A Taxonomy of Crackpot Ideas

Some time ago, when the anti-science, anti-evolution, religious literalist movie “Expelled” was making the rounds, it occurred to me that a strict 6-day, young-earth creationist idea of the world requires a particular confluence of perceptual filters in order to exist. There has to be an unquestioned acceptance of literalist religious dogma, a profound ignorance of some of the basic tenets of science, and a willingness to believe in a vast, orchestrated conspiracy on the part of all the world’s geologists, biologists, archaeologists, geneticists, and anthropologists in order for this notion to seem reasonable.

I’ve been chewing on that thought for a while, and looking at the perceptive filters that have to be in place to accept any number of implausible ideas, from moon hoaxers to lizard people conspiracy theories to anti-vaccinationism.

And, since making charts is something I do, I plotted some of these ideas in a Venn diagram that shows an overlapping set of prerequisites for a number of different flavors of nuttiness.

As usual, you can click on the image for an embiggened version.

Hey, folks in and around the Portland, OR area!

Christopher Ryan, the author of the awesome book Sex at Dawn, will be giving a lecture and a Q&A session in Portland on Wednesday, November 2, at the Bagdad Theater in Portland.

This is an awesome opportunity to meet the author of what’s arguably one of the most important books on human sexuality in the last twenty years. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a meticulously-researched (and very fun) treatise on human sexuality going back to the very beginning of the human species. It’s full of surprising information (did you know that swinging first became popular in the United States among WWII fighter pilots?) and demonstrates how human sexual behavior is very unusual for other animals (a lot of folks like to say that frequent recreational sex is “animalistic,” but nominally monogamous animal species rarely have sex, and generally only when the female is fertile).

The book looks at human sexual behavior throughout time and across cultures,and along the way manages to piss off a lot of social conservatives, who have, the authors argue, a completely mistaken notion of what human sexual behavior is and how it works.

If this sounds like oyur cup of tea, you can get tickets here…but be aware that this book tour has consistently sold out everywhere Mr. Ryan has spoken.