This issue is much simpler than it's being made out to be. The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution reads as follows:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
So, if the US Government got a proper search warrant, then Apple is legally obligated to do as legally ordered and unlock the phone- in this instance. Just as a single instance of issuing a search warrant doesn't allow for all future searches to take place without one, any future requests to unlock phones require their own proper search warrants. If the US Government doesn't have a proper search warrant to unlock the phone, then Apple has the perfect legal right to tell them to pound sand.
"We must fall back upon the old axiom that when all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." – The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
Translation: if no other explanations work, then "weird alien megastructure" could well be the last standing contingency, and therefore, the truth.
IT'S PEOPLE! IT'S MADE OF PEOPLE!
Like I said, obligatory. But, as has been noted, it's hardly a radical thought- chances are that, no matter where you stand, there's a dead body buried beneath you. If that makes you uncomfortable, well, see if you can get up on the Cloud Ark or something.
Whether or not it's a science, economics is horrid at predicting the future. Case in point: all the economists who insisted that the Clinton tax hikes in the '90s would cause a recession, or all the economists- probably the same ones, really- who insisted that Obama's policies would result in a spike in inflation. In both cases, the exact opposite occurred: the economy boomed in the '90s, and inflation has remained a non-issue since Obama took office.
Economics is an attempt to explain, well, how economies work. If economics were any good at this, then one would expect that economists would be able to use their theories to predict how a given policy would play out in the economy. And, in a huge percentage of cases, they fail miserably at this. To be honest, beyond supply and demand, I'm not entirely what economic theories can been shown to actually have any predictive value.
Economics seems to exist to give jobs to the otherwise unemployable. After all, the entire field seems to specialise in predicting the past, yet managing to get it wrong anyhow. I say "predicting the past" b/c economists have a horrid track record of predicting the future.
But, then again, economics has gotta be a great field for job security. When's the last time you heard of an unemployed economist?
1) Write app
Code name: Star Blazers! Cue the theme, raise the Yamato, and ready the wave motion gun!