Critics haven’t yet got to “it’s just a fluke.”
However it turns out, lawyer Edward Sisson writes to say,
The Frank Close argument presented below [here] (that the distance may have been mis-measured) is a question that would have been central to the design of the experiment in the first place, long before any actual data-collection was done. Thus, it seems to me that the people designing the experiment would not even have bothered to go ahead with it, unless they were satisfied that their technique for measurement of distance was reliable. The questioning of the distance-measuring technique is now being raised because the result of the experiment does not fit the theory. Selective special scrutiny of only aberrant results, rather than every result, produces an inherently biased experiment.
This reminds me of Milliken’s “oil drop” experiment to determine the charge on the electron, which was the subject of one of the episodes of the 1980s physics TV series “The Mechanical Universe.” Each time the experiment produced a result that was in accord with the theory, it was accepted as accurate, but each time the experiment produced a divergent result, there was a lot of inquiry into possible flaws in the operation of the experimental apparatus during that particular trial. The point made in the TV series is that the scrutiny of the apparatus only occurred with divergent results, never with consistent results.