Obviously there are no guarantees concerning our decisions in life. However, statistics are incredibly useful in helping us make fairly accurate predictions about the future. We can use statistics to help us shape our decisions with a reasonable amount of accuracy, while also gleaning a very good sense of how inaccurate those predictions are.
If you don't agree that you can make sound financial decisions based on statistics and financial theory, I can not fathom how you make your financial decisions. The use of financial leverage and portfolio diversification is part of what makes the economy go 'round. Accepting those premises does not entail the endorsement of imprudent/lavish spending or poor debt managment.
I certainly do NOT agree that it is 'sophistry' to believe that you can use the tools of statistics, investment theory, prudent budgeting, and wise debt management to justify forgoing immediate debt retirement in lieu of greater growth of personal wealth.
I never said a word on statistics, investment theory, etc. You're creating a strawman. What I said was essentially that risk management (what you call debt management) is very hard and most people suck at it. Including sophisticated investment banks. Most people overspend, do not plan for every variable, do not know how to react when things don't go as planned, etc. I can read into your words that you think you are so sophisticated and intelligent that you've got it figured out. I bet you don't, and i bet in 20 years you'll regret it. Sorry man, I've been around the block a few times. True wisdom comes from knowing this: if the smartest people in the country at Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, etc. can't manage risk well, what makes you think you can? And as a subpoint, I'd like to remind you that debt in personal finance is inherently more risky than corporate debt because individuals don't have the ability to absorb losses and seek bailouts like corporations do.
Good luck to you though....