Fixing Occam’s Razor (Synopsis)

“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.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SAM-GSFC / Univ. of Michigan.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SAM-GSFC / Univ. of Michigan.

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.

Image credit: screenshot from Twitter, via https://twitter.com/RobertGaristo/status/544996385427554305.

Image credit: screenshot from Twitter, via https://twitter.com/RobertGaristo/status/544996385427554305.

Come see what this is all about, and how we need to fix Occam’s razor, so that people start using it properly!

Comments

  1. #1 Vicki
    December 23, 2014

    I think it could be either “Martian geochemistry” (though a lot of places are lower-casing “martian” these days) or “areochemistry.”

    That bet sounds like a case of hoping you’re wrong.

  2. #2 dean
    December 23, 2014

    It seems that people often accept some exotic result and think of the simplest process that explains it.

  3. #3 leia
    December 23, 2014

    ‘EPR program: a local interpretation of QM’
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.5612

    “Wave particle duality is described as the compound system of point particle plus accompanying wave (in the æther).”

    There is no such thing as dark matter anchored to matter. Matter moves through and displaces the aether.

    What ripples when galaxy clusters collide is what waves in a double slit experiment; the aether.

    Einstein’s gravitational wave is de Broglie’s wave of wave-particle duality; both are waves in the aether.

    Aether displaced by matter relates general relativity and quantum mechanics.

  4. #4 leia
    December 23, 2014

    Our Universe is a larger version of a galactic polar jet.

    Dark energy is aether continuously emitted into the Universal jet.

  5. #5 Wow
    December 24, 2014

    “Our Universe is a larger version of a galactic polar jet.”

    No it isn’t. Please stop spamming nonsense.

  6. #6 leia
    December 24, 2014

    ‘Was the universe born spinning?’
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/46688

    “The universe was born spinning and continues to do so around a preferred axis”

    Our Universe spins around a preferred axis because it is a larger version of a galactic polar jet.

    ‘Mysterious Cosmic ‘Dark Flow’ Tracked Deeper into Universe’
    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/releases/2010/10-023.html

    “The clusters appear to be moving along a line extending from our solar system toward Centaurus/Hydra, but the direction of this motion is less certain. Evidence indicates that the clusters are headed outward along this path, away from Earth, but the team cannot yet rule out the opposite flow. “We detect motion along this axis, but right now our data cannot state as strongly as we’d like whether the clusters are coming or going,” Kashlinsky said.”

    The clusters are headed along this path because our Universe is a larger version of a polar jet.

    It’s not the Big Bang; it’s the Big Ongoing.

  7. #7 Wow
    December 24, 2014

    “Our Universe spins around a preferred axis because it is a larger version of a galactic polar jet.”

    Nope, that no more makes sense than claiming our earth is a smaller version of a galactic polar jet because IT has a preferred axis.

    Please DON’T try again.

  8. #8 leia
    December 24, 2014

    There is directionality to matter in the Universe which refutes the Big Bang. Unless you want to hypothesize Universes external to our Universe pulling on the matter in our Universe, forgetting gravity is not a pull and also then there is a need for a multi-verse.

    Occam’s razor:

    Our Universe is a larger version of a galactic polar jet.

    Dark energy is aether emitted into the Universal jet.

    Particles of matter move through and displace the aether.

    What is referred to geometrically as the deformation of spacetime physically exists in nature as the state of displacement of the aether.

    The state of displacement of the aether IS gravity.

    A moving particle has an associated aether displacement wave. In a double slit experiment the particle travels through a single slit and the associated wave in the aether passes through both.

    Q. Why is the particle always detected traveling through a single slit in a double slit experiment?
    A. The particle always travels through a single slit. It is the associated wave in the aether which passes through both.

    What ripples when galaxy clusters collide is what waves in a double slit experiment; the aether.

    Einstein’s gravitational wave is de Broglie’s wave of wave-particle duality; both are waves in the aether.

    Aether displaced by matter relates general relativity and quantum mechanics.

    There is evidence of the aether every time a double slit experiment is performed; it’s what waves.

