Word salad, with math

I guess most of us missed a bizarre poster at the Evolution 2008 meetings tonight. It was basically a paper titled The Evidently Imminent Phyletic Transition of Homo sapiens into Homo militarensis (the military hominid), by Richard H. Lambertsen. It's garbage from the first page, I'm afraid, in which the author tries to demonstrate that there must be direction and intent in the evolution of life, and that "Earth's largest blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
swimming at peak velocity most precisely represents the
central tendency of evolution." This is followed by many pages of oddball math in which the author cites Einstein, Feynman, and himself quite often.

And then it gets weird.

The science of LAMBERTSEN and HINTZ
(2004) and LAMBERTSEN (2007) holds that the
key morphological innovation enabling maximization of free will in the organic domain was a
novel craniomandibular articulation (the MMA).
The MMA trigger enables high dEk/dt events to
be accomplished with precision. Furthermore,
the cosmological constraint confirmed implies
that maximization of free will by means of trigger
action will lead to self-destruction.

Get that? A novel jaw mechanism in whales is the pinnacle of free will.

And then it gets weirder.

Noting the apparent chiral kinematical
symmetry between the MMA and the specialized
trapeziometacarpal, or "saddle" joint of the
hominid thumb, LAMBERTSEN (2007) therefore
warned…

"[In view of that apparent chiral] symmetry we now
must expect trigger actions referable to extremely
powerful individuals that do not lead to self-
destruction, but instead cause the wanton
destruction of others. This is to say that there has
been a paradigm shift in the realization of individual
power. The means to that power is different. The
direction of evolutionary change is not. It thus is to
be expected that aged individuals suffering the
effects of senescence will use the more vigorous
young to achieve their base intention… that mentally
adept if egregious individuals of age will exploit
skillfully the combined naiveté and strength of near
juveniles."

Because there is a resemblance in the shape of hominid thumbs and whale jaw joints, people are going to do bad things. This is then confirmed by Bush's invasion of Iraq.

This is literally insane stuff. That interpretation is confirmed by the end of the paper, which contains a series of questions addressed to George W. Bush, including a demand to know if he was the one who sent a sniper to his house at 2:00pm on 28 January, and whether he personally stole Lambertsen's driver's license. There was also a bizarre incident in which Lambertsen was arrested for disrupting a flight.

This is just sad. Lambertsen actually does have some scientific qualifications, and has published respectable papers on baleen whales, and you can see buried in this one a foundation of serious work on whale anatomy and physiology. He clearly needs psychiatric help now, though.

Alas, it just goes to show that having something presented at a science conference does not necessarily imply that it is scientific, or even sensible. Keep this in mind when you see the creationists striving to get a single paper published…

And please, I hope somebody gets Lambertsen the help he needs. He isn't an evil man or a stupid man — he's got something organically wrong with his brain, I fear, and needs psychiatric intervention.

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It's so sad to see something like this, i hope he gets some help.

I notice he quotes his own paper "Power, god, evolution; justified demand for the resignation of the President of the United States of America in the interests of the American people with related warning for all mankind."
Much as i might sympathise with the sentiment, something is terribly wrong here.

By Carpworld (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

That's the postmodernism generator for sure...

Maybe he was trying to Sokal the conference and prove that they have low standards. If this could pass, then everything can, as there is no filter.

Oh brother; another case of a scientist going bonkers with overtones of religion, or of religion finally catching up to those whose brains are now susceptible for this nonsense? Are they trying to impress their peers or actually releasing the subsurface religious feelings that has been so far repressed? Sad yes, but it does not bode well for us.

So, The Evol Soc has no peer review of posters?

By Mr. Natural (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

'And please, I hope somebody gets Lambertsen the help he needs. He isn't an evil man or a stupid man -- he's got something organically wrong with his brain, I fear, and needs psychiatric intervention.'

Or he's just playing a joke.

Get that? A novel jaw mechanism in whales is the pinnacle of free will.

Whereas the jaw mechanism in seals is the pinniped of free will.

You have to admit that the figure on page 15 is rather pretty. It could fit in easily among a collection of outsider art.

Careful! Put down that pinniped, and slowly walk away. I have a fully loaded mandible, and I am NOT afraid to use it...

