Especially economic ideas. For example, what we assume about discounting the future--whatever we assume--likely leads to error. It does, however, clothe our assumptions in the image of "science."
Mark Buchanan - Bloomberg:
Pretend, for example, that we want to see if it is worth creating a costly marine sanctuary that could take many years to establish and even longer to effectively protect a population of endangered salmon or cod. The costs of the sanctuary come mainly in the first years -- the expense of setting it up and policing it, as well as perhaps millions of dollars a year in lost fishing revenue. The most important benefits, on the other hand, may come in the distant future. Even if the fish population might increase 100-fold, creating a sustainable fishing industry 500 years from now that is far more valuable than today’s, economists would discount the advantages coming in those distant years almost to nothing.*************