Fringe theory is a viewpoint or an idea held by a small group of supporters and includes the theories as well as the models of fringe science together with identical ideas in different areas of scholarship like humanities. It is used in a sense as a pejorative which is synonymous with pseudo-scholarship. Exact definition which classifies between the viewpoints, fringe theories and pseudo-scholarship may not be easy to construct due to the demarcation problems and issue of false balance could occur when these theories are presented as being same to the already accepted theories. Fringe theories are considered to be ideas which depart significantly from the existing or mainstream view in a specific field of study and are not the majority opinion or of the respected minority.
According to Alexander Davidson, Financial journalist, he states that `such ideas as peddled by small band of staunch supporters’ though not necessarily without any merit. The theories tend to meet with varying levels of academic acceptance.
According to Daniel N, Robinson’s description he considered it as occupying `a limbo between the decisive dead end with the ultimately credible productive theory and though some fringe theories may comprise of work done to the much needed level of scholarship in respective field or study, the general term is close to the popular meaning of the word `theory’.
Discussed in Diverse Areas of Scholarship
Margaret Wertheim recommend that they should be considered in a manner which is similar to outsider art, curated at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, an 2003 exhibition which was dedicated to the work of Jim Carter, a fringe physicist.
Fringe theories are discussed in diverse areas of scholarship including Biblical criticism, history, law, finance, medicine and politics, when the phrase is used in the context of fringe science. The theories also exist relative to fields of study which are beyond the mainstream like the cryptozoology.
Some ideas which were considered as fringe theories pejoratively were dismissed as out of touch with reality, cranks or crackpots by their advocates and are also at times considered to be interchangeable with or overlap, more disparaging categories like pseudoarchaeology, pseudohistory or pseudoscience.
Besides this, the term also describes conspiracy theories in derogatory sense and according to Richard Hofstadter, isan explanations of historical as well as political events for accomplishments of unrealistically powerful, secretive groups, `a vast insidious preternaturally effective conspiratorial international network.
Part of Established Scholarship
As described by Esther Webman it could also be conspirators of all superhuman power and cunning though the naming ideas as fringe could be less pejorative than to describe them as pseudo-scholarship and it is unlikely that it would identified as their own work as pseudoscience by anyone.
Most of the fringe theories tend to be part of an established scholarship and rejected ideas could help to refine mainstream thought. However external theories do not attempt it and they tend to be incorrect though some of the ideas tend to gradually receive wider acceptance till they are no longer considered as fringe theories and at times these theories tend to become the mainstream view and the known examples is Alfred Wegener’s theory of continental drift which served as the basis for a model of plate tectonics.
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