On a more serious note, perhaps he was auditioning for Expelled - Part Deaux - he makes as much sense as Behe and Dembski and Wells.

My favorite part of this post has to be when PZ says, "And then it gets weird."

PZ provided enough evidence of 'batshit crazy' in the first paragraph before he even did the quotes.

But it was funny all the same.

I have seen a physicist explicitly assume a spherical whale for the purposes of a calculation in fluid dynamics.

An infinite-dimensional spherical whale.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

but... but my Dianetics instructor told me psychiatrists are evil!!!

My favorite part of this post has to be when PZ says, "And then it gets weird."

Whenever I read PZ saying "and then it gets weird," I get that feeling of being at the very tippy-top of the roller coaster.

that is the most insane thing i have ever read. Whale anatomy, chirality and cosmological constraint applied to homo sapien culture mathematically? What?

Mr. Natural (#5):

Conference presentations - especially posters - undergo peer review at the conference. Questions after a talk, meeting with the presenter at the poster location, and so forth.

Having three or four people simultaneously go after your poster can be ...ahh...quite the learning experience. DAMHIKT.

fusilier
James 2:24

I second comment #5 - didn't the conference have any reviewers ? If a paper like that had shown up in a session I was chairing, I would have been on the phone immediately with a variety of people to find out if this was a joke or a cry for help. Isn't that part of the job ? Was this a scientific conference ? or did it have a special session for nonsense ?

I think a significant point here is that any idea, no matter how wacky, can be aired at scientific conferences. When ID proponents argue that they are discriminated against by the scientific community, and this limits their ability to air their own version of nonsense, they fail to acknowledge that many societies (e.g., the SSE) allow almost anyone to present as long as you have a sensible paper/poster title. Being allowed to present doesn't guarantee that the presentation will be taken seriously (that depends on the actual content) but does mean that ID proponents have the opportunity to present at real scientific meetings, should they choose to do so, contrary to their own arguments regarding discrimination.

I don't understand the background here. I have to say it sounds alot like a spoof to exploit the weakeness of the system. How is it that noone saw this ahead of time? I assumed most posters were at least minimally peer reviewed. I would guess your average english undergrad could spot the craziness in this one.

On the other hand it does sound alot like "A Beautiful Mind" so mabye there is something to the schizophrenia idea. If so, I hope he gets help.

I can't know, but although might need 'psychiatric intervention' he might also need a good tumor surgeon.

One of my favorite moments of crazy from the article:

"...the specialized trapeziometacarpal, or "saddle" joint of the hominid thumb4"...

And footnote four reads "which without doubt enabled the unsurpassed Ekbody of the astronaut". So the thumb not only is responsible for the invasion of Iraq, but also the kinetic energy of astronauts.

I'd give it 7/8 on the Time Cube scale.

I wonder what caused his mind to turn to mush?

#11: agreed. The figures on pages 6 and 10 are pretty too. I'm considering framing them as a piece of abstract art.

Negation of NAZI THEORY ?... all sponsored by NATO ?
Thats seriously freaks the hell out.

I learned something new today, peer review its just
a myth... reviewers just throw dice in order to accept
papers, and EVIDENTLY their malevolence has roots
in the whale craniomandibular articulation.

Maybe i should write a paper on the cause-effect
relationship between bacon and global warming.

By Lord Zero (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Lambertsen = Crysis @ 320X400, 16 colors and three frames per week. There are already Homo militarensis (fools), opencarry.org that want to change gun carry laws to enable them to carry their pistols like Willie's "Pancho" for all the world to see instead of concealed.

I call Sokal.

Wait --- the paper tells us that

This research arose on account of a fellowship awarded by the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society, Division of Scientific Affairs, North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

NATO? I'm reminded of the song that goes "military intelligence, two words combined that can't make sense"?

I have to wonder the same thing as the others. Even a conference poster has some minimal standards to satisfy, and I don't see how it could have passed it. Unless the whole thing is a practical joke, and the reviewers are in on it. Maybe there was a tiny note only for the reviewers that it's a spoof submission.

Aero: umm... what?

Are you trying to demonstrate you can come up with a bigger bag of non-sequitur lunacy than Lambertsen?

Scary stuff.

