Those Saying 50/50 Chance Don’t Have a Clue

5050-300x300Anytime you hear someone saying 50/50 chance about something you should treat it as they have no clue what they are talking about. Saying 50/50 is not probabilistic thinking, it is naive. Here are very recent news articles quoting pundits and leaders saying 50/50 chance

  1. Nigel Farage: Britain has 50/50 chance of leaving EU: Nigel is always going to be correct isn’t he?

  2. Gundlach Sees 50-50 Chance of Fed Raising U.S. Rates: With Fed backing out in September and new home sales at pre-recession levels he still does not have a clue.

  3. GOP rep: Less than 50-50 chance of shutdown: Lessons from last shutdown should have pointed to more refined scenario shouldn’t it?

  4. 50-50 chance of rain today, but it won’t be much: Of all the people weather reporters have more calibration than any of us with their predictions and must be able to say whether or not we should take umbrella with us.

  5. Bill Kristol: There’s a ‘Better Than 50/50 Chance’ Hillary: This one beats out all others. What does better than 50/50 mean?

I think a simple explanation for why they say 50/50 is they are confused about the notion of what is probability. Or they can’t say, “I don’t know”, when a microphone is thrusted in front of them.

I leave you with answer given by Nobel laureate economist to a question,

answers to questions like that require careful thinking, a lot of data analysis, and that the answers are not likely to be simple