Are They (or You) a Crank?

Are They (or You) a Crank? October 28, 2019

Matthew Collins adapted something from the realm of math for application to biblical studies and religion. He shared it on Facebook, and I asked for permission to circulate it. I adapted it slightly more to fit its new application better, but the vast majority of it is his and/or his source’s.

Are they a crank? Use this scoring system to find out:

(NB: This is stolen from mathematics and slightly edited, but I think it works for bible/religion too.)

  • 1 point for each word in all capital letters;
  • 5 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous, logically inconsistent, or widely known to be false;
  • 10 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful correction;
  • 10 points for expressing fear that your ideas will be stolen;
  • 10 points for each new term you invent or use without properly defining it;
  • 10 points for stating that your ideas are of great academic, historical, financial, theoretical, or spiritual value;
  • 10 points for beginning the description of your work by saying how long you have been working on it;
  • 10 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to established experts;
  • 10 points for citing an impressive-sounding, but irrelevant, result;
  • 20 points for naming something after yourself;
  • 30 points for not knowing how or where to submit their major discovery for publication;
  • 40 points for claiming to have “proof” of a particular conclusion but not knowing what established scholars have done on the problem.

What else would you add? What would make it more applicable to other fields? What changes would make it still more applicable to biblical studies and ancient history?

This “taxonomy of quackery” appeared just as I was working on this blog post. Coincidence, or evidence that they are watching me?

A Taxonomy of Quackery

Let me also share some things I wrote previously on this topic.

Skepticism Quote

Cranks according to Jonathan Kay

Antiultracrepidarians vs. Deliberatefraudists: Smackdown in the Blogosphere

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