People -- peer review is not a unitary concept with only one possible mechanism of review. We have:

1. Journals with editorial pre-review, followed by review by multiple, qualified scientists in the field.

2. Journals with a small staff of editors who review submissions.

3. Journals that send every paper they receive off to qualified scientists for review.

4. Oral presentations at conferences that are selected by a set of reviewers as being worthy of special attention.

5. Poster sessions with some light vetting of submissions on the basis of the abstract.

6. Poster sessions with no review -- you pay your money, you get a 3'x5' piece of white space for a few hours.

7. After hours bull sessions in a local bar.

This meeting clearly has style #6. There's nothing wrong with that. Science is supposed to be open to new ideas, even weird ideas, and the gates in some venues are left wide open. Heck, even a creationist could present at these meetings.

Besides, everyone knows the cool and exciting stuff happens in #7, anyway.

I'm particularly bothered by the part at the end, where it says that this "research" is funded by the NSF. I don't know about you, but this doesn't sound like something the NSF would fund. Either this person's lab is otherwise NSF-funded and are claiming that this is legit research, or they're trying to lend credibility through dropping big names. I'd hate to be one of the acknowledgments in this paper, that would be a stain on a reputation.

Wow this is so bad, and so verrry unscientific.

I just recall of the dolphins of
Hitchnicker Guide to the Galaxy...
"So long and thanks for all the fish"
If Whales are the root of all evil, then
there is in fact a doomsday conspirancy
runnin between all Cetacea ?
Sounds like a new paper for Lambertsen.

By Lord Zero (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Whales in Illuminatus? I remember dolphins but not whales. And Ill. was entertaining; this is just... okay, this is entertaining too.

To #27: We seriously need a way for giving things like this a strict Time Cube rating. I'd say this is around 87.5%. And as to what caused his brain go like this... uh, biology? (capers away cackling a mathematical laugh)

Poster sessions with no review -- you pay your money, you get a 3'x5' piece of white space for a few hours.

Oh, it was one of those posters ...

I'd pay to see this guy in a round-table discussion with Mike Hallet and Gene Ray: a kind of kook-fight. I wonder if each could see the lunacy of the other two, but not himself, like the Three Christs of Ypsilanti?

For a minute there, I thought it was a spoof article, like the ones they have in the BMJ around december. I mean, really, "homo militarensis"? Sadly, it looks real.

and in case you also missed it, he had a pile of CD's of his "work" at the free materials table. Not many were missing at the end of any given day.
My method for dealing with this poster was to just walk right by and not give him my time...

...and I thought my "Bush Derangement Syndrome" was bad!

Let's all hope he gets the help he needs.

Funny, a lot of Illuminatus!/SubGenius references here lately (thanks Gordy Slack). Has anyone besides myself recently unpacked a box of old books?

By Longtime Lurker (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Heavens. Looking at that paper, I feel REALLY sorry for the guy - he's in serious need of treatment.

Heck, even a creationist could present at these meetings.

It's been done.

The next time you hear a creationist boast at how the ICR presented their work on C-14 dating of diamonds at a prestigious geology conference, keep in mind: that was a poster, too. This Lambertsen story tells you exactly how much prestige and credibility that should carry.

Whales in Illuminatus? I remember dolphins but not whales.

Indeed. While dolphins played a decent role, the only real reference to whales that I remember was the whale songs in Telemachus Sneezed that Cork was using to brainwash people subliminally.

As for the paper at hand, I think it's probably closer to 100 mTC. While deluded, it's nowhere near as incomprehensible as a ramblings about four simultaneous 24-hour days, or claiming that the belief that -1 * -1 = +1 is evil and wrong. Getting anywhere near to a full Time Cube is hard, and I think the Made of Crazy guy who posted here a couple of times earlier this year is closer than Lambertsen.

I've listened to a bit of some recordings of Gene Ray talking on a radio station, and I almost started to see what he was talking about. It didn't make any more sense, but at least there was something a bit more coherent to not make sense.

Yay! My email to PZ contributed to the internets! Seriously, I saw this thing and my jaw dropped last night. My first thought was time-cube invasion. But he was very nice, well dressed and spoken. He just started making claims that his results were significant to the 10^-685th and I kind of started shuffling backwards to the next poster.

