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Author Topic: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact  (Read 29480 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« on: June 24, 2012, 05:20:26 PM »

A recent post in another thread makes me think it's time for me to theorize that TIGHAR is never going to find what it seeks. This is something I've been thinking about for years.  I've mentioned it once or twice in correspondence with members of the Earhart Project Advisory Committee (EPAC).

They say, "Just when you think you've created an idiot-proof system, someone invents a better idiot."

Any imaginable artifact that might serve as definitive proof of the Niku hypothesis may be doubted as something planted by TIGHAR, by the Japenese, by the American government, or by some other nefarious organization (the Illuminati or the Knights Templar, perhaps).

To accept a piece of the airframe, a personal item, or a scrap of DNA as definitive proof that NR16020 landed at Niku, people will have to believe that it got there as the result of the flight on 2 July 1937 and not by some other means, fair or foul.

Archaeological artifacts do not speak for themselves.  They must be interpreted in order for them to have a bearing on an argument about a historic event.  Finding and dating artifacts employs various and sundry scientific or quasi-scientific methods, but interpreting them is an art, not a science.  The holy grail would be the data plate from NR16020, or some equally specific piece of metal that could be definitively associated with the Electra.  But such a piece of metal cannot tell us how it got to where it was found.  The story of the finding will be told by human beings.  Their testimony about what they found and where they found such an artifact depends upon their honesty and integrity, neither of which can be tested by laboratory (empirical) techniques.  Even if they are judged to be honest, someone else may have planted the real artifact or a counterfeit, precisely to throw them off the track of the "real" story (insert various conspiracy theories here).

Such is life with humans.  Can't live with 'em; can't live without 'em.
LTM,

           Marty
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 07:38:52 AM »

Ah Marty, you too have picked up on the subtle difference in Malcolm's requirements for proof that I called "changing horses in mid stream".

Bravo! And you have explained it so well.
Woody (former 3316R)
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« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 07:41:39 AM by C.W. Herndon »
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Dave Potratz

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2012, 01:36:25 PM »

Hmmmm, this brings to mind a cherished quote from my JR. High School Science teacher, Mr. Johnson: 

"You can lead a horse to water.....but you can't make him jump up & down and sing the national anthem..."

Wish I had a dollar for everytime I've used that...'course then I'd owe it all in royalty to Mr. Johnson.  :'(

dp
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Nathan Lapointe

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 12:09:20 AM »

Even IF the smoking gun is found then there is a good chance that many critics will not accept it as proof that the Niku hypothesis is correct.  If Nessie is found, for instance, then some could claim that it was a fake that TIGHAR planted.  Or maybe it floated there on the current?  If DNA evidence is found some will claim that it was planted, faked or both.  There are ALWAYS going to be people who will argue anything, no matter how absurd, to try and prove that they were correct.  I might only be 25, but I've learned that lesson several times in life already.  My tactic is to ignore those people and let them believe whatever they want.

TIGHAR needs to stick to their guns and follow the scientific method to prove this hypothesis correct ... or not.  I think the evidence strongly points to the Niku hypothesis being correct, but maybe it's not.  Maybe she did crash and float, or crash on McKean or New Britain or someplace else.  All that TIGHAR can do is continue following the scientific method and continue the excellent work they are doing.  That won't satisfy the media or many critics, but it's the only way of solving this mystery!

Nathan.
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 07:59:46 AM »

  I might only be 25, but I've learned that lesson several times in life already.  My tactic is to ignore those people and let them believe whatever they want.

Nathan, you may be young, but you already have an insight that many never acquire. Continue to keep an open mind and you should go far. ;)
Woody (former 3316R)
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steven c seitel

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2012, 08:30:00 AM »

Falsification of hypotheses is the basis of the scientific method.  You can never "prove" an hypothesis is true; you can only demonstrate that it is not true, i.e. not consistent with observation.  The best you can hope for is that all tests of an hypothesis yield results consistent with that hypothesis.  That's just the way it works.

Test an hypothesis in enough different ways without disproving it, and eventually most doubters will come around and admit it's likely.  TIGHAR reached that point a long time ago, in my opinion.

