from the just-hit-the-snooze-when-it-goes-off dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Atlantic has assembled a high-profile panel of experts, including a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Deputy Head of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, and a military correspondent at Haaretz, to periodically estimate the chances of conflict with Iran. The Iran War Clock is not designed to be pro-war or anti-war. Instead, the purpose is to estimate the chances of conflict in the hope of producing a more informed debate. Each panelist makes an individual estimate about the percentage chance of war and we report the average score and based on this number, the Iran War Clock is adjusted so that the hand moves closer to, or further away from, midnight. 'On the one hand, the panelists are highly knowledgeable. On the other hand, there are sufficient members of the panel that any individual error should not have an overly negative effect on the aggregate prediction.' If there is a zero percent chance of war, the clock hand is at 20 minutes to midnight. Each extra 5 percent chance of war moves the hand one minute closer to midnight. 'We're humble about the accuracy of this prediction, which is really a collective "gut-check" feeling. But it may be closer to the truth than the alternative forecasts available.' The panel's first estimate puts the odds of war in the next twelve months at 48 percent, consistent with predictions market Intrade.com, which estimates a 40 percent chance of a U.S./Israeli strike by December 2012."
"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the
sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment."
-- Richard P. Feynman