Last night, at a social gathering, a friend mentioned in passing that water going down the drain north of the equator swirls in the opposite direction as south of the equator. I said it was an urban legend. He whipped out (figuratively) his doctorate degree in science and an explanation of the Coriolis force to support his case. On my side of the issue was my vague memory of having “heard it somewhere.” I call that a tie. So a wager was made.
That’s when I whipped out (literally) my trusty Blackberry, opened snopes.com, and showed him this page supporting my case:
I remember the days when you could go to a party, have a few drinks, and argue all night about some dumbass thing because neither one of you could prove your point. It was barbaric. Those days are over, thanks to having access to the Internet in your pocket. Now a simple argument about fact can turn into a far more complicated argument about the reliability of Snopes.com. And it did. But that’s not my point.
I’ve noticed that whenever there are two sides of an issue that sound like this…
1. The fact is true
2. The fact is complete bullshit…
…you can safely bet that the fact is complete bullshit. You don’t need to know much about the coriolis force, or the monetary policy of Peru, or the life expectancy of a beetle to make your case. Just place your bet on “it’s bullshit” and collect your winnings.
Name one case where this rule doesn’t work. The only condition is that the people saying “it’s bullshit” have to be credible in the field, even if not the majority.