Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fossilized alien life?


There are many critics and it's just too soon to tell.

Keep an eye out today for more news from another source in the universe. There is supposed to be a Curiosity announcement today on the drilling exercise.


  1. There is a second story here.

    The two "finders" have been attempting to draw attention to themselves before this discovery with the theory that life had to arrive from space, blah, blah, blah

    Now, that may be in fact true.

    However, needless to say, if true, such is going to rock a lot of boats. Under such circumstances, how one goes about investigating and presenting "evidence" in support of the theory leads directly to my earlier posts on the importance of having filters to detect incentive caused bias.

    In that regard, there are just fundamental questions here that needed to be anticipated and it is very plain the discoverers, following the practices, customs, and habits of many economic bloggers instead have just engaged in tooting their own horn and making their claims as absolute when in fact there is little, if any certainty.

    For starters, how, perhaps except for catching pieces in the sky, can we say for sure the sample is from space. Second, even if from space, how are we sure it didn't come from here to begin with?

    What is very interesting is that the reporting on this has focused on the incentive caused bias of the discoverers.

    If only reporting on economics should similar journalist ethics!

    1. You really need to rethink your recent filters interest.

      I know the panspermia background to this research. I wouldn't say that's the "second story" - that's the primary story! I don't know the researchers nor do I know astrobiology generally. Good to go in assuming they're honest people, I think.

      Now if you were persuaded of panspermia what would you do with your time? I would spend my time investigating meteorites. Investigating regular ol' Earth rocks does nothing to arbitrate that theory, right? So I'd look at meteorites. There's nothing salacious about the fact that that's where they're looking. There's nothing wrong with this.

      Of course it still has to be good research - that's what the subsequent discussions are about. Those issues you raise are exactly what people are talking about. Their initial paper raised questions about the meteorite origins, this paper answers those questions, there are more questions, presumably there will be more answers and then more questions (and more answers...).

      The fact that these researchers are persuaded by a particular theory hardly has the import that you attach to it. The worst thing that could be done is filter them out. It's worth talking about.

      I'm invested in a particular view of science and engineering labor market adjustment. I go looking for insights on that by looking at cases where demand for science and engineering labor has had a positive or negative shock. That's natural - there's no reason to filter that out. How else would you answer these questions and why would you try to answer a question that you don't have interest in?

    2. If your point is just that panspermia should be more prominent, I don't think it needs to be. Everyone knows that's the question at stake, don't they?

      It's like me writing about the wage elasticity of supply for petroleum engineers. I don't need to plaster "THIS IS ABOUT WHETHER THERE ARE PERSISTENT LABOR SHORTAGES". Everybody reading the paper knows that's the underlying question of interest.

    3. Apparently, my interest in the problems of incentive caused bias has gotten others to thinking.

      I noticed the Cowen has just but up a piece, to my favor, linking to this


      The foundation for the need to use filters is the beef stew, horse meat problem.

      If you go through a cafeteria, pick up and order of beef stew, and the first bite is horse meat, do you just spit out the bite and keep eating? Or, do you push the whole plate away?

      Now, it seems to me that the reason you don't want to push the whole plate away is that you still cling to Hayek and Friedman, Mises and others, all of whom are entirely impeached, whose plate ought to be pushed away.

      You very well know that, if you have to push away the entire plate, well there is nothing there. No appeal to an impeached authority is possible.

      Rest assured that, if there is something there, another honest source will advance the thought or idea.

      Filters rids one of sources, not ideas themselves. David Andolfatto, for example, keeps turning out informative pieces.

    4. Daniel

      You write, "I go looking for [information or] cases where demand for science and engineering labor has had a positive or negative shock. That's natural - there's no reason to filter that out."

      I am not suggesting that kind of filter, whatsoever. If, however, the data or whatever came directly or indirectly from Microsoft or Apple, I would not look at such.

      If you listen to PR machines your world ends up looking like the Internal Revenue Code.

  2. Hopefully Daniel, the fossilized alien life, if indeed true, won't cause us to build Monolith-like structures that result in dead organic matter becoming like this?


    And hopefully, these abominations and the Monolith-like structures won't accumulate enough biomass on our planet to trigger this, eh Daniel?


    And a bove all,it won't result in this, right Daniel?



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