Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
...humans are poor observers of highly variable data....[O]ur attempts to deduce effects...by indirect reasoning are quite fallible, and can lead to conclusions that are dead wrong.
If the hard sciences are problematic, one wonders whether there is any rational reason to favor any conclusions drawn by the soft sciences. Consider economics. An economy is a complex system with multiple interlocking variables, much like a human body. Because it isn't possible to change just one variable in an economy, nor to try an experiment twice by restarting an identical society under new rules,economic analysis is really the equivalent of observational evidence...combined with plausible reasoning, [and that] can lead to conclusions that are the direct opposite of the truth.
--Steven Bratman, "Skeptic Magazine," Vol. 11, No. 3