  9. #9 Wow
    December 24, 2014

    There is directionality to matter in the Universe which refutes the Big Bang.

    It does not refute the big bang.

    I *DID* ask you not to try again, didn’t I?

  10. #10 Wow
    December 24, 2014

    A. The particle always travels through a single slit. It is the associated wave in the aether which passes through both.

    There is no aether. Ergo, A: Wrong.

  11. #11 daedalus2u
    December 24, 2014

    I think that life on Mars is actually pretty likely. Most (virtually all) of the habitable space on Mars is underground but that has always been true on Mars, and also on Earth. Essentially all of the habitable space is where there is liquid water and below about 120 C. On Earth, that is on the surface and extends some km deep. On Mars there isn’t much on the surface, it is too cold, but we know that there is lots of volume on Mars that is between 0 C and 120 C.

    Mars probably cooled a little sooner than Earth (Mars didn’t have the event that produced Earth’s moon and which likely completely melted the Earth’s surface). On Earth, life happened in less than a billion years. On Mars there has been 4.5 billion years for life to have happened.

    I would be surprised if there is not life on Mars. It likely won’t be found on the surface, but until there have been holes drilled deep enough into Mars that temperatures above 150 C are reached, in multiple places, I would not dismiss the possibility.

  12. #12 leia
    December 24, 2014

    ‘Hubble Finds Ghostly Ring of Dark Matter’
    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/news/dark_matter_ring_feature.html

    “Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope got a first-hand view of how dark matter behaves during a titanic collision between two galaxy clusters. The wreck created a ripple of dark matter, which is somewhat similar to a ripple formed in a pond when a rock hits the water.”

    The ‘pond’ consists of aether. The galaxy clusters are moving through and displacing the aether, analogous to the bow waves of two boats which pass by each other closely. The bow waves interact and create a ripple in the water. The ripple created when galaxy clusters collide is an aether displacement wave.

    ‘Galactic Pile-Up May Point to Mysterious New Dark Force in the Universe’
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/musket-ball-dark-force/

    “The reason this is strange is that dark matter is thought to barely interact with itself. The dark matter should just coast through itself and move at the same speed as the hardly interacting galaxies. Instead, it looks like the dark matter is crashing into something — perhaps itself – and slowing down faster than the galaxies are. But this would require the dark matter to be able to interact with itself in a completely new an unexpected way, a “dark force” that affects only dark matter.”

    It’s not a new force. It’s the aether displaced by each of the galaxy clusters interacting analogous to the bow waves of two boats which pass by each other.

  13. #13 Wow
    December 24, 2014

    The ‘pond’ consists of aether.

    I know that you believe that if you can insist there is an aether you can then claim that the universe is geocentric, but the wish doesn’t make the fact, dearest.

    Stop trying to pretend your faith is supported by reality and accept that it’s entirely made up out of thin air.

    Just because something is made up doesn’t mean you cannot live your life by it.

  14. #14 leia
    December 24, 2014

    This thread is titled “Occam’s razor”.

    “The word ‘ether’ has extremely negative connotations in theoretical physics because of its past association with opposition to relativity. This is unfortunate because, stripped of these connotations, it rather nicely captures the way most physicists actually think about the vacuum. . . . Relativity actually says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of matter pervading the universe, only that any such matter must have relativistic symmetry. [..] It turns out that such matter exists. About the time relativity was becoming accepted, studies of radioactivity began showing that the empty vacuum of space had spectroscopic structure similar to that of ordinary quantum solids and fluids. Subsequent studies with large particle accelerators have now led us to understand that space is more like a piece of window glass than ideal Newtonian emptiness. It is filled with ‘stuff’ that is normally transparent but can be made visible by hitting it sufficiently hard to knock out a part. The modern concept of the vacuum of space, confirmed every day by experiment, is a relativistic ether. But we do not call it this because it is taboo.” – Robert B. Laughlin, Nobel Laureate in Physics, endowed chair in physics, Stanford University

    “any particle, even isolated, has to be imagined as in continuous “energetic contact” with a hidden medium … If a hidden sub-quantum medium is assumed, knowledge of its nature would seem desirable. It certainly is of quite complex character. It could not serve as a universal reference medium, as this would be contrary to relativity theory.” – Louis de Broglie, Nobel Laureate in Physics

    “According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense.” – Albert Einstein, Nobel Laureate in Physics

    The relativistic ether referred to by Laughlin is the hidden sub-quantum medium referred to by de Broglie is the ether which propagates light referred to by Einstein.

