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A Philosophical Question for You

11.10.2005

This question was put to me earlier in the day by one much more intelligent than I. I cannot resist sharing it with you;

"While the American media found it reasonable that Americans should shy away from air transport if the reason was terrorists might be plunging it into buildings, the idea that we should shy away from jets because they have always had a tendency to crash in a statistically predictably manner is not at all reasonable. Contradiction?"

Just a few health warnings, this question was not intended to denigrate in any way the memory of those lost to either terrorism or air-accidents. Its intended as a reflection on the state of mind of the individual and should be engaged with as such.

Im interested in any and all responses, there is not a right answer to be sought here just some insights. My own take is that a risk factor in technology use has become internalised to a degree, while a risk factor from human sabotage of technology is something we find abhorrent. However this crude implement will not crack this question. Answers in the comment box.

Again, this is an invitation to free thinking, not an egregious insult to anyone. Intention is everything.
RR


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  1. Blogger EWI | 11:44 p.m. |  

    I think it might come down to the difference between happenstance - however unfortunate - and malevolent intent. People are instinctively more fearful when the risk of death is from someone keen to kill them.

  2. Blogger Cian | 11:50 p.m. |  

    I tend to agree, i think the point trying to be made was something along the lines of technological rationality. one of those questions constructed to take you back to basics.
    The key is certainly the intention rather than the outcome. It seems to weigh more on the consciousness.
    An interesting human condition. Perhaps were not so rational. Thankfully.
    RR

  3. Blogger P O'Neill | 4:15 a.m. |  

    You might know the old joke from statistics: if you're worried about a bomb being on a plane, and think the odds are 1,000 to 1 that a bomb will be on the plane, then you should bring your own bomb, because the odds of two bombs being on the plane are a (1000)^2 = 1 million to one.

  4. Blogger wulfbeorn | 10:21 p.m. |  

    damn conditional probability... good joke though.

  5. Blogger EWI | 1:19 p.m. |  

    You might know the old joke from statistics: if you're worried about a bomb being on a plane, and think the odds are 1,000 to 1 that a bomb will be on the plane, then you should bring your own bomb, because the odds of two bombs being on the plane are a (1000)^2 = 1 million to one.

    Sirrah, you are clearly not a statistician. That's two independent events, and neither affects the likelihood of the other.

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