cite as: F. Bi. 2008. An angry letter, a petition, and…? Intl. J. Inact., 1:51–53
An angry letter…
No additional angry scientists in the Heartland 500 fiasco, but there is an angry letter to the editor on Canadian news source The Daily Observer, from one Justin Barnes. (Now that’s a good idea: Write your editor today!)
In somewhat (un)related news, I think I figured out the main problem is with the so-called “Oregon Petition” (which was initiated by the OISM, and currently boasts to have 31,000 signatures from inactivist scientists)1. The problem is this:
The “Oregon Petition” is unfalsifiable, untestable, unverifiable.
To show this, I’m going to make some counter-claims in response to the claims of the “Oregon Petition”:
- Most of the 31,000+ “signatories” of the “Oregon Petition” were in fact ripped from a totally different petition, the Mars Proclamation.
- The Mars Proclamation says that the greatest threat to world peace today is chocolate rain.
- There is currently a worldwide conspiracy to suppress all mention of the Mars Proclamation in both the media and the blogosphere.
Here is a quick test: can anyone find a name on the “Oregon Petition”, and prove — beyond reasonable doubt — that the name did not come from the Mars Proclamation? No, it is not sufficient to get a person on the list to tell us that he did sign an Oregon Petition but not a Mars Proclamation. After all, the Mars Proclamation signatory may actually be a different person who happens to have the same name, come from the same state, and have the same academic degrees.
Incidentally, this is the same standard of ‘falsification’ espoused by the “Oregon Petition” FAQ, which states
In a group of more than 30,000 people, there are many individuals with names similar or identical to other signatories, or to non-signatories – real or fictional. Opponents of the petition project sometimes use this statistical fact in efforts to discredit the project. For examples, Perry Mason and Michael Fox are scientists who have signed the petition – who happen also to have names identical to fictional or real non-scientists.
…and… ruminations on conspiracy theories?
In yet more news, All Embracing But Underwhelming says this about conspiracy theories:
[George] Case makes one of the commonest mistakes possible in respect to claiming that holders of Conspiracy Theories actually believe. Most Conspiracy Theorists about, say, 9/11, don’t hold all the different permutations. Whilst there is some common ground, mostly that they do not believe the official story about how the Twin Towers collapsed, they don’t necessarily believe that everyone thus cited for it really happening are all equally responsible. No, like protestant Christianity, there are a multiplicity of differing opinions and views.
Conspiracy Theorists really aren’t that dumb.
Well, in the case of climate conspiracy theories, it does seem that some people are this dumb: they actually promote several incompatible theories all at the same time, and even mix and stir then into new, weirder theories. And sometimes the same person has even changed his theory while nobody was looking: just look at Lindzen’s 3 conspiracy theories.
- Actually I prefer to call it the “Oregan [sic] Petition”.
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Update 2009-07-13: Greenfyre asks, “What if the Oregon Petition names were real?” Indeed.