With apologies to Martin Gardner. I wanted to start a thread on paradigm-breaking science, because there is a lot of woo floating around the fringes of the Co$ that sucks even Exes into its orbit. A lot of that, I suspect, is because of long subconscious conditioning which leads to the slow peeling of the onion that leaving $cientology for good requires. Those who "know how to know" have a predisposition and / or a habitual tendency to prefer to be in a position of keeping secrets. Of having knowledge that other people don’t have that unlocks some of the mysteries of life. At least, that’s my observation and opinion. Before a person can undo that influence in personal thinking, there must be an understanding of the mechanics of delusion, quackery and crankhood. How do perfectly reasonable people go off the rails? That’s been a subject of my own, personal inquiry since I first learned of Linus Pauling’s descent into quackery – and that pre-dates my fascination with the Co$ by a good decade. There seem to be a few main mechanisms. I will note that the main mechanism for the layman seems to be somewhat different from the main mechanism for the trained technician. Which, I guess, isn’t surprising. I think it might be illustrative to look at two of the most-abused subjects by laymen in the current pseudo-scientific ecosystem: quantum mechanics and epigenetics. JustSheila put me onto this with a question about epigenetics that she asked a few months ago, and I’ve finally gotten around to the beginnings of an answer, but it’s grown into something more philosophical and general in my mind. But I also find that philosophy without concrete examples tends to devolve quickly towards mental masturbation. So in future posts, I’ll look at QM and epigenetics in detail, and from there take a look at how they’re distorted by quacks, cranks and charlatans. I think a series of posts will be better than a wall o-text, though. More, later.