Minnesota Coconut Growers

In a recent comment, Peter Milloy drew my attention to the web site of the Minnesota Coconut Growers. It was created to illustrate that having a web presence proves nothing. I’ve only been to Minnesota once, but it was in winter, and it was enough to make me pretty certain that it’s climate is, shall we say, less than ideal for growing coconuts.

But does that mean that we should simply fall back on common sense? No, that doesn’t work either. Common sense could easily persuade us that the earth is flat, or that evolution is impossible, and it is certainly never going to help with Quantum mechanics. Our common sense is shaped by experience, and it is certainly important to listen to, but sometimes the influences that have shaped our experience can mislead us.

There is still no substitute to finding out what the majority of experts in a given field have to say. The experts may be wrong, but there is nothing better that one can do then go with the best available conclusions based on the available evidence. We can’t know what future discoveries may uncover, and we shouldn’t use that uncertainty to assume that our own preferred viewpoint will one day be vindicated.

Just ask the Minnesota Coconut Growers.

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  • Carlos

    What about experts regarding the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05283809456471966882 Bill

    I know just what you mean. It is so hard to find a good Quantum Mechanic!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13599662252662686373 BSM

    James – Clearly you’ve been to one too many faculty senates. I fear your mind is being controlled and THISis your only solution. Maybe I’ll pop by next week with some tin foil.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13599662252662686373 BSM

    And I also must warn you students about you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    I’ve got plenty of tin foil, but I’ve always been a bit weak when it comes to origami, so I may need assistance… :)On a more serious note, it might be fun to try to collect all the spoof pages that could be used to illustrate the point that the existence of a web page doesn’t prove the reality, much less the legitimacy, of something.I must confess that there isn’t really a Star Fleet Academy Department of Religious Studies either…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13599662252662686373 BSM

    That page is most excellent!