool as Astrology, Psychology, Cultural Studies, and the feisty offshoot of Cultural Studies, Wicca.

Here’s my list of the top ten worst ideas of the last one hundred years (considering not just science, but all ideas):

(2) Nuclear Physics (QED TBA)
(3) The Apollo Program (QED)
(4) Special Relativity (QED)
(5) Quantum Mechanics (QED TBA)
(6)  Bayes theorem (QED)
(8) Bombing the moon (QED)
(9) Micro-Evolution (QED, QED)
(10) Dark Matter/Anti-Matter (QED, QED)
(10) More-than-three dimensional space (QED)
(10) Brian Greene/Stephen Hawking (QED)

I don’t yet have QED links for all of these, but you can find additional expliceration of these ideas, such as Brian Greene, in my comprehensive Science and Math Defeated Glossary of Terms.


18 thoughts on “Science makes top ten worst ideas of all time

  1. (10) You didn’t even discuss Baye’s theorem. Nor did you actually discuss probability. You discussed how general parlance do not match up with the specifics of mathematical definitions.

    The same can be said of your discussion on Dark Matter coming from science fiction novelists –of course, the definition of dark matter or application of the world did not come from them.

    If this blog is your true beliefs (and I say beliefs because, they are, and they are yours and few others), I am always curious how you think, and how cognitive dissidence and logical fallacies arises in a persons thoughts –and nobody denies they do, just the extent in your case is amazing. It’s almost like you took an Intro. to Philosophy, Math for English Majors, and read the continual headlines (and nothing more) of I say almost for good reason.

    I think it would be interesting to see the logical structures you use to ‘prove’ things, ie, describe the background assumptions, the propositions, and then the logical connective arguments that lead to your conclusions.

  2. Dear Nickel,

    I assume the fact that you’re commenting again means that the chain letter has been sent out to friends, family, and coworkers.

    As for the logical structures, I don’t always use them, since sub-narrative phenomenological approaches sometimes have better epistemic fit. But in general, to see my reasons, you have to go to the posts themselves. Usually I provide both reasons (cursive or discursive), plus some empirical hyperlinks.

    Are there any topics which you would like me to address more thoroughly? Keep in mind I’ve already written not one but two posts on Dark Matter.


  3. Hi John. Thanks for stopping by. I’m not sure I gather the meaning of your question. Certainly there is much humor on my website, but the “entire site” is devoted to the overall purpose of reporting on science news, challenging alleged scientific consensus, and proposing radical new scientific paradigms, to coin a phrase from the late Catholic thinker Thomas Küng.

    Of course I wouldn’t agree that my attempt has been “misguided.” But thanks for reading!


  4. Hello NS,

    I hope you and all your readers had an enjoyable Xmas 🙂

    I am still not clear why you think micro-evolution is wrong? I have looked at both of the posts you refer to and they don’t seem to provide a sound argument against it.

    Could you provide a concise and clear objection to it please as I still think you may be unclear on one or two things. Cheers.

    I hope you are well and have a happy new year!


  5. 1) The Washington Post article was about the last decade, not the last century. That would be 10 years, NS, not 100.

    2) The “world-is-flat movies” item is not about geography, and flat-earth geography wouldn’t be considered a “science” even if that’s what the article was about. It’s referring to the simplistic viewpoint taken by such movies. Do you even read the things you refer to in your posts?

    3) The other two science-related items aren’t really about the science itself, but how it’s used or interpreted. Vaccines work just fine, but many people are trying to say the preservative is dangerous. But not getting vaccinated is even worse if you come down with the disease and it kills you. And BlackBerries work just fine, but people in our society have used them in ways that is detrimental to their quality of life – their choice on how to use the technology is the bad idea here.

    Those are just the blatantly obvious mistakes. I’m not even going to touch your own list of bad ideas, or the methods by which you “prove” them. QED – yeah, right. Like you actually demonstrate anything logical.

  6. AngelPlume you are such a bore sometimes! I wish more prestigious bloggers would comment here, like Matt Heath.

    Anyway, to take your points in order:

    (1) It doesn’t matter whether or not the article understands the implications of flat-earth geology. What are you talking about? You ask me if I read. But do you read?

    (2) This point just counter-asserts where I assert. Of course I myself am counter-asserting (in principle, inter-alia), but that’s beside the point. Whether you are counter-asserting, or counter-counter-asserting, it’s still without an epistemic foundation, that je neu sanctified qualia that makes beliefs grounded.

    (3) I don’t get the thing about decades. Of course a decade could be interpreted as ten years. “Dec” is a Lating modal operator for multiplying by “ten” There’s no linguistic basis for reading it as ten units of one year. Just ask Noam Chomsky. His email address is


  7. Ian, I can’t respond to your comment because it is ambiguous. First you say that you are not clear, and then at the last second you say that I am not so clear. Get your story straight! Who is the teacher in this interaction, and who is the student? Answer wisely.


  8. The point is I am not clear on why you seem to think micro-evolution isn’t real. I would like you to explain as I think there may be some things you are not clear on which lead you to think that. You may now turn over the answer sheet and please show all working, good luck.

  9. Ian,

    Reasserting an incoherent attitude does nothing to clarify or otherwise support it. If you’re not clear, then you can’t very well think I am not clear. Clearness is a mutually exclusive metaphysical property, a la Descartes cartes 4th (or so) meditation. In any case, I have explained my views on evolution time and time again, at home and abroad. If there’s something you have a problem with, feel free to bring it up, preferably in the location in which it arises.


  10. He’s not clear on your ideas because you don’t explain them clearly.
    Clear enough? Sheesh!

    So sorry to be such a bore by pointing out your obvious errors.
    To attract more prestigious bloggers, try making fewer of them.

    By the way, your answer (1) belongs to my question (2), answer (2) seems to relate to question (3) but is incomprehensible, and answer (3) relates back to question (1). Oh yeah, that’s “humor”, right? *yawn*

  11. Hi Spencer Collins. It is a pleasure seeing a lovely lady like you here. “Hyperbolifics,” dare I say obviously, are, to use a technical term, discrete exaggerations.

    Sometimes I fall into using technical jargon known only to those in the field. Thanks for pointing this out!


  12. I believe the word you’re looking for is “hyperboles”. “Hyperbolific” is not a word in the English language. Also, it seems odd to assume that someone posting as “Spencer Collins” is a lady, but whatever.

    Finally, regarding decades, the article you quote lists the worst ideas in the past decade, which under the English language refers to a period of ten years, yet you claim it refers to the past one hundred years, which is a century.

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