Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ben Stein's Timing is Off

I'm at one of my favorite blogs today, Pharyngula. It's a great place run by PZ Myers (with whom my wife went to school at the University of Oregon) though it's participants can be a bit bare-knuckle at times. (Which I appreciate as I really have a difficult time with soft nellies.)

One of the recurring subjects has been the gormless Ben Stein and his movie, Expelled which is garnering a lot of bad press when (honestly) reviewed by critics. The movie is so bad that the producers have even tried to force people to sign non-disclosure agreements to protect the reputation of the charlie-foxtrot that is the movie.

In a bit of irony the page-crawling ad-bots that dynamically assign advertising based on key word searches of blogs kind of got it wrong today. On the side-bar for advertising was some dynamically selected advertising is hawking Ben Stein's book: Yes, You Can Time the Market!

Well, beyond the obvious irony that the people who frequent Pharyngula aren't likely to buy a book from the charlatan that is Ben Stein, the more important answer is you really can't time the markets. Despite the claims found in any Internet search that can bring you, literally, hundreds of thousands of links selling you market timing schemes, books and consultants. The empirical evidence has show, through scientific studies, that people who "time" the market do worse than people who just steadily invest. But "steady Eddie" investing advice just doesn't capture the notice of the market because it's not exciting.

Which makes the advertising even more ironic as Ben Stein's timing is certainly off when it comes to Intelligent Design (aka - Creationism, Rev 3.0). This issue was, for the purpose of protecting the integrity of science in the classroom, pretty much settled with the Kitzmiller decision, and associated $1 million penalty when the creationist dominated board tried to teach Intelligent Design in the schools.

I think, from a movement standpoint, Intelligent Design (re-branded creationism) has shot its wad and its aficionados are just making a lot of noise for the die-hards in the crowd while fighting a doomed rear-guard action. In the end, they'll make a lot of noise and science will march on, leaving them in their caves staring at the magic picture box.

I'll be interested to see the gross on Expelled. Because I think its chance to shine was in early 2005, before the market on ID futures crashed...

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