Richard Epstein II: I Want to Believe

In the original article, on March 16th, he said that Wuflu would kill less than 500 people in the US.

As falsification loomed, a few days later (March 23rd) , he said it would kill less than 2500.

On March 24th , he said < 5000.

Looks as if he’ll have to revise his ‘prediction’ again by Thursday.

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18 Responses to Richard Epstein II: I Want to Believe

  1. reiner Tor says:

    That’s chad. He’s not deterred by continued failure, instead simply modifies his predictions to match the past. If someone complains, he’ll just direct him to his latest prediction, which will thus always be true.

    I know a guy who works as “stock market strategist” or something at some small brokerage firm. In late February a colleague heard him on the radio say that “it’s an absolute certainty that this could maybe result in an economic crisis.” I call this a true professional: he said nothing, but sounded cocksure about his “prediction” with the expression “absolute certainty.”

    What would humankind do without professional bullshitters?

    • Wency says:

      To be clear, people who are identified as “Wall Street strategists” are essentially entertainers who are paid to have very sensible-sounding responses to worried clients who ask, “What do you think the market’s going to do next?”

      The strategist, like any professional investor, knows full well that anyone who could predict the market’s short-term direction with any consistency would be a trillionaire, that successful investors don’t spend too much time on this question. But year after year, this is the chief question clients ask, and someone must be kept on the payroll to answer it convincingly. The best entertainers are able to offer an answer that assures the client without providing any definite short-term predictions that will quickly look stupid. Long-term predictions are OK, as everyone forgets about those.

  2. Coagulopath says:

    Well yeah, but how’s he supposed to know what’ll happen in the future? It keeps changing!

    True predictions should only be made about past events, with the benefit of hindsight. We just have to wait until 2021, when he’ll have a fully accurate prediction about the 2020 coronavirus death toll.

    • reiner Tor says:

      Yeah, especially utilizing his peanut brain, it must truly be a challenge to make good predictions. Greg is too hard on him, but cannot detract him from accurately predicting the past, for which task he has both the sufficient ability and self-confidence.

  3. archandsuperior says:

    Whatever happened to the vigorous and cavalier attitude of “I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops!”?

  4. gothamette says:

    We’ve got 1096 in NYC alone this morning. Some guys never give up!

    NY State wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the Dumb Blasio-led disaster. Total deaths 1550. Notice a pattern?

    All of the NYC metro area politicians (all Dems) were telling us to go to Chinese restaurants until early March. By then the die was cast. Notice a pattern?

    Greg: what do you think of this website’s numbers?

    https://covid19.healthdata.org/projections

    I think the #s are too optimistic, and I noticed that they’ve revised upwards the US deaths from approx 88K to 94K. I check the site every day. I’ll do screenshots from now on.

  5. Toddy Cat says:

    Epstein is a good example of the fact that it’s not just Lefties who can be blinded by ideology.

  6. ASR says:

    This may work both ways. At some point, Fauci may revise his numbers down. If this does happen, he’ll have the useful excuse that stringent public health measures were responsible, sort of like the old joke about the Yankee who sprayed his house with lemon juice to keep tigers away. In situations like the one we are in now, we can’t predict the future until it’s in the past.

  7. rgressis says:

    In the New Yorker interview, Epstein said that his numbers don’t matter. What really matters is his argument against the model.

    • uhoh says:

      That’s great, but at least he’s honest about it in the end. The issues are entirely quantitative here. Everything depends on whether inequalities between certain numbers (derived from R_0, CFR, population density,…) go one way around or the other. Yet many write long pieces advocating this or that which never actually invoke those numbers.

  8. Smithie says:

    I’ll sound crazy, but I wish that everyone in Congress was forced to make similar predictions, weekly or monthly. Not just about corona, but about other things. I bet that most of them would be extremely bad at it, but it would be nice to have a record of their shortsightedness.

    While I’m at it, I’d also like them to be given pop quizzes about geography and history, forced to try to identify such and such a country on a map, and we’d know how many seconds it takes them to make their guess. Maybe, there would be a few dots pointing in the middle of the ocean.

    • David Chamberlin says:

      Hmmmm. Each state needs an AI manager that measures the performance of the congressmen and senators. When they fall below replacement level they go down to the minors, and the best performing state senator or state representative comes up. Sabermetrics for politics. Some country somewhere in the world institutes such a program right about the time IQ genetic engineering for the next generation gets initiated and it starts the next revolution as transformative as the industrial revolution. In the meantime lets hide in our homes and write bad science fiction plots.

  9. j says:

    Epstein says he applied darwinian economic theory to the a biological case like the corona pandemic and arrived to the conclusion that the virulence of the virus is weakening. “Mr Epstein, Have you been threatened or coerced into saying such asininity?”

  10. Pincher Martin says:

    I posted this New Yorker interview with Richard Epstein at the end of the other Epstein thread, but here it is again just in case you missed it: The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory That Informed the Trump Administration

  11. Jacob says:

    Richard Epstein is the enantiomer of a doomsday theorist who continually places the apocalypse on the day after tomorrow.

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