So, I predict that if Sorenstam plays this week the way she's played in the rest of 2003, she'll miss the cut by four strokes.
I wanted to bring this up because prediction is widely recognized as crucial to science. On the other hand, one of my two or three most important contributions to the philosophy science is the idea that people tend to be more interested in those future events that are hardest to predict: e.g., will this stock outperform the market? When thinking about the kind of things that people get most fascinated by, such as which NFL teams will beat the point spread on Sunday, the phrase "dart-throwing monkey" comes to mind. In contrast, most of the things that are pretty predictable, like test scores for large groups, bring to mind the phrase "boring and depressing."
In contrast, Sorenstam's entrance in that PGA tournament was the kind of novel event that is interesting to predict as a test of one's model of the world and struck the public, briefly, as not boring and depressing.
* By the way, I was attacked by the SPLC for noticing that Sorenstam, at her peak, had bulked up from weightlifting:
Sailer's website is rife with primitive stereotypes. On it, Sailer mocks professional golfer Annika Sorenstam for having well-developed muscles ...
What I actually said in my prediction article was, in the course of comparing her scoring proficiency to that of Corey Pavin:
Pavin is listed at 5'-9" and 155 pounds. The 32-year-old Sorenstam is 5'-6". She used to be listed at 130 pounds, but has clearly added a lot of muscle mass over the last two years. Now, she has that distinctive characteristic of a bodybuilder: her forearms no longer hang down along her sides because her upper arms are so muscular. Think of how Saturday Night Live's Dana Carvey and Kevin Nelon held their arms away from their sides while playing Hans and Franz, their Schwarzenegger-type "Ve vill pump you up!" muscle heads. (No doubt some male pros think she's been augmenting her weightlifting with steroids or human growth hormone, but there's no specific evidence for that at all.)