By ihateaphids (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Blogging about this is in really bad taste. Why destroy this guy in the public square? Just contact his family or employer and get him help. If he wants his condition discussed in public, leave that up to him.

The science of [the author [anyone]]

Uh oh.

"- Um, let's go on to the next poster, shall we? Without any sudden moves."

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Could it be that he was just screwing around and doesn't necessarily believe it? Maybe he was attempting to release this paper as a means of protesting IDers, and other such unqualified assholes from shopping around for a reputable journal to publish their lunacy.

It's really hard to believe that anyone, even a bipolar schizophrenic cetologist with a manic episode and severe paranoia, could ever truly believe this horseshit. We're actually doing a disservice to those with psychiatric disorders by categorizing them in the same breath as Lambersten (unless of course as mentioned earlier, it was a poor attempt at satire). There might have to be an equivalent to Poe's law here regarding ridiculous papers at scientific conferences. Call it the Lambersten law.

By Helioprogenus (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

performance art?
slam poetry?
satire?

getting warmer...

By lithopithecus (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Garrick:

He wanted this discussed in the public circle the minute he stapled all the printed out pages of this lunacy to the poster board registered as # 230 in the program of a top evolution & systematics conference. Oh he also had about 5000 cd's that contained this 'paper' and was handing them out to everyone who would take 'em.
If that's not public, who knows what is???

By ihateaphids (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Aerospace conferences have a "loony track" specifically for these guys. They get to be heard, the real researchers get comic relief if they want it, and everybody goes home happy. Everyone I know who goes to aero conferences has a treasured copy of grainy, super-enhanced UFO photos or lovingly-detailed antigravity generator plans from one of these sessions.

I guess that doesn't happen so much in other fields?

maybe this is the same guy?
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/03/28/national/main504884.shtml
that could explain something since he does say his company is in the business of global security.
if you google the company you get a hit citing the 2001 Intl conference on vertebrate morphology so he must have done this before.
I'm at home, not at work now, so I can't access it...maybe someone who's around can find the abstract?

By molecanthro (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Bizarre and sad - if you google "Lambertsen Hintz" you'll see he's authored and/or co-authored a fair number of perfectly reasonable and apparently well-regarded and widely cited papers about whale morphology and behavior, some published as recently as 2005.

I wonder what happened to him.

MAN. If this is not some fantastic put on, it's gotta be among the most unbearably painful and tragic examples I've ever seen of a mind going completely to pieces.

I hold out a hope that he was just joshing.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Wow, that's some concentrated weird right there.
Note the Acknowledgments, in which, among several others, Steven Gould and Ernst Mayr are thanked. (Those who have read Infinite Jest may also note the acknowledgement of "A DuBois," which kind of explains the whole thing.)

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

We get submissions, papers, posters, abstracts like this at physics meetings ALL THE TIME. And often "over the transom" communications from people clearly delusional. It's a known phenomenon for physicists. The best method for dealing with it is to politely give the poor soul his time (it's never women...) and leave. It is best not to engage these guys. Often people submit the abstract to a conference, but do not show up. And it really is sad that sometimes, you can see that there once was a professional scientist in there, since the paper may be peppered with actual equations or verbiage you recognize. And you hope that the person has some family or co-workers who can steer him into some effective treatment.

By Dr. Pablito (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

I'd always wondered why a blue whale isn't a sitting duck for something like a killer whale to swim up and take a chunk out of it. I looked it up, and it turns out that, despite their lumbering appearance, blue whales are really, really fast. I still haven't figured out manatees though. My current explanation is that God creates some sort of manatee force field that protects them from predators (For some reason, it doesn't work on propellers). I think God must have toyed with making manatee's his chosen people before he settled on the Israelites.

It's a wind-up, surely PZ?

I'd always wondered why a blue whale isn't a sitting duck for something like a killer whale to swim up and take a chunk out of it. I looked it up, and it turns out that, despite their lumbering appearance, blue whales are really, really fast. I still haven't figured out manatees though. My current explanation is that God creates some sort of manatee force field that protects them from predators (For some reason, it doesn't work on propellers). I think God must have toyed with making manatee's his chosen people before he settled on the Israelites.

I'd read that Orcas do in fact prey on Blue Whales, often in the manner you describe. However, I can't seem to find any good sources on this.

