Amazon.com: more junk-science than science?

December 27, 2005

(This article was originally posted on blogger.com on Aug 29, 2005)

As described earlier in Lubos’ blog, Anthony Kirmis’ 1-star review of the crackpot book The Final Theory (by Mark McCutcheon) did not survive for much more than one week. As of today, there are 34 reviews of the book, with an amazing 5-star average. I commented on this book earlier here. Basically, the book claims to describe the “final” theory of everything, ignoring – for example – the existence of gravity and using only simple elementary-school arithmetic. Did McCutcheon himself ask amazon.com to delete the bad reviews? Did amazon.com delete the bad reviews since they feared that the book would not sell good enough?

I think it is most likely, that McCutcheon arranged for the 1-star reviews to be deleted (but of course, he had to ask amazon.com to do it). As an example of the contrary, Steven Weinberg’s excellent book “Dreams of a Final Theory” has received 9 reviews with a 4-star average (and this guy really knows what he is talking about) and Brian Greene’s famous books “The Elegant Universe” and “The Fabric of the Cosmos” received 425 and 117 reviews respectively, both with a 4.5-star average – and some of the reviews of these books are only 1-star reviews and have survived for much more than one week.