Pretty much everybody else seems to have conceded on Prop 29, but not Stan.
I just got a call from AP saying that they are calling the race for Big Tobacco.
I was a little surprised that they did this at this point in time. There are wide differences in the responses by county, which makes predictions of the outcome complicated. I have developed a statistical model that predicts the votes since the election from those on election night. (The post-election counts are systematically more for Prop 29 than the election day returns.) The last projection I did (based on returns as of June 20) showed Prop 29 losing by .31%, with 49.85% yes vs 50.15% no) or 15,861 out of 5,129,712 votes.
This difference was, however, well within the statistical margin of error.
So Stan has a computer model that predicts the votes! Just goes to show that Stan can do post-normal science as well as anybody else.
‘Normal’ science was back when scientists measured things in the real world as accurately as possible, using rulers and scales and clocks and so on, and used this data to construct models of the natural world (very often in the form of concise laws). The models had to behave like the real world, or they were wrong. That used to be the ‘normal’ way of doing science.
In ‘post-normal’ science it’s the other way round. You start with the model, and you use the model of the world to predict what’s going to happen in the real world. If the real world doesn’t behave like the model, the real world data must be adjusted to fit the model. The real world has to behave like the model, or else the real world is wrong.
A great example of ‘post-normal’ science is to be found in the Anthropogenic Global Warming scare. Computer climate simulation models have shown that the earth is going to get hotter and hotter as carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere. And if the actual global temperatures for the past 14 years have actually been falling slightly, well then the measurements must be wrong. And they may need to be ‘adjusted’ to conform with the models. Or else the real world climate has yet to catch up with the climate simulation model climate. But it most certainly will do one day. Because the model is more accurate than the reality. You don’t need stuff like thermometers and anemometers and all the rest of it once you’ve got these simulation models. They’ll tell you what the temperatures and stuff will be.
It’s the same with antismoking science. You build a model, and it predicts that 40 million smokers will die as a result of their habit, and so that’s what’s going to happen. Same if a slight variant of the model says that 400,000 people are going to die from inhaling secondhand smoke. It’s what the model predicts, so it’s what’s going to happen. There’s no arguing about it. Antismoking scientists can’t point at any real person and say “Smoking killed them,” or “Secondhand smoke killed them.” But that doesn’t matter. If their death certificates don’t ever record the cause of death as being secondhand tobacco smoke, then the death certificates are wrong. And they’ll maybe need ‘adjusting’, just like the temperature records.
And it’s the same with Prop 29. There’s the physical count that’s being done in California, which is old-fashioned ‘normal’ science, with real people counting real ballots. And there’s Stan’s statistical predictive model of Prop 29 voting.
And Stan’s model is more accurate than the real count, obviously, just like in all ‘post-normal’ science. So if it works out in the real physical count that No wins by, say, 20,000 votes, but in Stan’s model Yes wins by 2,000 votes, then Stan will be able to tell the State of California that they counted wrong, and they should do it again – because his computer prediction is more accurate than what happens in the real world. And he’ll tell them to keep on counting until they get the right answer.
In fact, Stan’s Box of Magic Numbers makes actual voting redundant. All the State of California need do is ask Stan to use his box to predict the result of Prop 29, and Stan will provide them the answer. No need for voting slips, voting machines, campaigns, TV ads. Just ask Stan! It’s so much simpler and quicker and, above all, more accurate.
So I predict that, on 6 July, if the physical count hasn’t produced the correct result, Stan will ask for a recount.
I think it’s more or less absolutely certain that this will happen. And I say this because I have my own Box of Magic Numbers, and it says this will happen. So it must be going to happen.
(I won’t try and explain how my Box of Magic Numbers works. Suffice it so say that it adds and subtracts and multiplies and divides and finds the square roots of lots of numbers, and it does this about 735 million times, and it’s really too complicated to explain. And also, it’s standard practice in ‘post-normal’ science to never let anybody see your code and data, when they use FOI requests to try to get hold of it. Just ask Michael Mann, of Hockey Stick fame.)
And in fact, Stan more or less has already called for a recount. Which goes to show just how accurate my Box of Magic Numbers is:
1. Both the Secretary of State and the health groups should carefully consider whether or not a recount is in order.
I also predict that, in order to expedite the recount, Stan’s going to claim that, if Prop 29 is struck down, 4 million smokers will die. And, guess what, he’s already said something like this too. Which goes to show, once again, just how accurate my Box of Magic Numbers is:
In terms of the reasons for the loss, assuming that is what happens (or even if 29 narrowly wins), the prime credit goes to the LA Times, which wrote an editorial that parroted Philip Morris and Reynolds’ position that the money should go to the general fund. (See my earlier commentary on this point.) It is not often that a newspaper can have such a major effect on life-and-death events. The LA Times should be ashamed of itself. Their ill considered position will mean a lot of people will die early.
So, because the horrible LA Times got people to vote No on Prop 29, a lot of people are going to die. And die horribly. And that can’t be allowed to happen, can it? It would be like a mass murder or something.
So I predict that Stan will be saying that, unless the vote is recounted, and the recount shows the Yes vote won, 4 million people are going to die (the 4 million figure comes out of my Box, not Stan’s Box, incidentally. I’m just predicting that Stan’s Box will predict the same number as my Box does, that’s all. He does say “It’s about a billion lives this century” on his website.).
And I predict all this in large part because there’s 735 million cute little green smackers at stake, and there’s no way that Stan’s going to wave goodbye to them without a helluva fight.