I presume that professors in most fields get e-mails and/or packages with manuscripts from people who are sure they have incredible insights into this, that, or the other.
Today I received an e-mail sharing a link to “The Ouzo Prophecy” and I thought I would share it, because it is just so amusing.
The funniest part isn’t the beginning, which says “I am Bob the Baptist, precursor of the second coming of Christ, whose name is Tor.”
No, something funnier still comes further down the first page, where one reads “Serious Biblical scholars, including top Hollywood movie producers…” Now that is laugh out loud funny!
If you interact often with fringe groups like creationists or mythicists, it is useful to get these sorts of e-mails. They are a great reminder that the more popular forms of pseudoscience and pseudoscholarship are not developed and promoted by people who are lacking in either intelligence or sanity. They may be ideologically motivated, or simply have a blind spot they don’t notice, or do what they do for some other reason. But however unpersuasive their claims or selective their use of scholarly methods might be, it takes a certain kind of logic and intelligence to develop the explanatory structure that allows one to hold and defend such views against the crashing waves mainstream thinking and cognitive dissonance. And so those viewpoint should not be treated as though they are stupid or crazy. They are simply unscholarly, unscientific, and/or wrong.
When you see the genuinely cooky, you appreciate the difference.