Reading an article titled, “The Man Who Thinks He Has Solved the MH370 Mystery,” in which a former Malaysian political leader expouds his theory on why MH370 crashed. The commentary appears to have been written in a tongue-in-cheek tone, but Dr. Mahathir’s statements are still aggravating.
To summarize, the author makes several statements in which he presumes sophisticated technological capabilities on the part of Boeing and various world governments and at the same time demonstrates a total lack of understanding about how those technologies work. Among the weirdest claims:
He has the ability to track any plane in the world from his phone. If the plane disappears from everyone’s mobile phones, then something on the plane must have been disabled. Right. Because the plane transmits directly to your phone and your phone is the best aircraft detection tool available to man.
Countries possess extremely high resolution spy satellites, so they must be able to photograph a large plane. He presumes (a) that satellites can cover the entire globe with equal resolution at all times, rather than moving into position on a orbital path, (b) that the guy responsible for tracking the plane has the phone number of the guy responsible for operating the spy camera, and (c) that the spy camera operator knew to look for the plane before it was underwater.
Boeing has the ability to take control of the aircraft remotely. I am not familiar any example of an aircraft in distress being remotely overriden by the manufacturer. If I’m wrong here, someone please correct me. My understanding is that once the aircraft leaves the factory, Boeing would have almost nothing more to do with it. They might put out recommendations on new fixes or maintenance, but everything from that point on is on the shoulders of the customer. And again, this is under the assumption that (a) Boeing tracks their aircraft in the sky and know if something goes wrong or (b) the guy responsible for tracking the aircraft has the Boeing Remote Control Help Desk on speed dial.
There are so many communications devices and GPS’s built in that it should be impossible for them to all fail. It carries the implication that if the devices failed by accident it is Boeing’s fault for building crappy devices, and if someone could deliberately sabotage them, then it is Boeing’s fault for makng them easy to sabotage. According to this article, this is factually untrue:
In addition to the factual and logical fallacies listed above, I see a few overarching fallacies, some of them quite willfull and made in bad faith:
A) The Man-On-The-Moon fallacy. That is, “if humanity has the technology to put a man on the moon, why can it not accomplish X?” He repeatedly assumes technological capabilities and attributes them almost magical powers, and completely ignores the limitations of technologies or places responsibility where it should not rest.
B) Racism. All Malaysians are perfect and wonderful and do everything right. If anything went wrong, it had to be the West’s fault.
C) Motive force. As in all conspiracy theories, shit does not happen. Everything is attributable to a willfull decision made by one or more parties. Acts of God, random crazy people, and straight up instances of bad luck do not exist.
D) Random, motiveless violence. Of all the things that go wrong in conspiracy theories, this is the one that baffles me the most. In a Western mindset, a person must have a motive in order to commit an act of evil. That is to say, we expect to be able to articulate why a person intended to do something and what they hoped to gain from it. In other cultures, it appears totally acceptable that someone would intend to inflict violence or death on a random, meaningless basis, even if it is utterly counterproductive. This comes up repeatedly in conspiracy theories of all sorts.
Some government, Illuminatus, or Men in Black, willfully and deliberately set out to target Jim Bob Jones, itenerant pig farmer of Cotton Grove, Louisiana, to destroy his life. Nobody can ever explain why the world’s mightiest governments and most secret of societies would bother to care about Jim Bob or his pigs. Nor can the theorist explain why “THEY” would expend what must have been vast amounts of capital, technology, and scores of highly trained operatives in an effort to crush Jim Bob and his pig farm. Because reasons.
So this guy’s opinion, just like everything else in this horrible world, is a load of bullshit.