Blog: The Science of Explanations - 2010-12-12
You'll never convince anyone that something works by explaining away its failures.
Imagine a scientist demonstrating his new invention – an anti-gravity device – in front of an auditorium of his peers. He tries to make it work, and it fails again and again. And each time it fails, he has another explanation: "the temperature isn't right in here," "there's too much humidity," "the planets aren't aligned properly," or even "there are too many negative vibes in here." Well, you'd see people walking out, disgusted. The man is obviously a charlatan.
Well, let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he did get it to work in his temperature- and humidity-controlled lab. But then he should have demonstrated it in his lab and explained its limitations.