virus: Fwd: The Laws of Cargo Cult Science

Wade T. Smith (
Tue, 14 Oct 97 21:23:45 -0400

Since there has been (chortle, chortle) discussion of astrology =
within these templed walls, as well as admissions of revelations and =
since there have always been a few crystal-rubbers sitting in the =
back pews- here's a little forwarded soup=E7on-


Subject: The Laws of Cargo Cult Science
Sent: 10/14/97 20:41
Received: 10/14/97 21:12
From: Eric Krieg,

The following is by Tom Napier (posted by Eric Krieg):

The Laws of Cargo Cult Science - a Tentative Compilation

You may have encountered a document which has been circulating
amongst engineers and scientists for many years. It lists the
laws of cartoon physics. A typical example, "Any body suspended
in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation."

Since the Laws of Cargo Cult Science seem at times to be
equally divorced from reality, I have started to compile a list.

Additions and improvements are welcome. Tom Napier

The Law of the Conservation of Energy: Energy can be neither
created or destroyed outside the laboratory of a pseudoscientist.

The Special Theory of Relativity: All motion is relative to
the ether. The speed of light can be exceeded by alien
spacecraft. Time dilation makes journeys to other stars very

The General Theory of Relativity: The local gravitational
force is a function of the local level of meditation.

The Inverse Square Law: The intensity of radiated energy
decreases as the inverse square of the distance from the source
except in the case of telepathy and the experiments of Nikola

Kepler's Laws: The orbits of the planets are a function of
what kind of day you are having.

The Laws of Dynamics: The behavior of randomly moving objects
can be controlled by the human mind. The behavior of delicately
balanced static objects cannot be controlled by the human mind.

The Randi Exclusion Principle: Experiments only give positive
results when James Randi is excluded.

The Strong Anthropic Principle: We created the universe.
(This law is its own parody.)

The Fundamental Law of Nature: Nothing is impossible.

Scientific Proof: Scientists are always changing their
theories to match reality. This proves that scientists are always
wrong. Corollary: Only theories which ignore reality can be true.

The Law of Large Numbers: Large numbers of small experiments
demonstrate the existence of psi. Small numbers of large
experiments do not demonstrate the existence of psi.

The Placebo Effect: If a remedy works as well as a placebo,
it should be exploited.

Occam's Toothbrush: If postulating an unnecessary factor
makes your theory sound more profound then go for it.

The New Age Law of Science: The laws of science are whatever
makes you feel good about yourself.

The Politically Correct Law of Science: Scientific laws are
completely arbitrary. They were invented by dead white males in
order to subjugate women and minorities.

Footnote: Cargo Cult Science

A activity bearing a superficial resemblance to real science
but whose equipment, methods and theoretical bases are completely
inadequate to achieve the desired aim.

Analogous to the Cargo Cults of the western Pacific whose
adherents build imitation runways and radar towers in the hope of
attracting the flights of cargo planes which had supplied the
American Forces during the Second World War.