Re: poly: Modeling Economic Singularities

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Sat May 02 1998 - 20:27:12 PDT

>> Here are some related experiments which give economists confidence
>> in equations related to those I used in my model:
>I'm not asking for experiments on RELATED equations. After all, in a
>highly non-linear world, lord knows what sort of small changes make a
>difference. For years, drug companies didn't understand that racemic
>mixtures had highly different properties from monoisomeric ones.
>I'm therefore asking for whether or not you have experimental evidence
>for *YOUR* model. "Yours and yours alone."
>Do you have any experimental evidence for *your* model?

I think you're playing rhetorical games. Of course I don't have an
experiment directly testing a model of future world growth rates.
I haven't set up a planet in a situation like ours and seen what
happens past the point where we are. How could you possibly be
uncertain about this point? If you are willing to consider something
else as a relevant experiment, then what exactly would you count
as a relevant experiment for a model of future world interest rates?

I'm also beginning to suspect that you really aren't familiar with the
practice of science or engineering in any area which makes substantial
use of mathematical theories. The whole point of a theory is to let
you extrapolate beyond the data which gives you confidence in it. If
you're always going to ignore theory outside the exact context of the
data which supports it, because "lord knows what sort of small changes
make a difference", then you might as well not have any theory at all.
Just graph the data and extrapolate from there.

>The "overall" approach isn't sufficient. If you have a mathematical
>model, at the very least you have to try plugging in historical data
>into the stated equations and see if it comes out with a reasonable
>match. Even that isn't always enough.

You specifically asked for experiments. If you are willing to look at
attempts tests on historical data, I can point you to vast numbers of
data analyses supporting the types of equations I used.
Received on Sun May 3 03:28:25 1998

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