Saturday, January 11, 2020

Playing the Odds

"Never tell me the odds." ~ Han Solo

Lots of our positions on issues are based on anecdotes.  This or that happened to myself or a friend... and therefore I feel such and so.

Someone demonstrated this on a Facebook post of mine recently.  What I and an article I posted said negatively regarding Evangelicals wasn't true because... he knows Evangelicals who aren't that way.  Of course, if most Evangelicals were like the ones he knows... we wouldn't have Trump.

I don't own a gun.  A gun enthusiast friend of mine told me, "If someone breaks into your house, you are gonna wish you had a gun!"

He's right.  In such a moment, I will wish I had a gun.

But that does change the reality of the odds... therefore, it does not change my decision regarding gun ownership.  The odds say that a gun in my home will hurt or kill an innocent person loooong before it ever protects me from a criminal.

If someone tells me, "I will give you a thousand dollars if you roll 1-4 on a die or I will give you a thousand for a 5-6 roll, but you can only choose one option" - I would choose the 1-4.  Yes, if I roll a six I will have a pang of regret.  But, given another opportunity, I would still choose the 1-4.  Someone telling me that when they rolled they got a 5 would not change my decision.

Humans often ignore hard math due to anecdotes.  This is a bug, not a feature.
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