“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” –Amelia Barr
All things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the best. At least, that’s how Occam’s razor is most commonly phrased these days. Yet, when it comes to the headlines — whether it’s a “discovery” of dark matter or “evidence” for life on Mars — you have to wonder what “simple” actually means.
The answer isn’t what most people suspect, and it shouldn’t really be up for debate. If you want to hypothesize that something novel is occurring, something that goes beyond the known set of scientific knowledge for a particular environment, you’d better rule out all the conventional explanations that could account for the effect.
And if a conventional explanation can account for it, I’m so confident that it will be the conventional one that I even made a (potentially regrettable) bet.