What is risky and what isn’t?

What is risky and what isn’t?

What is risky and what isn’t?

I learned a surprising thing today. It turns out that after 911 people were afraid to fly and canceled their flights. Since they had places they wanted to go they drove instead. This caused deaths due to the risk of driving that they wouldn’t have had if they flew. It turns out that 1600 additional deaths were caused by car that wouldn’t have happened if people had flew instead.

Ok that is a risk that is known. Everyone knows that it is safer to fly statistically. So why would someone act in a way that wasn’t in their self interest?

What about things that people don’t know, and do anyway? For example, many smokers claim that the risks of smoking where not known when they started. The truth is that the risks of smoking had been known for decades. If people wanted to learn they could have researched it, before making a major life decision like smoking.

What about the controversial things? There are those who claim that climate change isn’t real. That we don’t have enough data. So is it risky to continue to use fuel based cars when we have a choice to be electric? I am not saying climate change is real or not. That is not my purpose here. The point of this is to say how can you evaluate risk when people believe what they want to believe with science and facts?

What is riskier? To be unique and have a different point of view, or to go with the crowd. One camp said the crowd has wisdom, another camp says following the crowd makes you a blind, weak lemming. Could they both be true? More importantly, can things be true in life that seem opposite or contradictory to each other?

I don’t claim to know the truth, but the more you look at risk, the less what seems intuitively risky is true. Sometimes the riskiest thing is to do nothing at all, so inaction is a not a choice.

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