Thursday, 4 April 2013

Long term predictions are not science, so must be lies

In science and life in general it's always best to work with the present and what history you already know. Outside a linear system nothing else can be determined at a level beyond slightly above random (ie 0 on a level of -1 to 1), whether in science, economics or politics. There are at best clues how the dominant areas of any complex system can react to new inputs (eg added CO2 or new taxes) but only give the roughest estimate at a general direction, but not the actual level of that change in that direction. In reailty every scientist knows this already as we even got that in week one sociology as part of the underlying scientific method we would base our work on ever after.

Such predictions are best avoided altogether, as besides being inherently worthless (as the error margin is not wider than the level of uncertainty, meaning the results cannot be seen ahead at a greater level than random), and where made at all are only a form of speculation in regard for things like long term insurance and financial policies, as the best available information. As for general economic or scientific policy they give little or no additional benefit, simply as the complexities of the world economy and society at any point in time mean changes can be so rapid that any attempt to fix the parameters will only be minimal and become obsolete within weeks or months.

Politicians do not care about science or ethics, their primary consideration is election, so whatever they believe will keep them in power is their first motivation. The second is what personal gains can they get from the policies, from lobbyists (ie bribery), investments (inside trading) or appointment of family or friends (nepotism). Those are the main reasons people rise to the top level in politics, anyone below that may indeed be ethical, but as always the minority are never enough or can be to make good policies for the benefit of the people.

Making any long term predictions outside the widest and least controversial areas are therefore knowingly dishonest, and anyone hearing them should immediately label the speaker as such, as every single medium to long term prediction in science, politics and economics (eg the fall of capitalism or coming ice age) has been bogus, as proved by the actual results decades or more later.