Steve
Steve Seitel
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2012, 09:03:51 AM »

Falsification of hypotheses is the basis of the scientific method.  You can never "prove" an hypothesis is true; you can only demonstrate that it is not true, i.e. not consistent with observation.

I fail to understand how you come to these two conclusions.
Woody (former 3316R)
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Tim Collins

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2012, 09:54:11 AM »

Falsification of hypotheses is the basis of the scientific method.  You can never "prove" an hypothesis is true; you can only demonstrate that it is not true, i.e. not consistent with observation.

I fail to understand how you come to these two conclusions.

Perhaps it is something akin to being found not guilty does not prove innocence?
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 10:01:47 AM »

Falsification of hypotheses is the basis of the scientific method.

That's one theory about the scientific method.  It was proposed by a man named Popper.  It is a philosophical conviction, not a scientific finding.  The hypothesis that "Falsification of hypotheses is the basis of the scientific method" can neither be verified nor falsified by "the" scientific method.

Quote
You can never "prove" an hypothesis is true ...

Mathematicians do it all the time.

If your hypothesis ("You can never 'prove' an hypothesis is true") is true, then you can never prove it to be true; that makes it merely a matter of opinion--or faith.

I would offer one available counter-example from a multitude that might be chosen: Milliken's oil drop experiment confirmed the hypothesis that there are identical unit charges in the flow of electricity.
LTM,

           Marty
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Bob Lanz

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2012, 03:52:16 PM »

I don't quite understand the argument here.  If the Niku Hypothesis proves to be true by virtue of finding NR16020 somewhere down below the reef, it is no longer a Hypothesis, it is a fact.  Therefore the Hypothesis is proven to be true.
Doc
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2012, 04:29:48 PM »

I don't quite understand the argument here.  If the Niku Hypothesis proves to be true by virtue of finding NR16020 somewhere down below the reef, it is no longer a Hypothesis, it is a fact.  Therefore the Hypothesis is proven to be true.

No.

It only shows that pieces of NR16020 are down below the reef.  It won't show how they got there.

They could come from the Japanese after AE died of dysentery, trying to cover up their error.

They could come from the Japanese, trying to throw the U.S. off the scent of the True Whereabouts
of Amelia Earhart (Tokyo or N.J.).

They could come from the U.S., trying to persuade the Japanese that they hadn't been spied on and had their war plans compromised.

They could come from TIGHAR, which secretly removed them from their true location in New Britain and planted them underwater so that the Niku expeditions could continue.

I'm sure I could go on, but my imagination is growing weary from all this archaeological reasoning.
LTM,

           Marty
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Bob Lanz

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2012, 07:23:41 PM »

I don't quite understand the argument here.  If the Niku Hypothesis proves to be true by virtue of finding NR16020 somewhere down below the reef, it is no longer a Hypothesis, it is a fact.  Therefore the Hypothesis is proven to be true.

No.

It only shows that pieces of NR16020 are down below the reef.  It won't show how they got there.

They could come from the Japanese after AE died of dysentery, trying to cover up their error.

They could come from the Japanese, trying to throw the U.S. off the scent of the True Whereabouts
of Amelia Earhart (Tokyo or N.J.).

They could come from the U.S., trying to persuade the Japanese that they hadn't been spied on and had their war plans compromised.

They could come from TIGHAR, which secretly removed them from their true location in New Britain and planted them underwater so that the Niku expeditions could continue.

I'm sure I could go on, but my imagination is growing weary from all this archaeological reasoning.


Geez Louise, I think I just got debunked by the machinations of the Right Reverend Martin X Moleski SJ.  Flecto superiori tuo intellectus
Doc
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steven c seitel

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2012, 07:30:42 PM »

Falsification of hypotheses is the basis of the scientific method.  You can never "prove" an hypothesis is true; you can only demonstrate that it is not true, i.e. not consistent with observation.

I fail to understand how you come to these two conclusions.

