Thinking "outside of the box"

A Photon in the Darkness has an excellent piece on the difference between "thinking outside the box" and "going around the bend" (although I would have phrased it as "going off the deep end"). I particularly like the part where he points out that even Nobel Laureates are not immune to going off the deep end when they wander outside of their field of expertise, with this warning:
Those things [Nobel Prizes] should come with warning labels: "CAUTION! DOES NOT GRANT SUPERHUMAN MENTAL POWERS!"
As I've always said, it's good to have an "open mind" in science. That's how nearly all the major advances come about, from scientists with open minds and a willingness to work very hard on their ideas using rigorous scientific method. But you really do have to make sure your mind is not so open that your brains fall out. You do have to keep in mind what is and is not likely--or even possible.


  1. Can we have a PhD zombie or a Nobel prize winner zombie that occasionally eats the brains of those sorts of people?

    Poor what's his name the guy that Prometheus mentioned, the zombie was right there ready to slurp out his cranium wasn't he?

    I don't know what its name would be if there was such a thing...

  2. I'm proposing the following terms for the type of unreason that comes over some people after receiving their PhD (or MD) or a Nobel Prize (including the Peace Prize).

    [1] "Post-doctoral encephalopathy" for cases that occur after receiving a doctoral-level degree PhD or MD - JD, DDiv and others may also be risk factors)

    [2] "Nobel Encephalopathy" - for cases following the receipt of a Nobel Prize


  3. Uh-oh. I guess I'm at double risk for #1, having gotten an MD and a PhD...

  4. We might want to consider "EnNobelopathy" as a more fluid contraction of the above from Prometheus.

    I don't think you need to get a Nobel or have an advanced degree to join the masses of those who have their own solutions to "fixing what's wrong with healthcare." Typically, they are unburdened of any inside knowledge of how medicine is practiced or how healthcare facilities are run.

    The basic problem with healthcare starts with the fact that people (and governments and businesses) want the absolute best but don't want to pay for it.


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