Daniel Lemire's blog

, 2 min read

Innovative ideas are indistinguishable from crackpot ones

2 thoughts on “Innovative ideas are indistinguishable from crackpot ones”

  1. Kevembuangga says:

    Do you mean that even John Baez’s Crackpot Index will give false positives?

  2. Much as it’s hard to distinguish reformers from trolls? 🙂

    But I think your point is well taken. While we’re right most of the time in dismissing an idea as a crackpot one, the few times we are wrong can be devastating. Unfortunately, the crackpots who hold up these exceptions to defend the importance of their own work are usually just crackpots.

    The unfortunate reality is that we can’t always recognize groundbreaking ideas the first time we see them. The good news, however, is that time seems to favor intellectual progress. Evolution seems to work. Although I hear it’s only a theory.