Betting on global warming

A very perceptive comment about betting at the track by Armadillo who for some reason put it on a post dealing with global warming and the IPCC.

I confess to know very little about climate change science. The left keeps urging me to ‘trust the experts’ – they have reviewed all of the data and they alone are best placed to make a judgement on this very complex area. Fair enough. But I have been pondering where I have seen something very similar? When I purchased today’s Daily Telegraph, it suddenly dawned on me. It was sitting right there in the middle of the paper, staring me in the face.

I love to have a punt. Every week, there are about 5 professional tipsters willing to predict what is going to happen. They are paid full time to do it. They have all the relevant information at their finger tips. The breeding, the jockey, the trainer, the track conditions, the horse, it’s last run and even down to the break-up of what times the horse ran over a particular section of it’s last race (right down to a tenth of a second). The facts are indisputable. It’s all there in black and white.

These professional tipsters spend their entire week reviewing the data. They watch every race in minute detail, re-playing them over and over. They observe the evidence. They even load all the known information into complex computer models to assist in their analysis. These people are experts in their field. They know much more about horse racing than I ever will. They should be trusted.

Sometimes these guys disagree on their conclusions. Other times, they are in total agreement. Geez, if they are all saying that a certain horse is going to win based on the evidence, I can be 97% sure that the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Surely? However, there are also ‘known unknowns’ – other information and factors that they are unaware of or don’t completely understand (such as who’s putting money in who’s hands).

Tomorrow, I shall do as I always do. I will look at todays tips and compare them to the actual results. As always, I’m likely to be disappointed and poorer for the experience. With all the available data, how could these experts get it so wrong? What will they tell their boss on Monday morning? What excuse will they offer? Never fear, they will be back in my newspaper next Saturday morning, offering the same expert analysis and still getting paid.

I wonder. What would be more difficult to predict if you had all the information in front of you? If you had the facts? If you had all the tools? If you knew there were ‘known unknowns’? Would it be predicting the outcome of a simple horse race? Or would it be predicting the climate of an entire planet?

I’m probably going to have a few bets today based on what the experts tell me. But don’t panic, I’m not going to ask everyone else to throw in a couple of hundred billion dollars just in case these guys are actually right (for a change).

Righto then, I’m off to Sportsbet. Enjoy your day.