Oh, goodness.  I didn't mean to start a philosophical argument.  I can do no better to explain my point than to quote from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#Properties_of_scientific_inquiry :

"Scientific knowledge is closely tied to empirical findings, and always remains subject to falsification if new experimental observation incompatible with it is found. That is, no theory can ever be considered completely certain, since new evidence falsifying it might be discovered. [my emphasis]  If such evidence is found, a new theory may be proposed, or (more commonly) it is found that minor modifications to the previous theory are sufficient to explain the new evidence. The strength of a theory is related to how long it has persisted without falsification of its core principles."

As I said before, I think the Niku hypothesis is already well supported by the (admittedly circumstantial) evidence.

Cheers,

Steve
Steve Seitel
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steven c seitel

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2012, 08:07:29 PM »



Quote
You can never "prove" an hypothesis is true ...

Mathematicians do it all the time.

I would offer one available counter-example from a multitude that might be chosen: Milliken's oil drop experiment confirmed the hypothesis that there are identical unit charges in the flow of electricity.

Oh, Marty.  I ought to know better than to disagree with you, but...fools rush in, right?

I think what mathematicians do "all the time" is demonstrate that "theorems" (not scientific hypotheses) follow logically from accepted axioms and/or other theorems derived from such axioms.  There are no empirical observations here; merely an agreed-on starting point and some rules of logic to follow.  Very different from scientific inquiry.

And while Milliken's very elegant experiment has been repeated so many times as to persuade almost everybody that yes, electrical charge probably is quantized and the quantum measurable, all that it actually does is provide strong experimental evidence consistent with that hypothesis, not an absolute "proof."

Oh, well...having stuck my neck out, I remain

Steve

Steve Seitel
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: There is no "Any Idiot" Artifact
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2012, 09:19:28 PM »

Even IF the smoking gun is found then there is a good chance that many critics will not accept it as proof that the Niku hypothesis is correct.  If Nessie is found, for instance, then some could claim that it was a fake that TIGHAR planted.  Or maybe it floated there on the current?  If DNA evidence is found some will claim that it was planted, faked or both.  There are ALWAYS going to be people who will argue anything, no matter how absurd, to try and prove that they were correct.  I might only be 25, but I've learned that lesson several times in life already.  My tactic is to ignore those people and let them believe whatever they want.

TIGHAR needs to stick to their guns and follow the scientific method to prove this hypothesis correct ... or not.  I think the evidence strongly points to the Niku hypothesis being correct, but maybe it's not.  Maybe she did crash and float, or crash on McKean or New Britain or someplace else.  All that TIGHAR can do is continue following the scientific method and continue the excellent work they are doing.  That won't satisfy the media or many critics, but it's the only way of solving this mystery!

Nathan.

I am rather afraid that that is simply the creation of a straw man argument on a hypothetical and unproven premise which has been taken to being a prediction of future behaviour as demonstrated fact, or to put it another way BS  :) .

In other words if TIGHAR found an identifiable fragment of the Electra or an artifact, or artifacts, that can be shown to have 100% provenance to Earhart or Noonan and published that clearly without any attempt to say more than the evidence demonstrated, or will bear, then any reasonably informed person with the appropriate training and qualifications that enabled them to read and understand the publication would accept it (any person with qualifications and experience in archaeology, history, or any science where analysis of these artifacts might occur).

It is only the unqualified lunatic fringe e.g. the people who believe in Noah's Ark, faces on Mars, Chariots of the Gods etc. who would question it on the basis that it was a plant. And even if they did they would fall at the first hurdle which would be the solidity of the evidence offered by TIGHAR to make their case. That is how your prediction would work in fact rather than in fantasy.

There are enough problems with the current evidentiary value of the artifacts so far offered without inventing this sort of situation. The only problem I can foresee would be if TIGHAR then attempted to gild the lily by arguing for some behavioral features that the evidence could not demonstrate without recourse to another hypothesis.

It is not a race, other than as Jeff has pointed out regarding the actual remaining time for which artifacts can survive without corroding away completely, it is a search for an answer to Earhart and Noonan's final resting place. It can only be in one place - it cannot be in three or four different places. If TIGHAR demonstrates conclusively as I have outlined with incontestable evidence that it is Nikumaroro then that will be accepted by reasonable people - reasonable can also be taken to infer people with the ability to reason, others who don't have that ability don't, to put it bluntly, matter.   
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