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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Think-tanks and astrology

PTI reports:
The fight against terrorism could last 30 years or more, according to a report by a British think-tank specialising in international security.

"There is every prospect of the 'war on terror' extending for 30 years or more," the report by the Oxford Research Group said on Monday.
This is rubbish. I do not care what methods these people used, you cannot see that far into the future. What happens in the world is determined by a mix of terribly complex events that are impossible for individuals to evaluate or predict or even understand fully in retrospect. Anyone who claims to be able to look 30 years ahead is essentially talking mumbo-jumbo, no more deserving of respect than your standard newspaper astrologer or roadside palmist.

And I'm sure you'd agree that even if the fight against terrorism does last "30 years or more," as is entirely likely, it does not mean that this think-tank was on to something. I can pretend to read a tea leaf and predict that the sun will shine tomorrow, but when the sun does shine, it would not mean that I can read tea leaves.

Of course, there might well be noteworthy observations and insights within the report -- I haven't read it. But however insightful it is, it cannot possibly tell me anything about 2036.

(Some earlier posts on astrology etc: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.)
amit varma, 2:11 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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