Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Real Conspiracy

Imagine what you would do if you were an executive in an industry making $100-million a day in profits, and someone came up with some bogus science that threatened your profits. Worse still, this bogus science, if accepted, represented an existential crisis: it would close you down.

What would you do?

Imagine also you are a highly technical industry requiring world-class science to conduct your business and to ensure your future profitability. You therefore have the resources internally to work up an alternative theory or find flaws in the scientific attack on your industry.

What would you do?

Your shareholders would rightly be outraged and demand your scalp at the next stockholder meeting if you did not contest any bogus threat to your continued profitability. If this science is truly bogus, with all your resources, you should easily be able to justify the cost of countering it by doing a definitive study that falsified the bogus theory. So you do your due diligence, and your scientists report back to you.

Let’s now consider two possibilities:
  1. the science does turn out to be bogus, or
  2. your scientists tell you sorry, the “bogus” science is actually right
In the first case, easy. You publish the results. You publish all the data and computer code, so any scientist can verify independently that you have it right.

Problem solved. The bogus science goes the way of the flogiston theory.

In the second case, what do you do?

Here’s a hint. Is the fossil fuel industry behaving as if the first case applied?

Mad scientist image from
Post-apocalyptic city: 

No comments: