Dateline: Conspiracy Con, Santa Clara, CA
June 4, 2011
Ominously, it's raining today. Really raining. Now, heavy rain is an extremely low probability event in Santa Clara in June. And you might be tempted to point to it as evidence of (take your pick):
- Global warming
- The global chemtrail conspiracy
- Project HAARP global weather manipulation conspiracy
Which makes it a perfect note on which to begin live-blogging from Conspiracy Con. That's because it illustrates the predominant fallacies that will be on display for the next 48 hours:
o Sweeping generalization: It's June and it's raining in Santa Clara. Rain is unusual in June in Santa Clara. Therefore, something unusual is going on.
o Straw man: Weather manipulation would cause unusual storms. We are having an unusual storm. Therefore the weather is being manipulated.
o Causal oversimplification: Global warming is the cause of unseasonable weather, rather than a cause.
o False cause: It's raining. Conspiracy Con is this weekend. Therefore Conspiracy Con caused the rain.
Actually, the 2010-2011 rainfall year has been – get ready for this – exactly average. And while heavy rain in June is a low-probability event, it's not a zero probability event. In fact, while May 2011 temperatures averaged 7 degrees below normal, so did May 2010 temperatures. And, rainfall for the year at the end of May was slightly below normal.
In other words, today's weather proves exactly…nothing.