    “While the founding fathers agonized over the question ‘particle’ or ‘wave’, de Broglie in 1925 proposed the obvious answer ‘particle’ and ‘wave’. Is it not clear from the smallness of the scintillation on the screen that we have to do with a particle? And is it not clear, from the diffraction and interference patterns, that the motion of the particle is directed by a wave? De Broglie showed in detail how the motion of a particle, passing through just one of two holes in screen, could be influenced by waves propagating through both holes. And so influenced that the particle does not go where the waves cancel out, but is attracted to where they cooperate. This idea seems to me so natural and simple, to resolve the wave-particle dilemma in such a clear and ordinary way, that it is a great mystery to me that it was so generally ignored.” – John Bell

    In a double slit experiment it is the aether that waves.

  15. #15 Wow
    December 24, 2014

    You’re hella boring, dude.

    Go play with the other godbotherers.

  16. #16 mark
    houston tx
    December 24, 2014

    good article, the Razor is a good rule, but you should have quoted Einstein, he said it all “everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler”…

  17. #17 leia
    December 24, 2014

    ‘The Milky Way’s dark matter halo appears to be lopsided’
    http://arxiv.org/abs/0903.3802

    “Basically, the emerging picture of the dark matter halo of the Milky Way is dominantly lopsided in nature.”

    The Milky Way’s halo is not a clump of dark matter traveling along with the Milky Way. The Milky Way’s halo is lopsided due to the matter in the Milky Way moving through and displacing the aether.

    ‘Offset between dark matter and ordinary matter: evidence from a sample of 38 lensing clusters of galaxies’
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1004.1475

    “Our data strongly support the idea that the gravitational potential in clusters is mainly due to a non-baryonic fluid, and any exotic field in gravitational theory must resemble that of CDM fields very closely.”

    The offset is due to the galaxy clusters moving through and displacing the aether. The analogy is a submarine moving through the water. You are under water. Two miles away from you are many lights. Moving between you and the lights one mile away is a submarine. The submarine displaces the water. The state of displacement of the water causes the center of the lensing of the light propagating through the water to be offset from the center of the submarine itself. The offset between the center of the lensing of the light propagating through the water displaced by the submarine and the center of the submarine itself is going to remain the same as the submarine moves through the water. The submarine continually displaces different regions of the water. The state of the water connected to and neighboring the submarine remains the same as the submarine moves through the water even though it is not the same water the submarine continually displaces. This is what is occurring as the galaxy clusters move through and displace the aether.

  18. #18 leia
    December 25, 2014

    Occam’s razor:

    In a double slit experiment the particle travels a well defined path which takes it through one slit. The associated wave in the aether passes through both. As the wave exits the slits it creates wave interference. As the particle exits a single slit the direction it travels is altered by the wave interference. This is the wave guiding the particle. Detecting the particle strongly exiting a single slit destroys the cohesion between the particle and its associated wave in the aether, the particle continues on the trajectory it was traveling and does not form an interference pattern.

  19. #19 DoubleDonn
    CA
    December 25, 2014

    Regarding the$1000 to $1 bet; as Samuel Butler noted several centuries ago, “Fools for arguments use wagers.”

  20. #20 Wow
    December 25, 2014

    No aether.

  21. #21 leia
    December 25, 2014

    Occam’s razor:

    In a double slit experiment it is the aether that waves.

  22. #22 N.
    December 25, 2014

    OK, leia. Ether exist.
    It’s Christmas, after all.
    🙂

  23. #23 leia
    December 25, 2014

    Occam’s razor:

    Q. Why is the particle always detected traveling through a single slit in a double slit experiment?
    A. The particle always travels through a single slit. It is the associated wave in the aether which passes through both.

