I will admit it, I’m a little frustrated by the (seeming) sudden uptick in speculation threads that have no real evidence supporting them. Especially the repeats and rehashes of theories that were debunked by mainstream science years, if not decades, ago. So I thought I would spend a little time going over what you may be doing wrong if your new grandiose theory gets met with derision and scorn.
1. Evidence. I can’t stress this enough – if you are positing a theory that overturns portions of accepted modern science (I’m looking at you, Michelson-Morley detractors) then you need to have an overwhelming amount of experimental evidence to support that position. Most modern theories (with the exception of the new ones like the Higgs) have mountains of experimental and mathematical evidence to support them – that’s how they became mainstream science. This isn’t to say that these theories cannot be wrong, just that if you intend to prove them wrong, you better bring more than a vague idea to the table.
2. Math. Have some. Have derivations. If you don’t have math then, as far as physics is concerned, all you have is a vague idea, not a well formulated theory. Your math needs to do two basic things: show why it matters to the theory at hand, and make some predictions that can then be tested to validate (or falsify) the theory.
3. Incorporate already verified observations. If your theory cannot account for, or even goes against, observed phenomena, then you can freely assume that either your theory or reality is wrong. (Hint: Reality isn’t wrong.)
4. Do not handwave. If someone asks a question that you don’t have an answer to or you had not previously considered, admit you don’t know and ask for time to look it over. You’ll get a lot more leeway and respect for admitting you had not considered something than trying to Jedi Mindtrick your way past it (“This isn’t the equation you were looking for.”)
5. Learn to take criticism. In most cases, criticism is not personal (it should never be personal, but people are people). Nine times out of ten, the person offering the criticism really is trying to help you refine your theory, or at least get you to understand what they perceive to be a fatal flaw. Use these critiques to make your theory better – I guarantee the ones you get on the forums will be much less ego-destroying than the ones you get from journal referees.
6. Understand how science is done. “Prove me wrong” is not how science is done. Please refer to numbers 1 and 2 above. Science is exciting, and new science is even more so. New ideas are how science advances, and those advances pay direct dividends into the overall quality of life and knowledge for the human race. But not every idea is good science, or even science at all, and you have to be able to recognize science from pseudo-science if you expect to be taken seriously.
In conclusion, I just want to say that challenging mainstream science isn’t “bad” or “wrong”. Many of the most famous theories (SR and GR, QM, etc) directly challenged their forebears and were proved to be correct. But they made those challenges based on predictions made by strong, well formulated theories that incorporated and expanded on, or better explained, things that had already been experimentally verified. However, you must build your challenge on the back of strong predictions based on mathematics, and you must have solid evidence why the mainstream science should change. Anything less is doomed to failure and ridicule.