Hey Longtime #46

a lot of Illuminatus!/SubGenius references here lately (thanks Gordy Slack). Has anyone besides myself recently unpacked a box of old books?

I'm thinking of re-buying the Trilogy from Wilson's website, he sort of died impoverished and the widow is struggling.

Other news relevant to the tone of Paryngula: Rachael Bevilaqua, a longtime Subgenius lost custody of her CHILD in New York State because a crazy Christian Judge took the CotSB seriously after being shown photos from X Day which included a mock Crucifixtion. Jesus was being crucified on a large dollar sign while being whipped with jumbo latex dildos.

The case is STILL going on. I had Stang on the air last year to talk about this: Stang on KPFT w/ scooter

uneditted interview

Stang on WBAI, Fair Time for Free Thought

That's sad, considering the judge probably goes to a church every weekend full of crucifixions, and actually believes in his heart of hearts that it happened, and that it was a good thing, and even beautiful. He calls it the Passion, and worships it, where we just see unneccessary death.

To me this paper reads like it was computer generated similar to SCIgen - An Automatic CS Paper Generator (http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/) the whole point of which was to show what low standards many computer related conferences had. They had one of their fake papers, a somewhat coherent collection of random computer science words and phrases, accepted for presentation at a conference.

Reads to me like someone might have created a "BIOgen" except for the crazy paranoia stuff at the end.

WOW, PZ has understated the lunacy in this paper.

This is a fairly classic representation of thinking loosely categorized as schizophrenia. Making significant connections between totally unrelated events or conditions, that is the engine that drives paranoia.

from the paper:

Prediction on Cosmological Constraint (on Greed)with Respect to Diameter of Earth at Sea Level

WOW!!!

He uses OHMs law to calculate calving intervals

This guy is either a textbook schizophrenic, or a really devoted class act prankster on the level of Andy Kaufman.

I suspect the former, and I hope he has some family looking out for him. One thing he has going for him is that these disorders often simply burn out at old age, which was the actual resolution of the story told in A Beautiful Mind.

It's also well illustrated in a Beautiful Mind.

RE: #15

I hope the guys at SeaWorld get one of those.

By BobbyEarle (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

If this is the same guy who made the plane incident, and thus not a prankster, he easily reaches 0.85 Tc, and remember that the scale is logarithmic. I haven't read the "paper", though, so perhaps I'm off by a factor of 5 (0.8 to 0.9 Tc).

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

"It's a wind-up, surely PZ?"

Why on earth would a guy with a credible background in science spend the money to travel to a conference in his field in order to put up a bunch of crazy nonsense that makes him look like a fool, unless he actually believes it, because he's suffering some kind of mental breakdown?

It's odd that there's such resistance among commenters here to the insanity hypothesis, in this case and in others. It's weird, it's like you're in denial.

I like this:

The bizarre humpback whale is the most
requently sighted baleen whale in near shore
waters. It carries weapons on the knobs of
flippers and under its chin.

I'm picturing a humpback with gatling guns mounted on its chin.

Surely no-one could be that crazy. What evidence is there that it isn't a joke? If it is a joke, it's a pretty hilarious one. (I especially love the part about curved spacetime.)

" What evidence is there that it isn't a joke?"

a) damage to his career or reputation
b) expense of traveling from Pennsylvania to Minnesota for the conference

I might accept that it's a joke if his name weren't on plenty of valid-looking scientific papers, which suggests that he is, or was, a scientist.

Why are you so resistant to accepting the fact that some people are nuts, and some of them used to be scientists?

Assuming that PZ is right about the insanity and serious about thinking the guy needs professional help, I have to wonder if this is a constructive way of going about trying to achieve that. Wouldn't it be better to discuss the case on the blog sans names and to personally contact the man's university colleagues (assuming he has an affiliation)? What does putting his name up on the blog achieve?

I believe this Lambertson may be the son of Christian J. Lambertsen, inventor of a WW2-era rebreather for frogmen. He is the Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Was it really the same person who put out more credible papers in the past, or is it a case of ID theft?"

Good, lord, William of Ockham is doing somersaults in his grave.

There is another possibility, Professor Lambertson might be suffering from vitamin B complex deficiency. The behavior described resembles that exhibited by those with vitamin B complex deficiency.

