Sunday, July 17, 2011

So Many Secrets

My main problem with grand conspiracy theories is that, in general, it seems unrealistic to expect that large groups of people will be able to keep huge, exciting secrets for very long.

I mean, granted, you never know, and conspiracies have existed, and obviously the fact that you don't hear about it just means it's successful!--but still.

I therefore appreciated this post on More Grumbine Science, talking about critical evaluation of theories that involve vast conspiracies. It poses some useful questions to consider:

How long would the conspiracy have to have lasted?
How much data would have to be faked?
Who all would have to be involved in the fakery?
Are there other sources of data to confirm or refute the passive microwave observations?

This particular post is about measurements of the Arctic ice sheet, hence the specific reference to "passive microwave observations" in the last question. Obviously a reference to this specific data-gathering technique will not apply quite as well to every conspiracy theory, but there will probably be a substitute information source that could be considered.

I guess the takeaway point is that it's rarely a bad idea to think carefully about something. Unless it's whether or not to run away from a charging tiger, because you should probably just go ahead and do that.

Not that it'll help much, because tigers are fast, but maybe you can duck behind something.



jtfburgess said...

I would recommend hiding behind a climate change denier. Nothing can budge them.

A'Llyn said...

Niiiiiiiiiiice. :)