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Hume's Razor's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Hume's Razor

Comment 13 by Corylus :

Thank you, Hume's Razor I had not heard that one before.

... there’s something about becoming a Nobel Laureate that has a tendency to lead people to becoming cranks. Either that, or maybe it’s because mavericks who make Nobel-worthy discoveries have a tendency not always to recognize that not all of their ideas are as brilliant as the ones that garnered the Nobel Prize for them, although certainly another possibility is that winning the Nobel Prize tends to give some scientists an inflated sense of their own expertise in fields of science not related to the ones for which they won their Nobel Prize in the first place. Maybe it’s a bit of all of these. [Emphasis mine]

It might also be that people are less likely to tell these laureates straight out when they being idiots. We all need people around us to provide this service from time to time - I am quite certain I do.

In the unlikely event that Mr Montagnier is reading this ...

Sir, you are being a idiot.

Speaking of which, Gorski himself has just revisited the topic especially for the occasion:

I’ve wondered how some Nobel Laureates, after having achieved so much, proving themselves at the highest levels by making fundamental contributions to our understanding of science that they rate the highest honors, somehow end up embracing dubious science (Ignarro) or even outright pseudoscience (Pauling or Montagnier). Does the fame go to their head? Do they come to think themselves so much more creative than other scientists that their fantastical ideas become plausible to them? Does winning the Nobel Prize lead some scientists to think that the genius they showed in their own area of expertise that allowed them to win such an exalted prize also applies to other areas of science outside their area of expertise? Who knows? What I do know is that Montagnier has become the latest Nobel Laureate to become a crank.

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Comment 15 by Alan4discussion :

Here is another AGW denier/detractor celebrity scientist!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeman_Dyson

My own compatriot (blush!) Ivar Giaever is another notorious one. As I commented in an earlier post:

I had the dubious pleasure of attending a lecture by this guy at the 250th anniversary of the Norwegian Royal Society about two years ago. The announced topic of his presentation had something to do with the chemical basis of life. However, it soon became obvious (from his pre-prepared powerpoint presentation) that the intention all along was to dedicate most of his to lecture to a long, embarrassing rant against climate science (nothing new, by the way, just the same old debunked arguments and denialist retoric).

I have since often noticed this strategy of using a relatively neutral topic as a “trojan horse” to smuggle in as much denialist retoric as possible. It should be considered a huge red flag whenever someone feels the need to disguise the true topic of their talk.

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 14:07:15 UTC | #945467