User:Tim Starling/List of crackpot theories

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This is a list of crackpot or pseudoscientific theories. It also contains some historical scientific theories which were discredited and abandoned, then adopted by crackpots and mangled beyond recognition.

It is based on List of alternative, speculative and disputed theories, many people contributed to it at that location. See /History for the preserved article history. I copied it to my user space and modified its POV, in the hopes that it might regain its usefulness as a watchlist, and as a list of curious and amusing crackpottery. It only contains theories which have a Wikipedia article.

You may edit this list as long as you conform to the POV of the establishment.


See also Medicine below.
  • Superficial anatomy researches forms and proportions of the human body and the surface landmarks which correspond to deeper structures hidden from view.
  • Biophotons, a postulated communication mechanism of cells by the means of light, sometimes claimed to be the scientific substrate of Qi.
  • Vitalism, theories claiming that understanding of the living matter should be radically different from that of non-living matter, e.g. biodynamic agriculture.
  • Odic force a theory that all life is permeated and bound together by a vital property.
  • Morphogenetic fields as proposed by Rupert Sheldrake supposedly cause living things to grow or behave in patterns laid down by similar previous living things. Not to be confused with morphogenetic field in developmental biology.
  • Biological transmutation, see Corentin Louis Kervran, the hypothesis that organisms can convert chemical elements, e.g. copper to iron.
  • Chiromancy, also known as palm-reading, asserts that predictions can be made from examining the appearance of a person's hands.


  • The Catastrophism theory is that Earth has been affected by sudden, short-lived, violent events that were sometimes worldwide in scope.
  • The Hollow Earth theory claims that the Earth is hollow, and its inside is possibly populated by a race of superbeings, humans or aliens, and possibly dinosaurs.
  • Ley lines are alignments of a number of places of geographical interest, such as ancient megaliths.
  • The Flat Earth theory is the idea that Earth is flat, as opposed to the view of modern science that Earth is very nearly spherical.
  • Flood geology is creation science's answer to geologic fact.


  • Acupuncture, in the traditional sense, is the practice of inserting very thin needles in particular points on the body to redirect qi thereby improving health and well-being. This is one component of traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Applied kinesiology is a method of diagnosing malfunctioning organs and what the effect of substances on the body is or would be by testing whether certain muscles are weakened or not.
  • The Bates Method of vision improvement, based on a theory of how the eye accommodates which is not accepted by mainstream ophthalmology or biology.
  • Biorhythm theory researches patterns of alterations in physiology, emotions, and intellect.
  • Some Chiropractic theories that ascribe ailments unrelated to the spine to spinal maladjustments.
  • Crystal power theory states that crystals have alleged healing and mystical paranormal powers.
  • The Duesberg hypothesis claims that recreational and pharmaceutical drug use, rather than HIV, is the primary cause of AIDS. See also AIDS reappraisal.
  • Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine involving the use of highly diluted substances with similar (i. e. homeo-) characteristics to the condition being treated. In many cases not a single molecule of the substance remains in the diluted solution.
  • Iridology theory that diagnoses the health of a person by examining the pattern of the Iris of the eye.
  • Magnet therapy is an alternative medicine based on the concept that certain medical disorders can be effectively treated by exposure to magnetic fields.
  • Psychic surgery is a type of apparent surgery performed by the healer with bare hands or unorthodox instruments.
  • Trepanation is the act of drilling a hole in one's head to release built-up pressure and move the person to a higher plane of consciousness.


  • Autodynamics (AD) is a theory proposed as a replacement for special relativity, which is claimed to have been based on erroneous assumptions.
  • Creationist cosmologies are offered by Young Earth Creationists as alternative ideas about cosmology to allow for a universe that is only thousands of years old.
  • Hidden variable theory is urged by a minority of physicists who argue that the statistical nature of quantum mechanics implies that it is really applicable only to ensembles of particles.
  • Hydrino theory proposes the hydrino, or miniature hydrogen atom with the electron pushed closer than usual to the nucleus.
  • Kirlian photography is high-voltage contact print photography. Its existence is not disputed, however the paranormal interpretations of some images thus produced are.
  • Luminiferous aether was the classical medium for the propagation of light, but after the early 20th century was seen as discredited by the mainstream physics community.
  • Modern geocentrism, citing uniform gamma ray bursts distribution as evidence that we are at the center of the universe, and other ideas of this liking.
  • Wilhelm Reich's Orgone energy is an unproven form of energy.
  • Perpetual motion machines are a class of hypothetical machines which can create more energy than the amount which is put into it, violating the conservation of energy. These should not be confused with energy processes which use various forms of latent energy (such as nuclear fission) and may to an untrained eye appear to be energy from "nowhere."
  • Plasma cosmology is a sub-set of plasma physics which attempts to explain large scale structure in the universe.
  • Polywater is a supposed polymerized form of water.
  • Steady state theory, originally a viable alternative standard cosmological model in competition with the Big Bang model; but now disproved by the weight of evidence. It involves a continuous creation of new matter as the universe expands, so that that the macroscopic properties of density and temperature remain the same over time; a steady state of expansion with no need for an origin in time.
  • Synchronicity refers to the alignment of forces in the universe to create an event or circumstance.
  • Time Cube, the idea that we live 4 actual days for every 1 perceived day, a fact not apparent to us because of a vast academic conspiracy.
  • Welteislehre is the theory developed by Hanns Hörbiger in the early 20th century. It states that the universe is based on a constant struggle between ice and fire.


  • Characterology method of character reading developed in the 1920's.
  • Engrams, a phenomenon claimed by Dianetics (see Scientology), are neurons patterns connected through activation at the same time.
  • Graphology is the study of handwriting and its connection to behavior, personal information and other human traits.
  • Parapsychology is the branch of science concerned with the study of mental phenomena, whether actual or purported, that are not currently explainable within the framework of mainstream, conventional science.
  • Phrenology claims to be able to determine personality traits and criminality on the basis of the shape of the head.
  • Photoreading is "mentally photographing" printed pages.
  • Physiognomy is based upon the belief that the study and judgement of a person's outer appearance, primarily the face, reflects the contents of their personality.


  • Cryptozoology is the study of rumored or mythological animals that are presumed by many to exist, but for which proof does not yet exist.
  • Pseudoarchaeology refers to the ideologically-driven, usually sensational interpretation of the past outside of a critical, scientific framework. Pseudoarchaeology also includes forms of protosciences.
  • Ufology is the term describing the study of the UFO (unidentified flying object) phenomena, including claims that some UFOs are extraterrestrial vehicles manned by aliens.
  • Vril - A worldview involving Nazi mysticism, and an interpretation of Ufology relating to a Hollow earth and subterranean Nazi-friendly super beings, rather than "space" aliens.


  • Facilitated communication is alternative means of expression for people who cannot speak, or whose speech is highly limited (e.g. echoed, limited to one or a few word utterances), and who cannot point reliably.
  • Bible codes research states that the future can be predicted by examining statistics of the Biblical text in various skips.
  • Laws of Form, to the extent that it is claimed to be anything more than an unorthodox presentation of propositional logic
  • Materialization creation of matter from nowhere and out of nothing by somebody's will power or concentration.
  • New Chronology consists of various competing theories which claim that currently accepted chronology presents a history that lasts either much longer or much shorter than it should (e.g., that Jesus was born around 1000 years ago or that he was the pharaoh Akhenaten).

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