The Flat-Earth Theory

In comments over at my PJM piece today, I find this:

I agreed with Rand’s article, except for this point:

“But every scientist worthy of the name should be a skeptic. Every theory should be subject to challenge on a scientific basis.”

It is true that every “theory” should be regarded skeptically if there is *cause* to do so (ie evidence for doubt). But not every idea about reality is still a theory. For instance, it is no longer a “theory” that the earth is round (rather than flat). That fact has now been established. The idea is no longer a theory, but is true. There is no basis for being skeptical – for doubting – this conclusion.

The question which gets ignored here is at what point does a theory become a truth? At what point does a conclusion go from being possible, to probable, to certain?

To suggest scientists must -always- be skeptical is to claim that certainty can never be reached – about anything. That is simply a false statement. That is not science. That is the acceptance and practice of a particular philosophy – Skepticism – which is something -quite- different from reason.

The actual problem here is that many people are treating an idea which is (at best) a flawed *hypothesis* as if it were not just a theory but an actual certainty – ie as if they somehow know it to be true. In other words, they hold their conclusion not based on the methodology of reason, but by means of faith.

I think there are some nomenclature issues here. There was a time that the notion that the earth was round (or flat) was a theory. There was no direct evidence either way. That is no longer the case not because the “round-earth” theory has been somehow refined, but because we have actually been able to see pictures of a round planet, from various angles. That the earth is round is a fact, not a theory (one of the reasons that Flat-Earth societies are a literal joke). Gravity, however, remains a theory that explains the physical behavior of every object in the universe (as far as we know). It will never become a fact. It will never be more than the best explanation, and something (in theory…) better could still come along. The same thing applies to evolution, which is the best theory (currently) that explains the facts (the fossil record and DNA relationships). Intelligent design is not a theory — it is a critique of a theory (evolution). But one doesn’t have to propose a better theory in order to shoot one down. If the climate data has been tampered with, it makes their theory suspect, regardless of any alternatives that the critics may have.

A Document Dump

…at ACORN in San Diego. The Republic is fortunate in the idiocy of its enemies.

[Early evening update]

Breitbart’s comments, and ACORN’s (pathetic) response.

Here’s my question. Did Jerry Brown’s AG office tip off ACORN that they’d be coming by? And was this their idiotic response — to just dump them, literally, in a dumpster? Have they never even heard of shredders?

As I said, the Republic is fortunate in its enemies. It’s about what you’d expect, though. An organization like ACORN is not going to select for the best and brightest, and perhaps that’s what always saves us from people like them. Remember that tape during the campaign last year of the moron (I think almost literally) in the red tee-shirt, speechifying “ACORN needs Obama, and Obama needs ACORN”?

The Science Is Unsettled

My thoughts on the climate-change fraud, over at PJM.

[Update a few minutes later]

All the news that’s fit to bury. I liked this: “If Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe are done tormenting ACORN maybe they can figure out how to pose as underaged climate researchers…”

[Update about 8:30 PST]

The ugly side of climate science.

[Late morning update]

Lord Monckton speaks: They are criminals.

[Early afternoon update]

Another “blue dress” moment for the media — the BBC has had some of this info for weeks.

[Update mid afternoon]

I like the comment that offered this code snippet over at McIntyre’s place:

void function fubar(void); {

if dataset == hockeystick then plot(dataset); else fudge(dataset);

return; }

I assume that it’s recursive, in that fudge calls fubar…

Has Obama Become Funny?

Apparently, SNL eviscerated the president in the opener last night, and the attack wasn’t even from the left. So what has changed? All through the campaign, and for months into the election, all of the comedy writers and comedians whose job is to make us laugh told us that there was nothing funny about Barack Obama. Now, I thought at the time that if they couldn’t find much to mock from this arrogant pomposity, they should find a new line of work. But I’m glad that they finally found something. I suspect that now that his polls are down, they’ll start finding a lot more.

Breitbart Responds

…to accusations of blackmail:

And now to address the fever-swamp’s notion that what I said on “Hannity” last night was “blackmail.” Blackmail occurs when one party threatens to reveal an unsavory piece of information about another party, and demands money in exchange for silence. For obvious reasons, it is most often conducted in private. I, on the other hand, went on national television with a challenge to the Attorney General to do his job; unlike this administration and its justice department, what I did was fully open and transparent.

There will be consequences if there isn’t an investigation into ACORN. The videos will be shown and at a particular moment. There is nothing illegal about my proposed response to the continued inaction from this justice department, and there’s nothing I’d like more than to have my day in court and let a jury hear why I have gone to such extraordinary measures to tell a major story that the dying, partisan, leftist media has worked so hard to suppress.

The days of the Democrat-Media Complex controlling the narrative are in their end times. And if the AG wants to turn his focus on me instead of ACORN, then that day will be closer than many of them think.

I suspect that he has a lot of ammunition if the industrial government/media complex wants to escalate its war.

[Evening update]

Fox asked to inspect hen house in Ohio:

According to a report from Ohio today, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has asked the ACORN-tainted Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, to investigation ACORN’s voter registration work in the state.

I’m sure everything will be found to be on the up and up.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!