Saturday, 3 December 2011

8. Screwed Up Ideologies #6

Alright from here, you can see how our brain can't understand probability, but this is a part 2 if you'd like to call it that. I had to make this because a friend tells me about his crappy day where his girlfriend did this and that, and he missed the bus and it rained so he had to walk home and blah blah blah. I don't care. He screams at me over MSN. "Let's see how you feel when it happens to you!"  Like dude, first of all, I drive a car...anyways to the point:

Have you heard about the European dude who sleeps with one eye open, on a chair, whilst holding a shotgun? You know, just in case the mafia storms into his house to kill him?
Well hand him a bunch of sheets outlining the data which states the 'death by murder' rate in the city of Switzerland (1 guy dead in the last 10000 years). Heck, he'd have more chance lighting his house on fire or dying via lightning strike, but no he won't change his mind. As a matter of fact, he'll just tell his recount of a story where an old guy named Leon sleeps with one eye open with a pistol by his side, successfully killing the crazy Die Hard terrorists who tried to get him. Funnily, that bizarre example surpasses the data of statistics/probability and all that maths.

Another [true] example lies in the sector of politics (here we go). The great nation of USA spent 1.3 trillion (That's a tad over 22 Bill Gates) on the war of terror in reaction to the 14000 or so deaths from international terrorism from 1975 to 2003. Now I'm pretty good at Maths Extension 2 and that equalizes up to 90 million dollars for each person that was killed. Ain't that a great use of money, good thing they didn't use it for other silly things, like finding a cure for cancer or preventing industrial accidents. Note the sarcasm, industrial accidents cause a high amount of deaths.

These 2 examples above have an emotion tied closely to them. Fear.
As experts point out, "When a strong emotion is tied to an unlikely event, our ability to understand the word, 'unlikely,' goes out the window."

So maybe next time, think a bit before you tell someone: "Let's see how you feel when it happens to you." Because you'll look like a dud and chances are, it will never happen in their life.


  1. Yes to all of this! That quote sums it up perfectly: emotion makes us unable to understand numbers.

  2. I don't think I've ever said that in my life. Good thing!

  3. Very cool blog following!!! Keep it up and Merry Christmas !

  4. top-notch. I never though of this tbh.

  5. Thanks for the follow man I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm liking your rants. The ideas behind this really made me think and question possible motives behind these events.

  6. Such a good post!

  7. Perception is skewed when emotional, in most cases at least. What about positive (love, affection) emotion versus negative (fear, anger) emotion? Does the theory still hold true?

  8. also, war on "terror"
    right, terror! ok! and I'm santa claus, right?

    real terror is Israel, wikileaks persecution, the US patriot act... just to name a few