But the most often-quoted "I told you so" moment concerns Alfred Wegener, who looked at the continents of the Earth and reckoned that they could probably all fit together pretty well. On the face of it, this theory is bloody stupid. Whole continents sailing about the world ? There there Wegener, be a good chap and pass the opium.
|Also, he was a vampire.
Some examples. As as scientist I get fairly regular emails (and occasionally real post) about revolutionary new theories. It's an occupational hazard. The latest is an extremely badly-written and very boring website which can be viewed here. You don't want to though. It's dull. I've no idea if some poor sod has genuinely taken the time to invent a new and pointless theory or if it's just some massively elaborate scamming routine.
Then of course there's the notorious TimeCube, where a very angry man has decided that
a) Everyone is evil apart from him and
b) Something about days being made up of 4 different days happening simultaneously, or something.
I don't know what he's talking about and no-one else does either.
But my all-time favourite has to be the downright strange Space Mirror Mystery. This very well-designed but badly-worded website espouses the theory that there's a giant mirror, 300 million km wide, surrounding the Earth. Nothing exists further away than this, it's all just reflections in the space mirror (I can think of 7 spacecraft off the top of my head further away than this, but never mind). The best bit is that you can download "items" 1-4 for free, but to get item 5 (whatever that is) you have to pay a very specific $101.
Which is why I want to be a pseudoscientist. Not for them the drudgery of sifting through data, endlessly analysing and re-analysing in the hope of making an iota of progress. They don't have to toil away, re-writing the same damn thing over and over again in different ways, or give Power Point presentations to anyone, or have to worry how much it will cost them to publish a paper with colour figures. No, for them it's much easier to claim that it's all bollocks and blame it on the Moon*, or Nazi space werewolves or whatever.
* In the case of astrologers I mean this literally.
This sounds a lot more fun to me. Screw astronomy. I think I'll be the world's first radio astrologer. Sure, we know all about planetary influences, but what about distant quasars ? If Jupiter rising in Scorpios can cause you to feel slightly put-out for a few days, what happens when the Crab pulsar is directly overhead ? Does it make your natural sense of timing much much better ? Does a very bright continuum source cause you to feel all wibbly ? What about when an GPS satellite - which is much brighter than any natural sources - moves through your star sign ?
The last one is obvious - the US government is bent on using the mystical energies of GPS satellites to control the destiny of everyone on Earth. Hell, those jerks are probably using ley lines as well.
EDIT : I drafted this a while ago but it slipped off the front page and I forgot to publish it. Alas, the "space mirror mystery" website no longer functions, so I replaced the link in the text with a webarhive version - fortunately this contains about 90% of the original material.