Saturday, May 2, 2015

#1356: Robert W. Bass

Apparently Robert W. Bass enjoys a Ph.D. Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University. Those are credentials that could, apparently, usefully be lent to any kind of pseudoscience to add a fake sheen of respectability. And apparently that’s what Bass uses his degree for. Indeed, Bass used to be a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Brigham Young University, but the days when he would be involved in anything resembling science are apparently long gone.

Currently Bass is a fan of Velikovsky’s egregious bullshit, and involved in the Velikovsky cargo cult producing “research” carried out in the Velikovskian tradition. Bass is even on the staff of Kronos, the infamous journal of all things Velikovsky.

The sorts of dispositions and judgment failures that lead you to Velikovsky are of course excellent crank magnets, so Bass has been observed for instance attending seminars on cold fusion as well. (Here is his own summary for the Infinite Energy Magazine, which is hardly a scientific publication; his summary isn’t … critical, to put it mildly – though when you read sections like the one starting with “one of my life’s greatest regrets”, one wonders whether he is just fooling around). He is also a creationist of sorts; he is a signatory to the Discovery Instititute’s feeble petition A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism, and has called Stephen Meyer’s book The Signature in the Cell the “most important book in two centuries.” It … isn’t, of course, but for people like Bass, with an agenda but no competence, one can perhaps understand why it would seem that way.

Oh, and Bass is also a signatory to Rethinking AIDS, a list of HIV “skeptics”.

Diagnosis: Not the loudest voice of pseudoscience or bullshit on the Internet, Bass’s credentials would nevertheless be used to lend credibility to a range of stupid. As such, his work and legacy cannot be said to be particularly beneficial to the human project.

Ed note: Robert Bass passed away in 2013.

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