I do hope he gets the help he needs.

I'm going to side with people claiming this was a Sokal-esque attempt to keep you guys honest. Since it wasn't taken seriously, it shows that there are a lot of healthy bullshitomers.

Haven't read the paper, but on thought occurs to me -military men + thumbs + buttons for the pushing of... ? Just thinkin'...

PZ, PZ, PZ. (Shakes head sadly.) You don't know psychiatry. Tom Cruise knows psychiatry.

You're glib.

I'm telling you, this was not a joke. This guy was 100% serious. Or if it was a joke, it was like nothing I've ever seen.

By ihateaphids (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Oh and yes, it was the same guy who was removed from the airplane. Definitely the same guy.

By ihateaphids (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

It's a sad thing when reputable scientists descend into crankery.

---
This is just sad. Lambertsen actually does have some scientific qualifications, and has published respectable papers on baleen whales, and you can see buried in this one a foundation of serious work on whale anatomy and physiology. He clearly needs psychiatric help now, though.

And please, I hope somebody gets Lambertsen the help he needs. He isn't an evil man or a stupid man -- he's got something organically wrong with his brain, I fear, and needs psychiatric intervention.
---

Gee, do ya THINK?

Why the hell do you keep doing this PZ? Why mock the mentally ill? It's as classy as posting picture of some spastics to laugh at. Oh the fricking HILARITY!

This guy has a family. He was once a promising, intelligent guy, with hopes, a career, a life. Now he is lost, probably forever. I would have thought that, for most of the kind of people who read this blog, such a loss of mind represented your greatest fear. He should be deserving of our pity, not this contemptible freakshow.

and before apologist comes along to say that this is a serious point about stuff that gets through at conferences, tell me this couldn't be done without the guy's name, or the arch comments about how silly it all is. No shit it's silly - the guy is mentall ill, you arse.

I like this blog, but this stuff really gets my goat.

You're a sensitive soul, eh Magpie?

Doesn't bother me a bit.

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Jun 2008 #permalink

This is *really* sad. I agree with #51 and #90, this is NOT the sort of thing you laugh about in a public forum.

Shame on you.

Magpie, he's asking for people to get him help. Not pointing it out would be like walking past a guy bleeding on the street and not calling for an ambulance.

Touchy subject I see. Psychiatric disorders is a sad fact of life. Commenting on the fact and joking about it doesn't make you callous, on the contrary it shows engagement, and it is understandable as a human trait as much as the disorder.

As regards identifying the individual there may have been specific reasons. In the culture I live in you tend not to do that for obvious general reasons. But that's what is done here.

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 25 Jun 2008 #permalink

Magpie #90 wrote:

Why the hell do you keep doing this PZ? Why mock the mentally ill?

It didn't strike me that way.

Sometimes it is hard for us to tell the difference between a garden-variety crackpot and someone who is genuinely mentally ill. So I didn't see PZ's post as an attempt at humor at all. On the contrary, it was a reminder that not all pseudoscientists should be mocked.

And here is his example of when the line crosses, and what kinds of things one might look for. And in this particular case, the anti-war ideology which drove his madness is one many of us may be sympathetic to. Doesn't matter, and not the point.

Anyone who analyzes and 'debunks' pseudoscience needs to be able to tell the difference between thinking gone wrong, and thinking gone completely haywire. You can't waste your time on the latter, it's in a completely different category, however thin and ambiguous the dividing line. I think this example of "word salad, with math" was probably useful to some of us. Freak shows are only for gaping, they don't educate.

Looks like schizophrenia to me. We used to have an old, retired professor in my university who would deliver papers to bystanders in the faculty in which he ranted about really anything that came to his mind. The style was not really different from this Lambetsten's style.

Thoughts about persecution, the virgin Mary, how two students with links to the Mossad helped him lose his tenure (he was removed because of his psychiatric condition), how his neighbours tried to poison his beans with radiation, and so on.

He was a professor of cognitive psychology. Schizophrenia can happen to a lot of different people.

"This is then confirmed by Bush's invasion of Iraq.

When I first read that I thought Myers was joking. This is more sad than funny. Now the guy who posted a 150+ page comment on this blog with such memorable phrases as "THE GODS ARE ASEXUAL. THEY HAVE NO SEX ORGANS NOR RECTUM", now that was funny.

