Dilbert on the Utility of Forecasting


Scott Adams evidently understands AGW adherents completely.

27 thoughts on “Dilbert on the Utility of Forecasting

  1. I have always found Dilbert to have an uncanny ability to capture the zeitgeist, having lived through the dotcom bubble.

  2. Forgot to add, “What proxy shall we use this week?”or “How deep should our pile get before it falls over?” or “Who’s science is getting to close to the truth and needs a “Good Bitchslapping”?”

  3. I started my professional career in forecasting for a publicly owned telephone company. During that time, I saw the “10 Laws of Forecasting”. While I can’t recall them all, I can recall a few, such as: If you can’t forecast well, forecast often; Give them a number or give them a date – never give them both; and (s)he who lives by the crystal ball, soon learns to eat ground glass.
    It is because of this early experience that I have an incredibly difficult time accepting the concept that a small contribution to a trace gas (Carbon Dioxide) can have such an incredible effect on the earth’s climate. That is why economists always throw in the phrase, ceteris paribus, and perhaps those who support the concept of CAGW would be wise to do the same.

  4. I’ve managed to cut and save the Dilbert cartoon from our Sunday’s newspaper for the past 3 years or so and they sit as a pile on one of my filing cabinets (as a constant reminder to get the next issue, of course). Whenever I get disgusted with life and need a remedy, I just grab the pile and start reading. I find it very therapeutic. Thank you, Scott Adams!

  5. Joe Lalonde says:
    July 6, 2010 at 4:17 am
    “How deep should our pile get before it falls over?”

    Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming folks it should say “How deep shall our hole get before it falls over”

  6. RockyRoad says: Whenever I get disgusted with life and need a remedy, I just grab the pile and start reading.
    July 6, 2010 at 4:44 am
    You are so lucky.
    Whenever I grab a pile of new “Scientific American” and start reading, I get disgusted with life. There is no remedy in sight.

  7. Bull’s eye – AGW ‘science’ in a nutshell.
    Unfortunately, what was also needed from Dilbert was something for those making AGW forecasts also being made responsible for them – in their lifetimes!!
    Lethal injection or the guillotine is probably a little too harsh, but bankruptcy for Briffa, Jones, Mann, Hansen and their ilk for getting it wrong might be a more reasonable deterrent.
    Our climate ‘scientists’ will never be punished for pushing bad science, spreading unfounded scare stories and manipulating historic temperature data – why? Because unscrupulous politicians need to fund their policies of welfare dependence and climate ‘scientists’ conveniently provide a politically acceptable ‘green’ reason for greater taxation.

  8. Al Gore’s bankruptcy would be a good thing too. A failed divinity student, who cooks up
    his own religion….

  9. “but bankruptcy for Briffa, Jones, Mann, Hansen and their ilk for getting it wrong might be a more reasonable deterrent. ”
    That’s blaming the clowns for the circus. When the incentives exist, the charlatans will always flock round. The way to deter this is to punish the *Institutions* who coddled and promoted these ideas for their own ends. The Universities who awarded these men with positions need to have their budgets permanently cut back and their missions trimmed severely, in a way that future trustees are mindful of the mistakes for 100 years. Some institutions, such as Hadly, should probably be closed and turned into a nice local shopping mall. GB’s nat weather service should be disbanded and the job contracted out to private vendors. (who would do much more reliable work at a fraction of the cost) It is the institutions that made all this possible which need to be crushed, and yes, this will be a major turning point in our world. Much of what has been now needs to be torn to the ground and replaced by that which is not yet built.
    and with reference to the comment: “Whenever I grab a pile of new “Scientific American” and start reading, I get disgusted with life. There is no remedy in sight.”
    There actually is a *very* good, easy, and permanent remedy for that. Never pick up one of those wastes of paper again. Don’t link to it, don’t read it, don’t discuss it. Don’t even think of it, and soon enough it will be gone. That represents the old way of doing things, the way that is passing away. Something new is arising to replace it – I’m not sure yet what that will be, but I believe this blog and others like it are on the cutting edge of the search.
    We are moving into a world where the entire idea of “publication” no longer has any relevance. These are it’s death throes. Where we go from here is in large part up to all of us.

  10. The cartoon is exhibits my argument s against those you point me to the climate models of the IPCC and other alarmist organisations. They perform so many scenarios that warmists are spoilt for choice when it comes to pointing me in the ‘right’ directions. I’m constantly told that “the models predict this”. Of course they do and so many other predictions that fail again and again and again and again and again and again.
    Disaster have been predicted for Earth since the 1970s including fears of a new ice age and ‘overheating’ going back to 1895. Even some NASA scientists have their doubts about the models.

    “I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
    — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Scandal in Bohemia

    AGW is a slow motion train wreck and it’s so funny to see scientists’ contortions and twists as they desperately fight to keep the money flowing in the form of grants. If this were a business on Wall Street prosecutions would be called for by angry shareholders.

