Best Conspiracy Theory Ever

This has to be the best conspiracy theory I’ve ever read: this guy believes that the Galileo space probe that NASA crashed into Jupiter in 2003 (to avoid it being left in an unstable orbit and potentially crashing into Europa, which could affect the scientific value of the moon) is starting a nuclear reaction that will eventually turn Jupiter into a second sun, and that the reason NASA are no longer doing much active research on the Shoemaker/Levy 9 “black spot” impact (widely understood to be a comet impact) on Jupiter is because they don’t want to attract attention to what is actually the end of the solar system (he believes it’s the beginnings of a nuclear explosion) as we know it, caused by them.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that humans are making a significant impact on climate change on Earth, but this guy thinks that a single plutonium-238 core (not even a reactor, and not even the same kind of plutonium as is used in atomic bombs) dropped into Jupiter could cause a chain reaction that would suddenly make this into a binary system.

Update: within two years of writing this post my position had shifted and I clearly accept the scientific consensus of human impact on climate change. At the time, I didn’t have a full comprehension of the research and it didn’t “smell right”, so I was skeptical (although I didn’t ever dismiss it as wrong, just state that I was unconvinced). I credit several causes in the change in my belief, including Statto (with whom I had a lively debate both in the comments to this post and elsewhere). This, in turn, I occasionally use as evidence against the oft-made assertion that “nobody ever changed anybody’s mind by arguing on the Internet”! It’s also worth noting that I never doubted the fact of climate change and that humans needed to do something in response to it, only that humans caused it; obviously I was still wrong – sorry! – but at least I wasn’t wrong-and-in-a-position-of-authority.

It’s entertaining reading, though. I’m looking forward to Jimmy passing comment on it, soon.

Oh, and it’s Crystal Maze night tonight (The Cottage, 7pm) for anybody still around. We’ve only got two episodes of Series 2 left, so if we run out we may have to fall back on some Wiigaming or something.

13 replies to Best Conspiracy Theory Ever

  1. Well, I’m sold. Never mind the fact that even *if* a nuke went off at that depth in Jupiter the hydrogen surronunding it isn’t at nearly enough pressure to go fission[1] and the fact that if Jupiter really did start fission the first we’d know about it would be 20 minutes later when it turned into a new sodding star. Forget about all that- a splotchy grey area on jupiter a month after Galileo hit? That’s proof enough for me.

    [1] Even at the core, the pressure isn’t anywhere near the level needed to go nuclear; there’s just not enough mass in Jupiter. The mass of a brown dwarf, which are little shits of stars hardly worth mentioning, are still 20 to 50 times that of jupiter- a massive amount more.

  2. (Binky means fusion.) :)

    As for your continued climate-change denial, I’m working on a back-of-the-envelope calculation to prove that anthropogenic CO2 is making a difference.

    And, until you believe me, why not check out the IPCC WG1 Fourth Assessment Report? They say that “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [an IPCC phrase meaning > 90% probability] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

    Now, 90% isn’t certainty, but if we found ourselves in this position ten times, the scientists would be wrong, on average, once. Is that a chance you’re willing to take?

  3. There was a Stargate episode (2010) set in an alternate future where an apparently benign alien race was helping us turn Jupiter into a second sun. The idea being to increase the food production capability of Earth.

  4. Statto: It’s likely you’ll be proven right, but what I wonder most is why you’re so stressy about it all. Does it really matter if Dan believes it? He’s still becoming more environmentally friendly, but for different reasons. The only people who need to study it are scientists in the field, and the only people who need to believe it are policymakers. You don’t need the whole population of the earth to believe it, you just need to make it uneconomical for them to do anything else (which will happen on its own, if you are correct). No-one’s taking a 10% chance by not being sure about something, unless they are in a position of power.

    So why do you care so much?

  5. I agree, well said claire. BUT I think you need a significant proportion of the people of earth to believe in climate change for the policymakers to be able to do something about it.

    They’re not going to take the apparently large and drastic steps they need to take, nor will they take them in time, if the public disbelieves/is indifferent to the truth of climate change. They need a mandate, and they’re not going to want to make themselves unpopular – which is wrong of course, but in practical terms widespread public support for the measures needed can only be a good thing.

    all this assumes, of course, that climate change is correct – i’ve not personally read anything which 100% convinces me, other than george monbiot pointing out that all the anti-cc research appears to be funded (in some cases covertly) by oil companies.

    and like anything else in the world you convince ‘the public’ one person at a time. so maybe that’s why statto’s on at dan?

  6. Also well said, restlessboy.

    Although if I were Statto and I were trying to convince the public “one person at a time” I’d have by-now taken a leaf from the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ book and realised that I’m too stubborn to be persuaded by non-authorative persons, and given up. When I’m persuaded of Statto’s argument, it won’t be by Statto.

  7. There is a difficult disparity between individuals and society. Society comprises individuals. If I can convince a few, and they a few, and so on, it doesn’t take a marketing genius to work out that, like Badger Badger Badger, you’ll soon have infected everyone.

    It’s also true that individuals have a lot more power now. Complicated policies to reduce airport capacity and tax passengers (to pick an area almost at random) will take years to effect, but individuals can stop holidaying by plane now.

    Plus what restlessboy said.

    To shirk individual responsibility is irresponsible, but were I to claim that the World could be saved by it with government policy would be naïve. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between.

    Really, I’m not effecting some grand scheme. My plan to save the World doesn’t revolve around Dan. I just think that to shrug off climate change like he did in the post above is a bit insidious and it makes me cross, hence I comment!

    The other factor is that I want to know what exactly he disagrees on the basis of, in the hope that he is at least a reasonable barometer of popular opinion and such that I might prepare an argument which would convince other skeptics. So any info in that regard would be welcome. :)

  8. Then perhaps I can help with a subsequent post. In the meantime, you can get a feel for the kinds-of thoughts I’ve been having, at an abstract and high-up level, through this blog post by Scott Adams.

    For the time being, I’m leaving climate change for smarter people than me to sort out. If they’re so smart, they’ll work out how to motivate me to save the world (and that it’s worth saving), too.

  9. If they’re so smart, they’ll work out how to motivate me to save the world (and that it’s worth saving), too.

    To be honest, that’s the bit that worries me. I feel we’ve proved it’s happening with the help of some pretty smart people, but the person who convinces the public? “Smart” won’t cover it…

  10. Convincing people that climate change is happening? I would hope that wasn’t the hard part, but I suspect that in many cases, you’re right. Convincing people that some of the proposed measures to “direct” climate change will work, are feasible, or are worthwhile: that’s the biggest bit that I’d have difficulty with.

  11. Sounds like someone has been reading a little too much Arthur C. Clarke to me. Jupiter a second sun? Let me gues, he also thinks a race of huge black monothiths are responsible for all out major jumps in evolution.

    People are crazy!

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