Brandolini’s law, also known as the bullsh*t asymmetry principle, is an adage that states:
“The amount of energy needed to refute bullsh*t is an order of magnitude larger than to produce it.”
The basic idea is that it takes very little effort to make false or misleading claims, but debunking bad faith arguments requires substantially more time and effort. This principle, named after Italian programmer Alberto Brandolini, encapsulates the insight that bullsh*t tends to be easier to state confidently than nuanced facts and rational arguments.
Grand Visions and Hype Spread Quickly
Brandolini’s law has some very relevant implications for experts trying to provide realistic analysis of trending topics in the rapidly evolving new space economy, some examples include:
Revolutionary space technologies – Grandiose claims about their transformative potential often spread rapidly through press releases, promotional materials, and hype-driven media coverage. However, actual experts may lack the time and platforms to provide nuanced analysis.
Space tourism and colonization – Advocates make sweeping visions of humanity’s future in space sound highly plausible to general audiences. But researching the enormous technical and economic obstacles takes far more specialized knowledge.
Market projections – Trillion-dollar space market projections rely on questionable assumptions. More sober analyses struggle to attract the same attention.
Experts Face an Uphill Battle
In essence, grandiose but unsupported claims about the promise of the space industry tend to spread more readily than informed critiques. Combating hype and misinformation is vital but requires much more effort from experts.
The asymmetry between producing and debunking plausible but wrong arguments means that realistic analysis often struggles to gain traction. But this makes the work of credible experts even more important in steering the public discourse around the new space economy onto a more informed path.