A conversation off the Skeptics newsgroup.

First writer: How many UFO believers does it take to change a lightbulb?

  • none — lights in the sky are alien craft, and skeptical talk of white hot tungsten filaments is typical fringe debunkery.
  • four — one to change the bulb in the model, one to hold the camera, one to shake it so the photo is blurred, one to call the press conference.

Second writer: So how many UFO debunkers does it take to change a light bulb?

  • Two to determine that there is sufficient evidence that the bulb is no longer shining.
  • Two to replicate the observations that there does indeed appear to be an absence of illumination.
  • Two to recommend that they must test the hypothesis that bulb replacement will result in a renewed source of light.
  • Two to explain why bulb replacement will result in a renewed source of light.
  • One to actually do the physical changing.
  • Six teams of four apiece to replicate the bulb changing under controlled conditions.
  • Six referees at two peer-reviewed journals who will review the bulb-changing findings for publication.
  • One debunker to note that the entire event was anecdotal and may not have ever happened; and even if it did happen, the bulb-changing may have contained an undetected flaw.

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