September 09, 2004

Stop the conspiracy, I want to get off

In the absence of more compelling evidence, I would suggest the right-leaning bloggers lay off this forged documents business. Since we now have a witness to 'W' being in Bama, what is the point? Please stop. You're making us look like a bunch of barking-moonbats. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they usually turn out to be false. Usually. Since they are usually false it seems safe to me to put the burden of proof on those trying to prove the conspiracy.

UPDATE: Eating crow? I might be, soon. Bill at INDC and then the mainstream press (via Curbside Prophet) on the case. But, I would still warn readers of the possible methodology problem here. The first rule of hypothesis testing is to accept the status quo until the level of proof is very high. In social science statistice, we generally put that standard of proof at around 95% probability before we can accept the hypothesis (actually, until we can reject the null hypothesis). While we are not talking about quantifiable data here, the fact that there are alternative explanations still does not give me reason to accept the hypothesis that the documents are forged. Update within an update: Bill at INDC now says his expert is 90% certain. That is getting pretty close to the threshold of 'proof'.

The real story here, though, may be that the blogosphere has forced the mainstream press into investigating the allegation. And, as the left has always maintained, it is the seriousness of the allegation, not the facts, that are important. (/sarcasm)

PS-Please follow Updates at Allah's and at NRO. There is plenty of evidence that this could have been produced in 1972. Again, since there are reasonable explanations other than a forged-document conspiracy it is safe to put the burden of proof on those who cry foul. This is a basic methodological assumption.

Deity, may I humbly beg you to stop this.
Captain Ed, this is not the only reasonable explanation since the White House also produced a duplicate.
You can't prove a negative.
Ever hear of Occam's razor?
Certainly a physicist knows Occam's razor? No?
Dude, why assume a conspiracy when other explanations will do?
Again, it seems that reasonable explanations are breaking out all over the place.
Dude, not you too?
Come on man.
Jen, i tu?
The Posse aint on Broadway on this one.
Earth to Matt, you are our glorious leader. Lead.
This is a small dead conspiracy, I'd say.
The first duty of a patriot is to question authority, even when we are predisposed to believe that authority.
My Blog children are even spreading this.
Shahids ought not say such things.
Ok, nice work, but it is still not enough to make a hard case in light of other explanations.
Come on bro, evidence does not equal proof.
Sugar, may I call you sugar? let's not drop this stuff in an otherwise sane post
Jimmy, dude, let's not go spreading this around.
Odd? Maybe, but that does not mean unreasonable.

Much more even-handed.
Thank you for your sanity.
Skepticism always is the best course, good call.
My thoughts exactly, Dale.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:21 PM | Comments |