Models

Nassim recently posted a document called “Skepticism” on Facebook.

He had this to say about it:

Something people don’t get: more skepticism about climate models should lead to more “green” ecological conservationist policies not more lax pro-pollution ones. Why? Simply, uncertainty about the models increases fragility (and thickens the left tail), no matter what the benefits can be in the right tail.
Added the section to the precautionary principle. Please discuss but stick to rigor and avoid buzzwords. (Also do not think that the idea is falling from the sky: it is a mere application of the fragility theorems).

 Here is what I wrote in my endorsement: Emanuel Derman has written my kind of a book, an elegant combination of memoir, confession, and essay on ethics, philosophy of science and professional practice. He convincingly establishes the difference between model and theory and shows why attempts to model financial markets can never be genuinely scientific. It vindicates those of us who hold that financial modeling is neither practical nor scientific. Exceedingly readable.

From the remarks here, people seem to be blaming Derman for not having written the type of books they usually read… They are blaming him for being original! This is very philistinic. This book is a personal essay; if you don’t like it, don’t read it, there is no need to blame the author for not delivering your regular science reporting. Why don’t you go blame Montaigne for discussing his personal habits in the middle of a meditation on war inspired by Plutarch?

Customer Review: Models.Behaving.Badly.: Why Confusing Illusion with Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life (Paperback)