What The Experts Don’t Want You to Know

Nobody knows the future.  Nobody.  That’s the secret that the experts don’t want you to know.  Here are 3 examples of expert ignorance, and why that matters for you.

1. No One Knew the Future of American Oil

For most of my life, experts have talked about American dependence on Middle Eastern oil.  And then, in the past several years, something extraordinary happened: America became the world’s largest oil producer.  In retrospect, it seems obvious how the shale revolution would cause us to extract oil that was previously too expensive or difficult to extract, but that’s exactly the point: in retrospect, it’s easy to see, but in the year 2000, I don’t remember that any of our experts foresaw the American oil boom of the last several years.  Why?  Because no one knows the future.

http://www.aei.org/publicat

http://www.aei.org/publicat

And then, this past year, oil prices collapsed.  In Texas, where I live, lots of folks who work in the energy business are feeling that collapse, but I don’t know anyone who predicted a year ago that oil prices would fall off a cliff.  Why?  Because no one knows the future.

brent-crude-chart

Note the drop between July and October 2014.

 

2.  No One Got Ebola Right

Last fall when there a few cases of Ebola in Dallas, I remember reading the experts’ predictions that the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia might infect 1.4 million people by January 2015.  Although about 10,000 people died and although the Ebola outbreak has been a disaster for the countries affected, the worst part of the experts’ predictions did not happen (thank God!).  Why?  Because no one knows the future.

Dr. Kent Brantly was one of the lucky ones, as many of the Africans he treated died from Ebola.

Dr. Kent Brantly was one of the lucky ones, as many of the Africans he treated died from Ebola.

3. But That’s Not Always Good: Look at the Cost of the Iraq War

I don’t mean to suggest that the experts’ predictions are always worse than what actually happens.  Sometimes, reality turns out worse than the experts’ sanguine predictions, as the depressing example of the the cost of the Iraq War shows.

People argued in 2002-2003 about how much the Iraq War would cost, and people argue today about how much it ultimately cost, but what is absolutely certain is that it cost many many many times more than what the experts predicted in 2002-2003.

Spectators from Washington came out to watch the 1st battle of the Civil War. Everyone thought it would be a quick war....

Spectators from Washington came out to watch the 1st battle of the Civil War. Everyone thought it would be a quick war….

Some things never change: no one thought the Civil War would be as long or as bloody as it was, either.  War planners always underestimate a war’s cost and casualties and length, except when they do the opposite.

The Experts Don’t Know What Will Happen

Here’s the point: no one knows the future, and no one knows on any particular issue whether the future will get better or get worse.  Because no one knows the future, excessive worry about it is a waste of time.

Often, when experts predict the worst, things will get better in unexpected ways: be hopeful.

Often, when experts predict a rosy future, things will get worse in unexpected ways: be prudent.

Either way, remember: no one knows the future, and there is no point in worrying about it: “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “What The Experts Don’t Want You to Know

  1. Is there a difference between “being worried” and “being concerned”? Does “not being worried” mean we don’t have to plan for the future (God will take care of that)? I have to admit I sometimes struggle with all the verses in the bible that say “don’t be worried”, “God will take care of it”. So, I come down to interpreting all the “don’t worry” verses as meaning, don’t let worry and dread take over your life. Don’t obsess over things you are worried about. Don’t worry too much over things you have no control over. But don’t ignore those things either. Turn to God (in prayer) about the things you are worried about and know that God has your back (or is walking along beside you when your worries turn out to be true). But in addition to prayer, we have to do our part. In addition to believing that God is with us, we have responsibilities in life that we need to take care of. Like, getting your annual physical, planning for retirement, getting that lump in your breast checked out, working hard to keep your job, etc.

    Luke 14:28-33
    For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. …
    Proverbs 3:5-6
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
    Philippians 4:6
    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
    Proverbs 21:5
    The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
    [I always feel really stupid quoting scripture to you!!!!!!]

    • Paul, I think you are right on. As Billy Abraham likes to say, the Holy Spirit is not a labor-saving device. “Don’t worry” doesn’t mean, “don’t be prudent or responsible.” It does mean, as you say, “Don’t let worry control you.”

      What I was trying to say is that no one knows the future, so we should be prudent and conservative and careful, but also hopeful.

      • Amen to being prudent, responsible, conservative, careful and especially HOPEFUL!!! Great Advice from you and Billy Abraham. Thank you.

      • This is right on. Took me years to figure out the difference between “don’t worry about the things you don’t have control over” – which does not mean:
        1 – Ignore it, it will fix itself

        But does mean –

        2 – Do what you can, give up the rest to God

        Right on, everyone!
        – Patrick