Also, is it strange that postmodern literature and Schizophrenic rants sound so similiar? Is there some kind Poe's law equivalent to that?

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 25 Jun 2008 #permalink

From the OP:

---
Word Salad

It's garbage from the first page, I'm afraid...

...many pages of oddball math in which the author cites Einstein, Feynman, and himself quite often.

And then it gets weird. ... Get that? ... And then it gets weirder.
---

Gee, that guy SURE is nutty.

Check out ,b>my blog, where I point out a spastic's inability to walk. What did he think he was doing, getting out of his wheelchair like that? His wacky limbs can't maintain his balance, his motor control is garbage! He keeps falling on his face. It's really pathetic - and look, he's doing it at the Olympic games! Jeez, they'll let anyone in here now days. Someone help him!

Then look at the comment thread here! Oh, "his mind is mush"! Let's have a "kook-fight"! It's so "funny"! Strange PZ, if you weren't laughing, how many of the commenters thought you were. Strange that you didn't ask them to stop and respect the man's illness. But no, you weren't laughing, and this post wasn't meant to entertain people at the expense of a wrecked life. Your post was a selfless public service announcement. /rolleyes

Seriously, if you're going to deconstruct nuttiness, there is an essentially infinite supply online. You could dedicate whole sites to it - and some do. But what's the point? Unless it's something that is likely to be taken seriously by more than one human on earth, then just let it be. Leave people whatever dignity they have left. Poking fun at them is neither useful nor edifying.

"Who's laughing?" Christ man, you are allowed to admit you're wrong some times (and I cheerfully agree that you're right most of the time). You don't have to blatantly dissemble over this post's purpose - this post was primarily for the entertainment of your readers. It wasn't a public service announcement - you had no reason to use the man's name, and no reason to make such disparaging comments about the product of a person's illness. It's not a good look.

Rev BDC: Not pointing it out would be like walking past a guy bleeding on the street and not calling for an ambulance.

No, it's more like pointing out to the gathered crowd how that poor silly bugger can't keep his blood in, criticising him for the mess he's made, before opining that "someone" should help and wandering off. Or did PZ actually contact psychiatric services or the man's family to make sure the guy is ok? Tell me he did.

You're being unfair on PZ, as he didn't do anything to encourage ridicule of Lambertsen. Quite the opposite, actually. Personally, I'm glad PZ did post it, as it's a very interesting and enlightening (albeit sad) story.

You can hardly blame commenters for laughing. Lambertsen's paper undoubtedly has comical elements. If the man ever recovers, it would take a deeply illiberal person to judge him on something he wrote when he was out of his senses.

That said, I think it would have been better to leave Lambertsen's name out.

Do the math.

By Richard Lambertsen (not verified) on 27 Jun 2008 #permalink

Retract: Do the math.

Replace with:

Do you now not believe in God, or not believe in evolution?

By Lambertsen (not verified) on 27 Jun 2008 #permalink

You call this a science blog?

By Lambertsen (not verified) on 27 Jun 2008 #permalink

Suffering from a conflict of interest, perhaps?

By Lambertsen (not verified) on 27 Jun 2008 #permalink

Have you done the math, Mr. Myers?

By Lambertsen (not verified) on 27 Jun 2008 #permalink

@ #62: "I still haven't figured out manatees though. My current explanation is that God creates some sort of manatee force field that protects them from predators..."

Is it just me, or is the phrase "manatee force field" possibly the greatest band name ever?

It cn knck dwn yr ffln mrktng csts t f y gt t dn dcnt. Dtctng smbdy wh nt nly ds SEO bt ds th cntnt crtn nd dstrbtn fr y s wll s kywrd rsrch, pdtng cntnt n yr ntrnt st nd blg, hvng prfssnly pblshd rlss t sft prcs s bsrvd bv s wht sts mny smll bsnss pssssrs nd yt thr r nmrs wh try t d t thmslvs, thy gt stck s thy dnt hv th knwldg r th tchncl sklls t d t qckly nd thy ly ff. Thnk y fr ths rtcl! I'v jst rtrvd wtht dbt srprsng st bt Exmn t!

By Maynard Fleurant (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink