February 26, 2004

Extrapolation, or Panicky Astronomers

OK, so let me make sure I've got this straight: in the context of an established social network of scientific experts on a potentially threatening exotic phenomenon, a subset of untrained amateur enthusiasts seizes on a small and incomplete sample of inconclusive evidence, makes an alarmist and (literally) hyperbolic extrapolation of this incomplete evidence, attempts to hijack the discussion of the validity of the extrapolation, and comes very close to mobilizing the US security apparatus in pursuit of this phantom extrapolated threat.


All I can say is, thank goodness for scientists and other trained professionals with the backbone to stand up to erroneous cranks.

Too bad we don't have any of those in, say, the foreign service, diplomatic corps, or intelligence community.

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