“Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment, you must also be right.”
– Robert Park
This quote was presented in comments at Pharyngula some months ago now, reacting to a post detailing the pretensions of some gadflies. I’d read it before, where I don’t remember, but I’d forgotten how much I like it.
There’s a neverending supply of kooks out there fostering the delusion that their particular piece of reality denialism is actually a paradigm-shattering insight of rare brilliance, and that its total obscurity apart from wittering on the web is due to a conspiracy of persecution. It’s easy to mock such people, perhaps using the classic Sagan epigram:
But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
But what about the Haldane crockpot corollary?
“Theories have four stages of acceptance:
i) this is worthless nonsense;
ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view.
iii) this is true but quite unimportant.
iv) I always said so.”
- J.B.S. Haldane, 1963
As you may be guessing by now, I’m collecting these little gems on would-be paradigm-shattering innovations, and also planning to begin a bit of a series profiling some of the more entertaining woo-merchants out there. Anybody else got some favourites to share?
This week’s featured mantle-seeker is perhaps a stretch if one were sticking rigorously to those claiming to walk in Galileo’s footsteps, as it’s entirely possible that he’s just a New Age webwise snake-oil salesman. However, he’s just too much fun. He seems to have built a whole business around an idea similiar to that of the stone you keep in your pocket that keeps tigers away. This is what he sells:
Originally uploaded by tigtog
Looks a little odd? Well, perhaps you need to see it in the full context of the website banner:
Originally uploaded by tigtog
(The banner above has now been subtly upgraded since I ganked that image last year: the chap now looks somewhat slimmer and it is more obvious that he is giving a one finger salute.)
Now, back to the device – when properly installed with copper tubes of the proper length, this device will prevent damage to your tissues from jet contrails! (And let’s not forget the added benefit of blocking those mind control drugs that those contrails are just full of as well.) How does it do this? Through the production of ORGONE, yes, ORGONE. Some of you may have heard of orgone before, if you’ve ever read some of the work of Wilhelm Reich, who “explored his ever-expanding knowledge of chronic sexual starvation and it’s possible link to the disease of cancer”, and ended up jailed for contravening the regulations of the US Food and Drug Administration and having all his books burned. However, interesting though Reich’s story is, this CT Busting idea seems to be a misrepresentation of his controversial theories regarding orgone.
Similar to ki, Reich found that there is both positive orgone (POR) and negative, or deadly orgone (DOR). DOR has a higher vibrational state than POR, one that is over-excited. It causes a person to feel anxious and possibly get sick if exposed too long.
Reich did believe in “cloudbusting” using orgone generators as a way to produce rain, but he probably (despite his own experiences with both the Nazis and the FDA) would have balked at the way these “followers” use his work, which is essentially by spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) about a New World Order of global tyrrany to promote the sale of large amounts of questionable products.
Originally uploaded by tigtog
These are Dolphin balls, also essential tools in combatting the evil mind control conspiracy of the New World Order.
The dolphins are our allies against the powers of global tyranny.
These balls will concentrate Ethereal Dolphins around your home, acting as guardians to you and your family. Pretty cool, eh? And very generous of the Ethereal Dolphins to hang around guarding humans when we’re sweeping their earthly predecessors up in tuna nets at such a rate of knots, although I guess that ensuring so many earthly dolphins pass on to the Ethereal plane does help the guardian supply keep pace with demand.
But wait, there’s more! You can get add-ons to ensure even greater benefits!
You can upgrade your Cloudbuster with PowerPack Crystal Wands for an additional $150. These are a substantial upgrade!
At it’s heart amethyst, garnet, emerald, kyanite, citrine and xenon are combined with two powerful neodymium magnets. Wrapped with copper foil.
We have found these various minerals and elements to be effective in the production of orgone. I can’t say how much more powerful this is compared to my standard model, as orgone is difficult to measure with our current technology.
It’s just more tiger-repellant rocks, isn’t it? Ah yes, the classic line: “[insert name of whatever effect is allegedly produced by the object the punter is being asked to purchase here] is difficult to measure with our current technology” I’m amazed these chaps don’t immediately suffer from Piniocchio-nose and liar-liar-pants-on-fire when these words come out of their mouths.
What leads me to think that he basically is a snake-oil merchant rather than a true-woo-believer is the other products he sells.
The best part: most of the stuff he sells is not designed to just be a one-off purchase of a few units for your own home. Nope, the idea is to buy these things and leave them in places that need healing energy.
The best thing to do with a Dolphin Ball is to drop it in the ocean and send healing energy to the Dolphins.
There’s a whole subculture of people who totally buy into this and go around chucking lumps of orgonite at the base of microwave relay towers for cellphones, or even camouflaging them and throwing them onto “mysterious scanning installations” on military bases, all with the goal of deflecting/containing Deadly Orgone Radiation and protecting the world from the conspiracy of global tyranny.
These people would be pretty harmless and simply amusing if they didn’t totally buy into the idea of the Global Zionist Conspiracy of the New World Order, and they’ve even bought into an updated version of the blood libel.
What’s remarkable, but not surprising, is that as we move up the chain of command we encounter people who are more and more bloodstained and bloodthirsty. Needless to say we haven’t encountered many elected officials in these food chains. About half of them here are Men in Black, military officers and secret brotherhood adepts, though of course the first two categories are nearly always in the third one, too, and at that level it indicates regular human sacrifice, including infants.
At the moment they’re claiming that their special (very expensive) devices “dissemble[sic] predators” and their goal is to “dissemble[sic] the entire predatory apparatus” that is secretly running our government. These people may not always stay harmless if their methods don’t appear to be working – not the snake-oil merchants selling this stuff without belief, of course, but the true-woo-believers who are buying it from them.
If you are suddenly realising that the nice copper sculpture you’ve been admiring in your neighbour’s garden is actually a CT Buster, I’d keep an eye on them if I were you.