  24. #24 Chromehawk
    Pacific Northwest
    December 25, 2014

    Occam’s razor is very often misused, confused, and misapplied.

    All things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the best.

    Actually since |ccam wrote in Latin you need to work a precise interpretation.

    Why is this important?
    Best example is DesCartes most famours quote.
    “I think, therefore I am”

    This is a correct interpretation. But not precise, because we have come up with much more precise words than SUM to mean be am etc. ( the above interpreatation also misses out on the imperative in there ).

    A better interpretation would be “I think, therefore, I MUST Exist.”

    And today’s individual would understand that concept quickly.

    Occam’s Razor says “For any phenomenae, the simplest explanation is preferred.”
    I would accept your wording if you inserted preferred for best.
    Because best is not the right meaning.
    so … All things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually preferred.

    Now the important thing for how the razor is often misused is :
    PREFERRED does NOT mean TRUE!!!

    Seriously.
    The simplest explanation is not guaranteed to be TRUE!!!!

    In fact, if Chaos theory is correct — the simplest explanation may be preferred. But it is undoubtably false ( or at least wildly incomplete ).

    Most often it is due to not thinking about a connection — hence we do not see the connection. This is covered in the part about “all things being equal” — if we do not think about a connection it is NOT equal. We just do not know it.
    no one thinks that the moon has any influence in the birth dates of human beings.
    Yet 27% of all women have periods coinciding with the full moon.
    Most likely time to get pregnant is two weeks after the period.
    The moon is full all of 3 days out of 28 — for approx 11% of women by random should match those days.
    27% is too statiscally variant to be random.

    Of course the WORST misuse of Occam’s Razor is to use it as “Logical proof” something does not exist.
    NO … it says the simplest explanation is PREFERRED. Not that anything not involved with simple explanations do not exist.

    Hell, Occam’s Razor can NOT be used to prove a single damn thing!
    It is a tool to be used to direct investigation towards the most fruitful path.
    What happens when you go down the simple path and find it does not sufficiently explain an event is you look to add to the explanation something that would/could.
    The effort spent on those things you know “at the minimum” are involved in an event are not wasted — they are involved. You just need more.
    If you have things involved in an investigation that have no bearing on explaining the event — when you figure that out — all the time you spent on those things are wasted.

    Summary :
    1 ) Occam’s Razor gives NO Guarantee the explanation for an event are TRUE.
    Absolutely NONE.
    2 ) Occam’s razor can not prove ANYTHING — it certainly cannot prove the lack of existence of anything.
    3 ) Occam’s razor is only a tool for selecting the most fruitful paths of investigation to minimize time wastage.

  25. #25 Bezotch
    December 25, 2014

    Chromehawk:
    While you are correct that Occam’s razor does not prove anything, and that it can not be employed as evidence for or against an argument, I would say that it is a little stronger than merely a tool for selecting paths of investigation. I would suggest that you add that implicit in Occam’s razor is that:
    4) in the absence of a concrete reason to do otherwise, a rational mind will begin with the premise that the simplest solution is the most likely to be the correct answer, and will retain that position unless and until given a vilid reason to change. To do otherwise, is irrational.

    It can be used to judge not only the rationality of approach, but the rationality of a viewpoint’s advocate.

    While it may not speak to whether or not a viewpoint that contains layer upon layer (upon layer, upon layer…) of unknown and unprovable assumptions is correct, it speaks volumes about the rationality of those who insist it is the most logical, cf. aether rants above.

  26. #26 leia
    December 26, 2014

    Chromehawk,

    Chaos theory leads to Occam’s razor.

    NON-LINEAR WAVE MECHANICS A CAUSAL INTERPRETATION by LOUIS DE BROGLIE

    “Since 1954, when this passage was written, I have come to support wholeheartedly an hypothesis proposed by Bohm and Vigier. According to this hypothesis, the random perturbations to which the particle would be constantly subjected, and which would have the probability of presence in terms of [the wave-function wave], arise from the interaction of the particle with a “subquantic medium” which escapes our observation and is entirely chaotic, and which is everywhere present in what we call “empty space”.”

