I've grown impatient in my old age. When people state a stupid opinion or false statement of fact, I no longer argue with no. I do not appeal to reason. Instead, I offer a wager. I say, "OK. I'll bet you $100 that you are wrong." (My best friend and I wager large Papa John's pizzas whenever one of us thinks the other has made a ridiculous assertion about a stock or the stock market.)
People never take the bet. What's up with that? It's amazing how something as small as $100 can test a person's convictions. Amazingly, if you will not put $100 on the line, why should I believe you? I recently proposed a $100 game of skill to some commenters at the Volokh Conspiracy. Guess who many takers I had?
It really is amazing (yes, I used the same word twice!). People want me to change my mind based on their assertions; yet their assertions aren't even worth $100 to them! If your assertions aren't worth $100, perhaps you shouldn't share it?
Will people demanding that the government must provide a stimulus to the economy bet in their opinion? Perhaps Paul Krugman will say, "I'll wager $10,000 with any of my critics that if x-stimulus occurs, y-economic effect will follow."
Why aren't all of these economists making huge bets? They are rather confident in their opinions. They should go make that money! Or if they are embarrassed by greed, why not set up a charity as the beneficiary of the wager?
If someone wants to spend billions (and sometimes, trillions) of taxpayer dollars but won't offer up a few thousand of their own: What should we think of such people?
Krugman and other economists are literally making bets with my (and your money). Why won't they pony up their own - enriching themselves or a charity in the process?
UPDATE: I just realized that I'm simply discussing a version of the James Randi Challenge. Skepticism is about much more than questioning religion.