Quotation by Carl Pfluger

Cranks, in defending their mental constructs (and here, curiously, may be their closest approach to psycho-pathology and to serious scholarship), can be formidable logicians, if not exactly sound reasoners. Most cranks, in fact, see themselves as free-lance scientists, scholars, or investigators of mechanical problems, assassination conspiracies, the origins of poetry, the destiny of the universe, the meaning of life, the nature of crankery, the fate of man, or the will of God. They share with more orthodox scholars both a professional curiosity and a possessive attitude toward whatever domain of knowledge they have chosen to make their province. They differ from them most critically in the soundness of their critical faculties. But is this difference really as great, as intrinsic to their personalities, as it first appears? Perhaps professional academics have no greater sense of limit, of proportion, and of really critical intelligence; it may be only the overwhelming weight of that institutional discipline that keeps the minds of scientists and scholars safely within the straight (and narrow) paths of academic orthodoxy.
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