St. Offset

Saint Offset is the patron saint of forecasters. Legend has it that he became an economist because he lacked the charisma to become an actuary.

He is an angry and vengeful saint who allows his followers to have one absolutely correct forecast of whatever it is that they forecast. This gives them the impression that they know what they are doing and the confidence to continue making forecasts. All subsequent forecasts will be off by varying amounts for multiple reasons, making it impossible to identify the source of the forecast error.

His followers have tried various forms of propitiation over the years, ranging from burnt offerings to monetary donations. Rumor has it that human sacrifices were tried but discontinued after it was found that forecast accuracy was not improved.

Among his most famous teachings are:

  1. Thou shalt not forecast the forecast.
  1. Two “wrongs” can make a “right” but it is not always the same two “wrongs”.
  1. Do not confuse coincidence with causality.
  1. Do not abuse the data.
  1. Do not opine about that which you know nothing about.
  1. Do not “talk your book”.  If your evidence is not self-evident you don’t have enough evidence.
  1. Don’t ask your barber to clean your teeth, and don’t ask your dentist to cut your hair. Seek the advice of experts and learn from them.  Flee from those who have no expertise.
  1. When you are wrong, admit it and explain what you learned.
  1. When you are right, admit it and explain what you learned.
  1. I said “maybe” and that’s final.


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