The Ring Laser Gyroscope is a consumer device version of the Michelson-Gale Pearson experiment. The principle of operation of these devices is based on the Sagnac Effect, which was famed for showing that light changes velocity on a rotating platform. Like with the Michelson-Gale-Pearson experiment, some have alleged that Ring Laser Gyroscopes have detected the rotation of the earth.
“ The outcome of the MGP experiment was ambiguous, though maybe no more ambiguous than the small persistent positive shift observed in MM experiments. Composed of 269 separate tests with readings that varied from -0.04 to +0.55 of a fringe, and a mean at +0.26 fringes, the MGP experiment could be interpreted to yield a positive result of ≈ 0.3 km/s - therefore near the speed of the earth's rotation, but the result was of borderline significance. It could be said that the experiment was inconclusive because it adduced neither proof that there was a shift in the phase of the light beams, nor that there wasn't one. ”
Essentially the tests saw wild results. There was almost no change to light's velocity in one test, and then a lot of change in another test. It is perplexing that the rotation of the earth would start and stop when tested at different times. Only through the statistics was it claimed that the experiment saw the rotation of the earth. The inconsistent results were ambiguous in nature and could offer no evidence of the shift in the phase of the light beams.
As stated above, the results of the Michelson-Gale-Pearson experiment were inconsistent and an algorithm was applied to get the desired result. If we are to say that the Ring Laser Gyroscope is the same device, then the same criticism would apply.
Importance of Consistency
In attempt of correlating such results with the rotation of the earth the mean is discussed, but what of the average or the median? What of the fact that one of the extremes is near zero? Which is the baseline that is being modified?
Consistency in empirical experimental investigation is of prime importance to science integrity. Were one to conclude from such an experiment that the earth is rotating, but also imagines that a mechanism is modifying the results from their own favored ideal to create the inconsistent results seen, the conclusion is fallacious. That imagined mechanism which modified the results could equally be creating those results. One sees that consistency is required for any valid test of a phenomena. In sciences which are not desperate to prove something, experiments with inconsistent results are often rejected altogether for that very reason.
Cause of Noise
While inconsistent experiments are invalid as demonstration of any particular cause, one potential cause of the noise in these very sensitive devices is seismic disturbance. See: Ring Laser Gyroscope - Seismology