I guess I wasn't very clear, since I was trying to say something similar to what you just said here, thanks for paraphrasing me more clearly. I guess the only part where I have a slightly different view is that crackpot ideas, even those that won't be vindicated by history, can contain some small spark of an idea that may ignite some other idea which will be vindicated. Science fiction is useful for sparking ideas even when it doesn't directly contribute to science. When someone tells me that Basque must be the oldest human language because the last known Neanderthals lived in the Iberian penninsula, I can imagine a nice science fiction story which would make the statement true even if on a different level I know that the statement is a series of weak or impossible links in a chain of improbable assumptions on a subject that is a magnet for quacks.

In reply to Re^3: What do you know, and how do you know that you know it? by jZed
in thread What do you know, and how do you know that you know it? by tilly

Use:  <p> text here (a paragraph) </p>
and:  <code> code here </code>
to format your post; it's "PerlMonks-approved HTML":

  • Posts are HTML formatted. Put <p> </p> tags around your paragraphs. Put <code> </code> tags around your code and data!
  • Titles consisting of a single word are discouraged, and in most cases are disallowed outright.
  • Read Where should I post X? if you're not absolutely sure you're posting in the right place.
  • Please read these before you post! —
  • Posts may use any of the Perl Monks Approved HTML tags:
    a, abbr, b, big, blockquote, br, caption, center, col, colgroup, dd, del, div, dl, dt, em, font, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, hr, i, ins, li, ol, p, pre, readmore, small, span, spoiler, strike, strong, sub, sup, table, tbody, td, tfoot, th, thead, tr, tt, u, ul, wbr
  • You may need to use entities for some characters, as follows. (Exception: Within code tags, you can put the characters literally.)
            For:     Use:
    & &amp;
    < &lt;
    > &gt;
    [ &#91;
    ] &#93;
  • Link using PerlMonks shortcuts! What shortcuts can I use for linking?
  • See Writeup Formatting Tips and other pages linked from there for more info.