Careful but fearless 2


7074b35abe87461d9efa46ac397373c3_18What happens now, after the attacks in Brussels yesterday, is that we fool ourselves in order to stay comfortable. A logic mistake many make is to think:
A: All attackers were Muslims. (or: All tulips are flowers.)
B: You are a Muslim. (or: A rose is a flower.)
C: You are an attacker.
 
How wrong this logic is becomes clear, if we replace attackers with tulips, Muslims with flowers and you with a rose:
A: All tulips are flowers.
B: A rose is a flower.
C: All tulips are roses.
 
Here are four less obvious ways we fool ourselves:

– Control illusion: Extra safety measures – like more police – give us the illusion of being safe, the illusion of having control over terrorism. But no one knows when and where the next attack will take place.

– Neglect of probability: Statistically it’s highly unlikely to have another attack in Brussels in the next couple of weeks. But we think that it’s thanks to the extra security measures that we are safe now.

– Action bias: Politicians really could better wait until more is clear about the attacks. But we respect them when they take action, even if it’s nonsense (“attack on our western values”) or counterproductive.

– Self-serving bias: We (Europeans, Westerners) see ourselves as victims, even if we are not living in Brussels or in Belgium. What we don’t (want to) see, is the actions of our governments in the Middle East that lead to terrorist attacks like the ones in Paris and now in Brussels.

Conclusion: keep your head clear! Don’t believe everything you hear on TV or in social media. Do you know that in ’14 there were 65 people killed in Belgium by road accidents? The probability of getting killed by a road accident is far bigger than of getting killed in a terrorist attack. Still, every day we all go on the road again, careful but fearless.


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2 thoughts on “Careful but fearless

  • Greg Lockhart

    A lot of good points but I’m afraid it’s pretty disingenuous overall. And I think I know why, and I think you do too…

    • hildespille Post author

      I did add a bit at the top of this post.
      Greg, please tell me what you mean, I don’t know.