Re: [asa] Trees don't lie

From: Glenn Morton <>
Date: Sat Mar 21 2009 - 15:05:53 EDT

George wrote Saturday, March 21, 2009 10:11 AM

> I agree that in some fields "expertise" is overrated. It's pretty funny,
> in a gallow humors way, to hear the argument that financial firms have to
> pay big bonuses in order to hold on to the people whose "expertise" has
> driven the company, & maybe the country, into the ground. OTOH there's a
> populist temptation to debunk the idea of expertise because then "we're
> just as good as they are." & it's not clear that being able to predict
> the future is always the best criterion.

There is no doubt that a physicist knows the equations and where it comes to
deterministic systems, the physicist will do way better than anyone else.
But, most systems we humans deal with are decidedly NOT linear or
deterministic. They are non-linear. And one thing that should have been
learned, but apparently hasn't been by many in the field of science, NO ONE
can predict the state of a nonlinear system after a certain period of time.
The physicist is as helpless as the plumber or homeless person and thus, all
guesses will have the equivalent chance of success.

that is why experts differ on what the stock market will do, what the
weather will be like next week etc. And when it comes to global warming,
everyone is absolutely sure that they know what this grand nonlinear system
we call climate will do. They are acting as if it is a linear system when it
is decidedly nonlinear.

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Received on Sat Mar 21 15:06:17 2009

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