There are subtler manifestations of the prediction addiction. In science, for example, researchers — and I include myself in this — often deploy the word “predict” in a way that doesn’t comport with its everyday usage. Variable X predicts variable Y, they say, even though both were measured at exactly the same time. What they mean is that, if you didn’t know anything about Y, you would have some information about it if you knew X. But this “prediction” can be very weak: usually just “a bit better than chance” rather than “with a strong degree of accuracy”. By the time this translates to the public, often via hyped press releases, it’s frequently been imbued with a great deal more certainty than is warranted by the data.Well, astrology and alchemy were once thought to be science.