Notice I say "let me decide", not let you decide. I can't worry too much about other people thinking I'm a crackpot. And honestly, I don't worry too much about it either. I have some idea what I am, and I'm OK with it. It's really more of a theoretical question for me: how would I know if I was or I wasn't?
I definitely have show some of the characteristics of crackpottery. I rant about my real or imaginary enemies out there. I've been kicked out of places where respectable people go. And I claim to have a "paradigm-shifting" new point of view that will change the way we think about quantum mechanics. Last but not least, I publish my physics discoveries in a blog. Those are not good signs.
On the other hand, I've been blogging for just over two years now, which means I've got a pretty good paper trail behind me. If I'm crazy, it should be pretty easy to tell by reading my old posts. Let's see what we have.
First, there are my rants about my real or imagined enemies. It's true that I take a couple of potshots at some of my discussion group nemeses like ZapperZ from physicsforums, and I got a little personal when critiquing Scully's argument on the photoelectric effect. But in close to 100 blogposts, that's about it. I think I'm about 2 on a scale of ten when it comes to personal vendettas.
Then there's the business of getting kicked out of places. If you read every single post over the last two years you will know that I was:
- charged with assaulting a police officer while picketing a former employer
- banned for life from the University of Manitoba for teaching physics during a professor's strike
- banned for life from physicsforums.com for indeterminate reasons
- expelled from the Teacher Certification program at the University of Winnipeg
No, as far as being a crackpot the most disturbing indicator is my claim to have come up with an original explanation for the collapse of the wave function that will change our way of looking at the universe. That's the kind of thing that crackpots say. What makes me think I'm different?
That's a tough one. Quantum Siphoning, as I call it, is a pretty good theory if you ask me. I came up with it about a month after I first started blogging, and I've brought it up maybe three or four times over the last two years. As far as I'm concerned, it's out there waiting to be noticed, and if it happens it happens. Meanwhile, I keep doing physics. It's worth noting that when I submitted my essay to that contest at FQXI last year, "There are No Pea-Shooters for Photons", I didn't mention anything about quantum siphoning. I think a true quack would probably have played it up, but I didn't.
The thing about all these things is that none of them really characterize what this blog has been all about. I couldn't have really put my finger on it until just this week when I started thinking about it, but today I went over all my old posts and it's true: my blog is really about the physics, and my real "comfort zone" seems to be right on the edge, where I'm putting myself on the line. Last week I did a couple of posts first-year university topics, like explaining the Helmholtz Resonator, but that's really not typical for me. It's too safe. I generally don't do topics where I'm not sticking my neck out to some degree.
I take chances, and sometimes I get it wrong. More often I get it right, but sometimes I get it wrong. If I get it wrong it's because I stick my neck out by putting numbers and graphs down to back up my conclusions. Sometimes the calculations are a little sketchy, sometimes I'm lucky to get within an order of magnitude, but in every case the physics are laid out and the numbers are there. Real crackpots don't do that.