Fumento: 10% chance of bird flu pandemic in 2007

In response to my post, Michael Fumento has offered a bet: 10 to 1 odds on a pandemic in the next year. That means that Fumento thinks that there is a 10% of a pandemic in the next year. This sits rather oddly with his dismissal of concerns about bird flu. With a 10% chance of a pandemic, surely significant efforts to prepare are justified?

With three pandemics in the last century, you would expect any given year to have a 3% chance of a pandemic, so Fumento's 10% number suggests that he thinks the risk is seriously elevated. The market at the Foresight Exchange estimates that there is a 30% chance of a pandemic in the next three years, so Fumento's 10% in one year is in line with the market.

Anyway, Fumento wants to bet with me, so I've suggested to Intrade that they create a contract on a flu pandemic in 2007. This will let him bet with me and anyone else interested.

See also: FLA_MEDIC's response to Fumento and James Annan on Betting on climate change


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So Michael Fumento has issued a challenge to put 'odds' on avian influenza, thinking that somehow I've stated that an avian influenza pandemic is likely (he's also accused me, a scientist, of being "anti-scientist" and "alarmist"). Well, I'm not putting odds down because I've never said that a…


10/1 odds means 1 chance of winning and 10 of losing so 1 chance in 11 events = 9.09%. If you're betting you should at least get it right!

By Jack Lacton (not verified) on 02 Jan 2007 #permalink