RE: future language

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Wed May 01 2002 - 16:47:02 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: future language
    Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 16:47:02 +0100 
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            <Our definitions of the "predictions of the future" are then wildly
    > divergent. For example, for me the capability to accurately predict
    > weather for next day is already orders of magnitude more than what our
    > ancestors were capable off. All of our science is based on the idea
    > that we can model and *predict* the phenomena in nature. The success
    > there is obviously something that I count as success in predictions
    > about the future, while (again obviously) you don't. This is perfectly
    > fine, as long as we are both aware that we are speaking about different
    > things when we speak of "prediction of the future". :)>
            Sorry to butt in, but isn't weather "prediction" actually a bit of a
    misnomer, as all that's happening now is that we have satellites giving us
    images showing us weather long before it reaches us- that's not really
    prediction, that's observation. There's no way to actually predict, what's
    going to happen on any particular day, beyond a few days, and IIRC that's
    because the weather is a chaotic system. Besides, they still get it totally
    wrong, as the BBC's met trained weathermen did famously in 1987, when the
    day before the 'great storm' hit Britain, forecasters said it wasn't going
    to come near Britain.

            Prediction of, say, the motions of the planets is different because
    one can predict the position of the planets with accuracy. Social phenomena
    are more like the weather than the planets in that sense, so predicting
    future social changes is difficult in the extreme.


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