Re: Social Science Fiction?

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 00:23:31 -0500

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> "I'm not willing to believe that everything is made out of these tiny
> whizzing atoms. Well, I'm willing to believe that uranium is, because
> physicists have demonstrated that they can use it to vaporize cities."
> - Dave Barry
> When economists can do something cool - instead of scurrying around
> producing contradictory explanations, incorrect predictions, and
> hideously failed recommendations - they'll get the public's respect.
> Until then, no matter how much economists try to imitate the jargon,
> titles, and procedures of scientists, and no matter how many volumes of
> ANOVAed statistics they produce to hide the lack of any high-level
> rules, the public will rightly regard them as being on a level with astrologers.

I think you may be looking at the phenomenon backward here, Eli. I doubt that anyone can claim that Greenspan, Rubin, and the rest of his team have done an outstanding job managing the economy and rescuing many other countries from the brink of falling into the Asian morass.

Where I think astrologers come in is that there are far too many people on Wall Street who know that there are far too many imbeciles with money in the US who put more credence in the vague soothsaying of their astrologers and phone psychics than in economists. The one thing that prevents economists from being more precise is because of the FUD factor that is produced by such superstitious investing strategies (FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt).

> I believe in science because science has produced technology. No
> technology, it isn't science. And that also goes for superstring
> theory, but physicists get the benefit of the doubt, from the media if
> not from me, because vaporizing cities is so impressive.

I think that I figured out why more scientists than ever claim they beleive in god or some supreme being: scientists are smart enough to realize that by doing so, the average dope on the street is going to say to himself,"Gee, he is a god fearing man, he must be ok and trustworthy." So being a beleiver may paradoxically give scientists more credence in the public's eyes.

   Michael Lorrey, President
                        Lorrey Systems
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