    The “subquantic medium” is the aether.

    ‘Fluid mechanics suggests alternative to quantum orthodoxy’
    http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/fluid-systems-quantum-mechanics-0912

    “The fluidic pilot-wave system is also chaotic. It’s impossible to measure a bouncing droplet’s position accurately enough to predict its trajectory very far into the future. But in a recent series of papers, Bush, MIT professor of applied mathematics Ruben Rosales, and graduate students Anand Oza and Dan Harris applied their pilot-wave theory to show how chaotic pilot-wave dynamics leads to the quantumlike statistics observed in their experiments.”

    A “fluidic pilot-wave system” is the aether.

    ‘When Fluid Dynamics Mimic Quantum Mechanics’
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729111934.htm

    “If you have a system that is deterministic and is what we call in the business ‘chaotic,’ or sensitive to initial conditions, sensitive to perturbations, then it can behave probabilistically,” Milewski continues. “Experiments like this weren’t available to the giants of quantum mechanics. They also didn’t know anything about chaos. Suppose these guys — who were puzzled by why the world behaves in this strange probabilistic way — actually had access to experiments like this and had the knowledge of chaos, would they have come up with an equivalent, deterministic theory of quantum mechanics, which is not the current one? That’s what I find exciting from the quantum perspective.”

    What waves in a double slit experiment is the aether.

  27. #27 Wow
    December 26, 2014

    You know you’re not supposed to cut your throat with Occam’s Razor, right?

  28. #28 Wow
    December 26, 2014

    In fact, if Chaos theory is correct — the simplest explanation may be preferred. But it is undoubtably false ( or at least wildly incomplete ).

    In fact, with this statement, you’ve shown you neither know what Chaos Theory is, nor even what Theory is.

  29. #29 Wow
    December 26, 2014

    Q. Why is the particle always detected traveling through a single slit in a double slit experiment?

    Begging the question? You just did it.

    If you know which slit the particle went through, there is no interference wave. Ergo, there’s nothing “traveling through both slits”.

  30. #30 leia
    December 26, 2014

    ‘1st place: Shifting the morals of quantum measurement’
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2011/dec/16/physics-world-reveals-its-top-10-breakthroughs-for-2011

    “Using an emerging technique called “weak measurement”, the team is the first to track the average paths of single photons passing through a Young’s double-slit experiment – something that Steinberg says physicists had been “brainwashed” into thinking is impossible.”[

    ‘Quantum mechanics rule ‘bent’ in classic experiment’
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13626587

    ‘For his part, Professor Steinberg believes that the result reduces a limitation not on quantum physics but on physicists themselves. “I feel like we’re starting to pull back a veil on what nature really is,” he said. “The trouble with quantum mechanics is that while we’ve learned to calculate the outcomes of all sorts of experiments, we’ve lost much of our ability to describe what is really happening in any natural language. I think that this has really hampered our ability to make progress, to come up with new ideas and see intuitively how new systems ought to behave.”‘

    ‘New ‘Double Slit’ Experiment Skirts Uncertainty Principle’
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=new-double-slit-experiment-skirts-uncertainty-principle

    “Intriguingly, the trajectories closely match those predicted by an unconventional interpretation of quantum mechanics known as pilot-wave theory, in which each particle has a well-defined trajectory that takes it through one slit while the associated wave passes through both slits.”

    A moving particle has an associated aether displacement wave. In a double slit experiment the particle travels through a single slit. It is the associated wave which passes through both. As the wave exits the slits it creates wave interference. As the particle exits a single slit the direction it travels is altered by the wave interference. This is the wave guiding the particle. Strongly detecting the particle causes a loss of cohesion between the particle and its associated wave, the particle continues on the trajectory it was traveling and it does not form an interference pattern.

    What waves in a double slit experiment is the aether.

