Ted, I agree that intuition oftentimes has to come into play in the decision, but intuition and emotion are two different things.
You wrote..."Keep in mind, when you take GOOD models and compare to actual they tend to be high." Your statement was contradictory. If the model is good, it WOULD accurately predict actual results. If it doesn't it's not a GOOD model
Lastly, not sure how the coal fired plant issue has anything to do with emotion. If there is a strong likelihood of stronger EPA emission controls, then we can LOGICALLY (not emotionally) conclude that the cost of electricity from coal fired plants will go up. There was no mention of whether I am for or against stronger EPA controls, an issue which could perhaps be regarded as an emotionally driven.
Lastly, I agree with you regarding anecdotal evidence....drives me crazy. However, your statement that you've "seen 40 year old ashp's still operating in Fairport and honeye falls" is just that...anecdotal evidence. We've all probably seen 50 year old rifrigerators still operating. If it happened to be a Frigidaire, that doesn't mean every Frigidaire is expected to last 50 years. Similarly, I replaced a 17 year old Carrier ASHP on my last house. I was not pleased at all with 17 years of service life but perhaps that is the norm.
Let's not open the DX vs water loop debate or we'll be at this ad finitum!