Quote of the Day: ephemerol on Losing Your Shorts. And Your Planet.

Quote of the Day: ephemerol on Losing Your Shorts. And Your Planet. September 17, 2017

I like this, from one of our several discussions on consensus:

All scientific hypotheses, theories, models, conclusions, consensuses, etc., are always provisional, rather than dogmatic. What scientists can say for certain is that certain correlations either are present or are not present in their observations. Extrapolations, such as the cause of the observed phenomenon, those things are much more difficult to establish, they depend on inductive arguments, and confidence in them will always be lower. But it’s not like we haven’t been tossing lots of CO2 into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution, and that now CO2 is, I think, higher than it has been in 800,000 years according to the ice core samples we can find.

In the financial markets, betting the market is wrong because of idiosyncratic, delusional ideas, usually results in losing your shorts very quickly. In other areas of life, when you bet against a scientific consensus, you may have to wait decades in the case of AGW, or much longer if ever in cases like evolution, before losing your shorts. The cheaper it is to be wrong, or the longer it takes for the consequences of being wrong to come home to roost, the more contrarians you’re going to have, all else being equal. Trouble is, 1) losing your shorts in the market might mean you become homeless, but it never means losing your entire fucking planet, at least not until we begin trading in the intergalactic markets, and 2) we’re all along for the ride with the summary bet we’re collectively placing with our greenhouse gas outputs. Whether we are fools or not will not be decided on an individual basis, but on a planetary one.


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