Stupid Scientist Tricks

We blogged on the old site about how the discoverer of DNA’s double helix structure, James Watson has fallen off the eugenics deep end. This articletells how his partner in the discovery, fellow Nobel laureate Francis Crick, theorized that life may have come to earth via alien spores sown by comets. (But that doesn’t even explain anything! Where did THAT life come from?) He also wanted to experiment on prisoners. Other distinguished scientists have also been, shall we say, crackpots:

Kary Mullis, after grabbing a piece of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, dove head first off the platform, expounding on the virtues of LSD and astrology and expressing his doubts about global warming, the ozone hole, and H.I.V. as the cause of AIDS. . . .

Sometimes the wandering from one’s home turf extends all the way to the paranormal. In 2001, when officials of the Royal Mail, the British postal service, issued a package of stamps commemorating the centenary of the Nobel Prize, they sought the counsel of Brian Josephson, who shared the prize for physics in 1973 for his superconductivity research. Physicists across Britain recoiled when an official pamphlet accompanying the stamps predicted that quantum mechanics might lead to an understanding of mental telepathy.

Of course, this New York Times article also includes distinguished scientists who supported creationism. The point is, scientists are human, subject to foibles, blindspots, and confused worldviews.

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