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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Crop Circle Projection

A would-be troll on the Peak Oil message board associated peak oil doomsday consulting with a type of profiteering commonly found amid the alleged "crop circle" phenomena. The hidden agenda implied is that peak oilist consultants can probably rake in good money by writing books and giving lectures, much like crop circle evangelists can make money off of their fan-base.

On the surface, this argument has an absurd angle to it. Try Google searching for "crop circles" on the www.skeptic.com or www.skeptic.org.uk domains. You will find many hits. Do the same for "peak oil". You will find nothing. Basically, what this shows: there is no National Enquirer or Weekly World News or Art Bell fan-base that anyone can profit from.

So if someone thinks that peak oil doomsayers rate up there with crop circle enthusiasts, ask them to submit an article to one of the skeptics magazines. I would be interested in seeing what response you get from Michael Shermer. If you're unlucky, he might write volume 2 of " Why People Believe Weird Things" and include a chapter on crop circle projection.

Crop circle projection is the belief that any assertion that bucks conventional wisdom must first be compared to an arbitrarily chosen wacky theory. The strawman is then set up that since crop circles are discredited, then so must be the other theory, or (in this particular case) that the subscribers have the same motivation as the "projected" crop circle enthusiasts. QED.

Another weird item on the recent spate of tsunami image forgeries.

In comparing the allegedly forged Bush Memos that got Dan Rather in hot water, equally strange projections of media malfeasance have started to crop up over tsunami images of unknown origin. Check out the fraudulent images of the south Asia tsunami swamping beach crowds which appeared in Australian and Canadian papers. Do we act like the tsunami didn't happen because some media types made a mistake and published a bogus image?

And do we believe that Bush's Air National Guard record is spotless because some media outlet published a bogus memo?

My problem with the outcry over the Bush Memos lies with the amount of "chicken little" and "media bias' pronouncements that Rather has had to confront over the years. At some point, accusations of bad journalism and phony stories pile up so that you don't respond quite as quickly as you would under an objectively fair environment. The fact that one piece of the puzzle may be wrong should not necessarily project on the veracity of the entire story.


Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou (former Mpls child) with interest on TCF. On the scapegoating of Dan - you might want to review a bit of this informed commentary:
My appreciation for your best 25 many of which I have followed.

The Best

6:10 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Thanks, already checked it out. The author Paul Lucasiak also is on dailykos.com under the handle bushsux. He has a diary there which contains much the same info.

8:47 PM  
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