How long do you wait for something to not happen?

The son shows up at high tea wearing a dirty old wrinkled African bush hat.  His mother asks him, "Why are you wearing that awful hat?"  He says, "It keeps the elephants away."  

"That's absurd," she replies.  He says, "Do you see any elephants around here?"

Such is the twisted and strained logic of implied cause and effect.  If B occurs after A, then A caused B?  It gets worse.

The frustrated mother tells her little girl that if she does not eat her vegetables, the boogey man will come while she is sleeping and take her away.  The little girl wolfs down her veggies, and the boogeyman does not come.  The  mother sees in this the means to control her otherwise wayward child. 

But still, the control mechanism is not completely refined.  The element of time must be inserted.

In my younger years, I did a lot of R&D.  It involved much testing and reams of data.  As it happens, almost all testing of this sort is accelerated testing, because we can't test for thirty years to see what this machine will be like after thirty years of use, even though that is the intended life of the machine.  It also happens that all accelerated testing is flawed because of all the variables that are distorted by the acceleration of the tests.  Many supposedly sophisticated people think there are ways around this dilemma, but there are none.  Whenever you see the experts tweaking the data to compensate for "confounding variables," you should be very dismissive of the conclusions they squeeze from the tortured model.  In these cases, science has become fiction.

So it was that days and months and years went by while I sat at various workstations watching the data flow out of beleaguered machines, looking for the flaws in their designs.  That was when the question occurred to me: "How long do you wait for something to not happen?" 

How long do you wait for something to not happen and then declare that it is not going to happen?

Various experts and intellectuals forecast warnings of things to come if we don't change our ways.  These are mostly people from academia.  The warnings go something like this: "If you don't (change your ways and stop doing (fill in the blank), this very bad thing (fill in the blank again) will happen, and human life as we know it will be destroyed.  You must do as I say to avoid this catastrophe."  Note the similarity to the eat-your-veggies model.

If that were all there was to the manipulation, it would be a little thin and might not work.  The element of time is critical here.  

Take, for example, global cooling.  It is not effective to claim that if we don't do X or refrain from doing Y, life as we know it will end tomorrow morning.  We can't change things much in part of a day, and when we wake up tomorrow, things will be pretty much as they were yesterday.  The prophet of doom is thus proven wrong, and his credibility is lost when he tries his next manipulation.  In the case of global cooling, destruction didn't happen, but the end point was far enough out that it could be hoped that people would forget who said what back then.

A variation on this ploy is global warming.  This one, they pushed out about twelve years.  One refinement is to push it out twelve years today, twelve years from tomorrow, and always twelve years without ever starting the countdown.   Another refinement of this technique is to run out the clock and claim that the efforts to avoid the catastrophe were successful or at least successful enough to avoid any obvious signs of our ultimate destruction.

Another refinement in this line came after doom was predicted from global warming.  After the initial prediction of disaster by global warming, nothing much happened.  No warming.  The brain trust quickly moved to climate change.  Thus, any change, whether warming or cooling, was a sign that the end is near.

Now back to the question of whether A caused B.  As the theory goes, the use of fossil fuel causes global warm...er, no, it causes climate change.  Since in the history of the Earth there has been extreme warming and cooling, much of it before man actually existed on Earth, maybe something else causes B, and A is innocent.  

Again, how long do we wait for something to not happen?  Keep in mind they are just waiting for us to forget that all this stuff happens with or without man being present.

If you don't change your ways, the boogey man will come and take you away.  So eat your veggies.

Jerry Powlas has been a naval officer, engineer, and publisher and is the author of Red State Rebellion (available through Amazon).  "Everybody should read this book and tell his friends."  He lives in the burbs of Minneapolis with his wife Karen.  When not there, they can be found sailing their boat somewhere on Lake Superior.

The son shows up at high tea wearing a dirty old wrinkled African bush hat.  His mother asks him, "Why are you wearing that awful hat?"  He says, "It keeps the elephants away."  

"That's absurd," she replies.  He says, "Do you see any elephants around here?"

Such is the twisted and strained logic of implied cause and effect.  If B occurs after A, then A caused B?  It gets worse.

The frustrated mother tells her little girl that if she does not eat her vegetables, the boogey man will come while she is sleeping and take her away.  The little girl wolfs down her veggies, and the boogeyman does not come.  The  mother sees in this the means to control her otherwise wayward child. 

But still, the control mechanism is not completely refined.  The element of time must be inserted.

In my younger years, I did a lot of R&D.  It involved much testing and reams of data.  As it happens, almost all testing of this sort is accelerated testing, because we can't test for thirty years to see what this machine will be like after thirty years of use, even though that is the intended life of the machine.  It also happens that all accelerated testing is flawed because of all the variables that are distorted by the acceleration of the tests.  Many supposedly sophisticated people think there are ways around this dilemma, but there are none.  Whenever you see the experts tweaking the data to compensate for "confounding variables," you should be very dismissive of the conclusions they squeeze from the tortured model.  In these cases, science has become fiction.

So it was that days and months and years went by while I sat at various workstations watching the data flow out of beleaguered machines, looking for the flaws in their designs.  That was when the question occurred to me: "How long do you wait for something to not happen?" 

How long do you wait for something to not happen and then declare that it is not going to happen?

Various experts and intellectuals forecast warnings of things to come if we don't change our ways.  These are mostly people from academia.  The warnings go something like this: "If you don't (change your ways and stop doing (fill in the blank), this very bad thing (fill in the blank again) will happen, and human life as we know it will be destroyed.  You must do as I say to avoid this catastrophe."  Note the similarity to the eat-your-veggies model.

If that were all there was to the manipulation, it would be a little thin and might not work.  The element of time is critical here.  

Take, for example, global cooling.  It is not effective to claim that if we don't do X or refrain from doing Y, life as we know it will end tomorrow morning.  We can't change things much in part of a day, and when we wake up tomorrow, things will be pretty much as they were yesterday.  The prophet of doom is thus proven wrong, and his credibility is lost when he tries his next manipulation.  In the case of global cooling, destruction didn't happen, but the end point was far enough out that it could be hoped that people would forget who said what back then.

A variation on this ploy is global warming.  This one, they pushed out about twelve years.  One refinement is to push it out twelve years today, twelve years from tomorrow, and always twelve years without ever starting the countdown.   Another refinement of this technique is to run out the clock and claim that the efforts to avoid the catastrophe were successful or at least successful enough to avoid any obvious signs of our ultimate destruction.

Another refinement in this line came after doom was predicted from global warming.  After the initial prediction of disaster by global warming, nothing much happened.  No warming.  The brain trust quickly moved to climate change.  Thus, any change, whether warming or cooling, was a sign that the end is near.

Now back to the question of whether A caused B.  As the theory goes, the use of fossil fuel causes global warm...er, no, it causes climate change.  Since in the history of the Earth there has been extreme warming and cooling, much of it before man actually existed on Earth, maybe something else causes B, and A is innocent.  

Again, how long do we wait for something to not happen?  Keep in mind they are just waiting for us to forget that all this stuff happens with or without man being present.

If you don't change your ways, the boogey man will come and take you away.  So eat your veggies.

Jerry Powlas has been a naval officer, engineer, and publisher and is the author of Red State Rebellion (available through Amazon).  "Everybody should read this book and tell his friends."  He lives in the burbs of Minneapolis with his wife Karen.  When not there, they can be found sailing their boat somewhere on Lake Superior.