Episode II: Revenge of the Crackpot
A while ago, I wrote about our dear Gabor Fekete, the resolute crackpot who has been spamming physicists’ in-boxes with his theories for a while now. His English borders on the incomprehensible at times, and whatever logic there may be in his theories is impenetrable (despite his claim that his writings “are very simple and very well intelligible for all physicists on all areas of the physical sciences.”)
However, it is not his crackpot theories that interest me. That Mr. Fekete has had no scientific training and that his ideas don’t seem to be founded on anything solid is clear enough, and I don’t feel guilty for dismissing his ideas without trying to understand them. I’m afraid clear communication is a necessity, no matter how brilliant your ideas are.
What interests me is the psychology of the crackpot. I already devoted some thought to this in my previous post, where I also delved into the historical context of the phenomenon. Since then, I’ve seen some trickles of communication by Mr. Fekete, mostly trying to promote his papers on viXra.org. He also decided to send a fake e-mail using the address of an Oxford researcher who supposedly endorsed his work.
Today I, as probably the entire physics communicty did, received another e-mail from Gabor with the uplifting subject line: I don’t send more physics papers to Dr. Tompitak. I thought: here we go, he’s giving up! Or perhaps he read my blog (that would be a dream come true) and he’s angry with me, and doesn’t think I deserve to read his work anymore! In any case, I figured there might be an end to the saga. Of course, I should have known better.
The content of the message had little to do with the subject. Mr. Fekete kindly informed me that he had kept track of me reading his papers. He was so attentive to record the exact date and time, and even my IP addresses. What he wants with them? Nothing good, no doubt. It turns out I opened his files eleven times over the course of six months – which is probably more credit than they merit. He also admits that the e-mail he sent out from the Oxford address was fake:
This was a spoofing from my part that you seriously care with my papers.
So he blatantly admits that he sent this fake message to lend himself some credibility. Not that we didn’t guess, but this confession seems to me like shooting himself in the foot. Gabor Fekete works in mysterious ways.
But why has Mr. Fekete deigned to contact us again? It turns out he doesn’t have any new scientific contributions this time. Instead, he is opening an offensive on the scientific establishment. I think it’s best to just let him speak for himself:
Welcome dear Marco Tompitak,
Since 29.06.2014 you further continued your modern “physics” pseudo-science, your pseudo-scientific researches, experiments and other activities, did nothing against this pseudo-science and for a truth and a real physics science, therefore you caused damage to your state’s national economy and you stealed (sic) money from the taxpayers, because you taken up your payment undeservedly and illegaly (sic) from your university or research institute, thus you committed the CRIME of FRAUD and SWINDLE.
Those are fighting words if I ever heard any! They’re a little incongruent with his addressing me as “dear Marco”, don’t you think? Here I was being lulled into a false sense of security, only to be slapped with such hurtful words!
So, I’m a criminal now. Apparently, no one took much notice of his theories, nor of his supposedly exposing the Higgs boson discovery as a huge fraud, and Gabor’s feelings are hurt. He has decided that all of science is an evil conspiracy. Don’t we see an interesting parallel here with the story of James Smith, Esquire?
However, Mr. Fekete has not only branded all of mainstream science as a swindle, he has also decided that he is the chosen one to tear it all down. He informs us that he has a database of all the scientists who read his papers. Since none of them mended their wicked ways and are still doing their pernicious brand of science, he has now published this database online, and he plans to hand it over to the FBI. No, you heard that right. The FBI. He urges us to turn ourselves in to the relevant authorities, even adding an animated image to stress his point.
Don’t live in the US? Gabor has you covered, because he is certain the FBI will alert the local authorities.
What the authorities are supposed to do with his database is beyond me. Will FBI agents read Mr. Fekete’s work and have an epiphany, realizing that scientists have been swindling society for the last century?
I can just imagine a SWAT team breaking down my door, firearms drawn, shouting “Freeze, scumbag! This is the science police!” A broad-shouldered, bearded detective with a deep baritone ransacks my calculations while his sexy high-heel-wearing partner eyes me with disgust. Or maybe it’ll be Vincent D’Onofrio who walks in, to break me down psychologically.
“Does it make you angry, to see me touching your work?” He riffles through some of my notes and throws them back on the desk nonchalantly. “Eying what I wasn’t meant to see? Criticizing it? It must infuriate you after all these years of having a scientist’s impunity. But wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said that anger only dwells in the hearts of fools?”
And Mr. Fekete is a tough one. If your university address was added to his database, but you’re not a member of the scientific staff, you can ask to have yourself removed from his database before he sends it to the FBI and you get into a world of trouble. However:
Cannot delist his/her data from the database from the first year student to the Nobel prize physicist from any areas of the physical sciences, chemistry, nano research and astronomy. Delist trying of these people is totally useless!
Even our freshmen have to bear his wrath, it seems. How are those poor students committing fraud? Do they get to cash fat checks from the Science Illuminati too? Wish I’d known about that. And chemists, as well? He’s casting a very wide net. I was under the impression his theories were all on fundamental physics.
While Mr. Fekete’s website held for me then no hope of redemption, I was tempted to have a look anyway. He indeed has a database of all the e-mail addresses from which links to his papers on viXra.org were clicked, neatly sorted by country and US state. You can find it here. What’s most fascinating about his database is that it exposes very clearly just how extensive his effort to spam scientists has been.
Presumably he crawled the web himself to collect e-mail addresses from institution websites. His database shows that he targeted people in at least 84 countries, from Jamaica to Iran, from Canada to Bangladesh. Here in The Netherlands, not the biggest of countries, he spammed employees of at least 15 different universities and research institutes. He did his homework, too: all the independent institutes are indeed more or less ‘relevant’ to his cause.
He set up this page to expose all the people who are perpetuating the evil of the scientific establishment, but inadvertently it has become a striking visual representation of the sheer amount of work Mr. Fekete has put into his misguided endeavor. Oh, Gabor, to what lofty heights will you soar next?
Mr. Fekete urges us all to join him on the “good side” of science. However, much frustration and anger in him I sense. Does he not know that anger is the path to the Dark Side?