  31. #31 Wow
    December 26, 2014

    “What waves in a double slit experiment is the aether.”

    No, electromagnetic waves wave in a double split experiment.

  32. #32 leia
    December 26, 2014

    Dark matter is now known to fill what would otherwise be considered to be empty space.

    ‘Cosmologists at Penn Weigh Cosmic Filaments and Voids’
    http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/cosmologists-penn-weigh-cosmic-filaments-and-voids

    “Dark matter … permeate all the way to the center of the voids.”

    ‘No Empty Space in the Universe –Dark Matter Discovered to Fill Intergalactic Space’
    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/02/no-empty-space-in-the-universe-dark-matter-discovered-to-fill-intergalactic-space-.html

    “A long standing mystery on where the missing dark matter is has been solved by the research. There is no empty space in the universe. The intergalactic space is filled with dark matter.”

    Dark matter which fills what we call ’empty’ space is otherwise known as the aether.

    ‘Dark Matter’s New Wrinkle: It May Behave Like Wavy Fluid’
    http://www.space.com/27744-dark-matter-wavy-fluid-galaxies.html

    Dark matter behaves like a wavy fluid.

    There is evidence of the aether every time a double slit experiment is performed; it’s what waves.

  33. #33 Wow
    December 26, 2014

    it’s what waves.

    Sanity waved goodbye to you *years* ago, didn’t it.

    Did you even wave back?

  34. #34 leia
    December 26, 2014

    ‘Ether and the Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein’
    http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Extras/Einstein_ether.html

    “Think of waves on the surface of water. Here we can describe two entirely different things. Either we may observe how the undulatory surface forming the boundary between water and air alters in the course of time; or else-with the help of small floats, for instance – we can observe how the position of the separate particles of water alters in the course of time. If the existence of such floats for tracking the motion of the particles of a fluid were a fundamental impossibility in physics – if, in fact nothing else whatever were observable than the shape of the space occupied by the water as it varies in time, we should have no ground for the assumption that water consists of movable particles. But all the same we could characterise it as a medium.”

    if, in fact nothing else whatever were observable than the shape of the space occupied by the aether as it varies in time, we should have no ground for the assumption that aether consists of movable particles. But all the same we could characterise it as a medium having mass which is displaced by the particles of matter which exist in it and move through it.

  35. #35 Pavel
    December 27, 2014

    As i see very often in discussions about Occam’s Razor, it is often even identify what is a new assumption.

    For example Dirac is often blamed that he didn’t respect the Occam’s Razor when he discovered the positron. They say he added new assumption that even the negative solutions of his equation are physical. But from mu point of view he followed the Occam’s razor strictly. He just assumed that his equation describes EM interactions. And eliminating the negative solution is a new unmotivated assumption which he didn’t add.

  36. #36 Wow
    December 28, 2014

    leia, instead of spamming your crap all over the site, read this and post here where you won’t be banned for antisocial behaviour:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

    Refuse to go and you can be banned.

  37. #37 Marshall Eubanks
    Clifton, Virginia, USA
    December 30, 2014

    Occam’s Razor is like circumstantial evidence – it can seem to point strongly in one direction, but change your point of view, and it can point in a different direction entirely.

    In the current case, I regard the existence of present-day Martian life to be the simplest explanation for the biological status of Mars, given that Mars and the Earth have been exchanging many tons of biological material (via meteorites) for billions of years. To me, it does not seem simple to assume that all of this material fell on Mars with no effect. This viewpoint can be pithily expressed as “We will meet the Martians, and they will be us.” (Of course, this is from a microbial perspective, and it is entirely possible we will be them instead.) That does not mean that this is not at the present moment an _extraordinary_ claim, in the sense of Carl Sagan’s ” Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” It is, and it does, but that is a different matter.

    So, from this viewpoint, the simplest explanation of the previous failure of MSL to find Methane was that it is episodically produced and consumed. From this perspective, the current results are thus not surprising at all. Gratifying, but not surprising.

    By the way, I would not take that bet. MSL 2020 is not intended to search for current life. Now, if you want to bet on the returned samples…

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