The economic argument against woo-woo

By skepticlawyer

This via the outstanding (as always) xkcd (and a tip of the hat to the redoubtable Dave Bath). If woo worked, here are some potential market applications. Do click through to xkcd’s site to view the mouse-over, which doesn’t work for everyone on a WordPress blog. It is chuckle-worthy.

19 Comments

  1. Patrick
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    I love xkcd.

  2. Posted October 22, 2010 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Yeah… If there were clairvoyants, there’d be problems with tattslotto, bookies, casinos… Unless… Perhaps there is a code of ethics for the crystal-ball-gazers: “I will not use this for financial gain…”… Um…

  3. Posted October 22, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    IIRC, even in the Harry Potter universe, clairvoyants are pretty much borked. There are things even magic won’t stretch to…

  4. desipis
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Oh come now, we all know the supernatural only functions when not under the spotlight of reason or scientific inquiry. Besides, if the military really was using hexes and curses do you think they’d let us know? And its obvious the government discredits alternative medicine, for the same reason they outlaw drugs, to keep us enslaved by making materialism the only way to health and happiness.

    (Don’t mess with truther logic!)

  5. Posted October 22, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    legal chambers could save a fortune dowsing for precedent along a wall of books.

  6. Jacques Chester
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    legal chambers could save a fortune dowsing for precedent along a wall of books.

    Nah, they’d just raise the hourly rate to compensate.

  7. TerjeP
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Capitalism is evil and many of these supernatural phenomena can be used only for good and not for evil.

  8. desipis
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Or, if you take church teachings that such supernatural practices are black magic and the work of the devil, the market must be divine inspiration from God in order to be immune from such evils.

  9. Posted October 22, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Nah, the woo is real, however with non-local action, and always uncertain which two points within the multiverse are connected, and something like the pauli exclusion principle preventing those two points being in the same universe… The dowsing/precog works, but points to an alternate universe the other side of a black hole.

  10. Posted October 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, but some woo /is/ happening here over the last few days, what with JC’s explotative pricing of lawyers and Terje’s capitalism-is-evil, and lorenzo’s elsewhere on self-fulfilling denigration of the welfare state: they’ve been possessed by the ghost of a marxist and are going to join me in a rousing chorus of “the internationale” any minute.

  11. PAUL WALTER
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Always thought that was the way things were done, anyway.

  12. Posted October 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Yeah… If there were clairvoyants, there’d be problems with tattslotto, bookies, casinos…

    A New York detective once quipped he has arrested many psychics but never one that predicted their arrest.

  13. Posted October 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    It must be in the internet ether, since I was not aware of xkcd, but clearly should be, when I made this comment.

  14. Posted October 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] I think I was making a sceptical comment about how politics works in the UK: somewhat antipathetical to strong confidence in political mechanisms I would have thought 😉

    Anyway, I have speculated on why the UK welfare-state-management is so much worse than the Oz one in recent decades.

  15. PAUL WALTER
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Lorenzo thanks for link also DEM for intelligent response, there. I still reckon its basically, City of London v the rest, who are compelled to pick up the tab for the GFM. Remember, in mutual obligation theory, “moral hazard” only apples to the poor or under resourced.

  16. Posted October 25, 2010 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    [email protected] What is “mutual obligation theory”? And I have read plenty of criticisms of moral hazard which were not about the poor or under-resourced.

  17. Posted October 25, 2010 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    [email protected] on [email protected]: was [email protected] being sarcastic? (that’s my lefty reading, as companies often pooh-pooh their obligations to CSR as non-core, and eg the repeated proposals with each financial crisis to tighten probity rules for banks, only to get those rules diluted to homeopathic effectiveness before imposed)

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