Subject: Re: Tom W. Bell paper
From: Seth Johnson <>
Date: Sat, 02 Sep 2006 18:34:34 -0400

I don't think it's sufficiently understood that science is a
process of discovering premises -- when discoveries are made,
it's often a reflection of new understandings of the nature of
the "stuff" that's presupposed in previous scientific knowledge:
new laws derive from new understandings of the terms that had
made up previous laws.

So deciding who won a bet on an undiscovered fact can really be
contentious -- can certainly be made to be contentious when the
interests of betting parties come into play.  The only way to do
that that I can think of, would be to require that some sort of
experimental apparatus be specified that would decide the outcome
by reproducibility.  But that would either be unsatisfactory for
the purpose of resolving issues of whether a fact was discovered,
because the experiment proposed would often/usually be irrelevant
to the real facts of the matter, or it would be nearly the same
as achieving the discovery yourself.

The usual principle in science where a discovery is proven by
reproducibility, works in large part because the only issue is
the verifiability of a discovery that way, not whether somebody
gets to win a predetermined bet.  Of course, in this world, there
is the other way of "proving" a discovery -- in a very, very
different sense -- which is the "proving" of bringing a discovery
to market in marketable form.


Don Marti wrote:
> Paper about how to connect markets to R&D incentives
> without monopolies:
>     "Prediction markets offer another way to promote
>     the sciences and useful arts. In general,
>     prediction markets support transactions in claims
>     about unresolved questions of fact. A prediction
>     market specifically designed to promote progress
>     in the sciences and useful arts - call it a
>     scientific prediction exchange or SPEx - would
>     support transactions in a variety of prediction
>     certificates, each one of which promises to pay
>     its bearer in the event that an associated claim
>     about science, technology, or public policy comes
>     true. Like other, similar markets in information,
>     a scientific prediction exchange would aggregate,
>     measure, and share the opinions of people paid
>     to find the truth."
> This is interesting, but is a market in science and
> technology really a prediction market, if you could
> use your cold fusion futures to hedge your oil stocks,
> or use factoring algorithm futures to hedge your
> quantum crypto startup?
> --
> Don Marti
>           LinuxWorld: August 14-17, 2006, San Francisco


RIAA is the RISK!  Our NET is P2P!

DRM is Theft!  We are the Stakeholders!

New Yorkers for Fair Use

[CC] Counter-copyright:

I reserve no rights restricting copying, modification or
distribution of this incidentally recorded communication. 
Original authorship should be attributed reasonably, but only so
far as such an expectation might hold for usual practice in
ordinary social discourse to which one holds no claim of
exclusive rights.