  11. I’ve been ENJOYING Scott Adams brilliance since before he was syndicated. I lived in the Bay Area and had many friends that worked where he got his start “cartooning” in his companies periodical, which they would thankfully share with outsiders, including myself. Many said he should be sharing his perspectives with the world. And to much delight….. and this one is typical of that luminous insightfulness. But of far greater importance (yes, even though it is “just” a cartoon) is Scott’s astute observation and subsequent subtle portrayal via Dilbert, that the common men, such as Dilbert’s trash collector, or even common animal such as Dogbert “out” in the real world have superior understanding of the actual workings of the universe than the elites caught-up in their white towers of their own making, be it corporate, institutional or government. I was told by someone that knew him when, his original base concept of management being “separated” from reality came from the “walled-off-ness” created by the concept/arrangement of cubicles as used by the company he worked for as an engineer AND some of the silly ways people at all levels would use to “overcome” the un-realness of trying to work (exist!) in a maze of 8×8 boxes. From unbelievable inter-personal relationships to surreal personal cube decorations and outrageous pathway names, upper management was oblivious to the all that went on in “the maze”, including (and most importantly) the serious dampening of the human spirit (and how it could effect an individuals entire life) and the loud scream for individual recognition – which never came.
    Brilliant Scott, absolutely brilliant! And “thanks” for recognizing it Mike.

  12. Back in the 90’s everyone in my office was convinced Scott Adams was actually working there under an alias. It was crazy how many times something ridiculous happened, and 2 weeks later it was Wally in the newspaper.
    Speaking of Wally, the best part about the referenced strip is that Dilbert actually got Wally to inhale his coffee cup at the punchline.

  13. Dilbert is truly brilliant.
    Wally is actually based on a real person according to one of the collection books. A brilliant engineer who screwed up one project, was kind of ostricized by MGMT, and then who took great delight in doing as little work as humanly posssible. Literally working hard to avoid work (you know the type).
    The VP in HR of my establishment has barred any Dilbert strips, calendars, do-dads, and even references, from her pointy headed kingdom.. I kid you not.

  14. I’ve always felt that the proper response to most the CAGW PR science propaganda that we are continually inundated with is loud raucous laughter. The problem is that while they have been going on and on about how humanity is killing the planet, what has really been dying is the ability to commit satire. Even just a surface scan of this blog’s archive back to the first of the year, will reveal numerous examples of press announcements of new “climate science” studies which, if you couldn’t see the byline, you would swear were written by P.J. O’Rourke on an off day. I say on an off day not because they aren’t completely laughable, but because they are all so incredibly poorly written.
    It is a sad commentary on where we have arrived at as a civilization that only people of rare comedic genius, such as Scott Adams, are able to routinely and consistently produce work that is more instantly recognizable as an attempt at humor than what now passes for news.

  15. The cartoon is so appropriate to this ‘useful’ portal from CSIRO:

    Scientists are trialling different ways of presenting climate information so it is more accessible for people planning adaptation responses.

  16. Peter Miller: “Our climate ‘scientists’ will never be punished for pushing bad science, spreading unfounded scare stories and manipulating historic temperature data – why?”
    Oh, they punish themselves, they live every day in fear of being reassigned to the 7th level of hell, aka in Dilbert known as the accounting department, where all true warmists are destined.
    Scott has a secret network of die-hard fans who email him stories of blatant acts of in-duh-vidual office stupidity. I used to be one, when I worked in an office environment. A few Dilbert strips out there actually happened in my workplace. Likely someone in your office does the same.
    Darren Parker,
    If Al Gore is L Ron Gore now, who is Xenu, ManBearPig? This reminds me of a story that made the rounds of the science fiction world for a long time, but was told to a relative by Heinlein himself since they had been next door neighbors when she was younger. It seems that Heinlein, Azimov, L Ron, and a few others of the golden age writers were hanging around in Campbell’s office one time when the pulp business was particularly slow, trying to think up stories that would make money. Campbell noted that the Bible was consistently the best selling book every year since the invention of the printing press. Heinlein noted that being a religious prophet could be pretty lucrative if you could stomach the work, belief wasn’t required, based on his childhood experience with tent revival preachers trolling around Missouri. L Ron said, “sure, but can you turn a science fiction story into a religion?”. He and Heinlein made a ten year, $100,000 bet over who could write a science fiction story that would found a more successful religion. As a result, L Ron Hubbard wrote Dianetics and the story of Xenu, the Galactic Overlord, founding the Church of Scientology, while Heinlein wrote “Stranger in a Strange Land” and started the sexual revolution…. Heinlein wasn’t into being a guru. When hippies showed up on his front lawn to grok water he’d hose ’em down with his garden hose and call the cops. L Ron won the bet.

  17. Dilbert has another quote: “There are many methods for predicting the future. For example, you can read horoscopes, tea leaves, tarot cards, or crystal balls. Collectively, these methods are known as ‘nutty methods’. Or you can put well-searched facts into sophisticated computer models, more commonly referred to as ‘ a complete waste of time’.”
    Another quote comes from Fritz RW Dressler who said: “Predicting the future is easy. It’s trying to figure out what’s going on now that’s hard”.

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