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« Now, getting back to disgust: we've done guns & drones; what about *vaccines*? | Main | More market consensus on climate change: 97% of insurance companies agree (& hedge funds too!) »
Sunday
May262013

Money talks, & without the bias of cultural cognition: so why not listen?

Logic of prediction markets explained by professional science communicatorsGreat ongoing conversation following last post, on how market behavior furnishes alternatives to social science surveys of scientist opinion or scientific literature on weight & practical importance of science relating to climate change.  Urge others to join in, & those participating to continue.

Basically the point is this: 

1. A reflective person could understandably be uncertain how to assess the weight of scientific evidence on climate change and its practical impact (indeed, anyone who professes not to understand this proves only that he or she is not reflective).

2. Such a person can't reasonably be expected to see a social scientist's opinion survey of natural scientists or literature survey of peer-reviewed articles as settling the matter. In constructing the sample for such a survey, the social scientist has to make a judgment about which scientists or which scientific papers to include in the sample. Evaluating the adequacy of the sample-inclusion criteria used for that purposes will confront a reasonable person with issues as open to dispute as the ones that he or she would have had to resolve to assess the weight and practical significance of scientific evidence on climate change. Indeed, many of the issues will be exactly the same.

3. However, a reasonable person would see an index of securities (and like instruments) the value of which depend on global warming actually occurring  as helpful evidence in such circumstances. Market actors are economically, not ideologically motivated. Moreover, cognitive biases are likely to cancel out, leaving only the signal associated with informed assessments, by multiple rational and self-interested actors, of the weight and practical importance of the best available evidence on climate. Indeed, such a person could observe movement in the value of such instruments in relation to the publication of scientific papers or the issuances of IPCC reports etc. as measures of the soundness of those scientific assessments.

Here's another thing:

If reasonable people see that other resonable people, including ones whose priors are different from theirs, are also willing to treat an index of  as a relevant source of evidence that gives them reason to adjust their priors in one way or another (& who don't make the science-illiterate mistake of thinking that 'evidence' "proves' things as opposed to supply reason for treating a hypothsis as more or less likely to be true than one otherwise woudl have estimated), they'll be able to observe evidence of how many people are willing to proceed in this open-minded way. 

That evidence not only allows them to adjust their priors about how many people are like that; it also supplies them, as emotional and moral reciprocators, w/ reason to contribute to the common good of being a person of exactly that sort, modeling for the rest of humanity how sensible people w/ different perceptions about a matter subject to empirical investigation should proceed.

Maybe this would catch on?

So let's listen to the money people and let them lead us into a love-filled, harmonious world.

BTW, if such an index already exists, I wouldn't be surprised. I'd be surprised if it didn't.  So anyone who knows where to find it, please speak up.  

The index, btw, has to consist in securities (and the like) that reflect economic opportunities created by global warming.

It cannot include economic opportunities created by government policies to promote carbon-reduction.  That market will reflect expectations about political forces, not natural ones (a matter that might be interesting but that isn't probative of beliefs in whether climate change will occur--only in what sorts of things will occur in democratic politics, which is governed by its own peculiar laws).

Please join the discussion -- in the comment thread for the "97% of insurance companies -- & hedge funds-- agree!" post.

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