Kaveh Moravej

Relative Risk

Neil deGrasse Tyson suggests in this Big Picture Science podcast that everyone should be trained in evaluating relative risk:

"Maybe it's our capacity to evaluate relative risk that needs to be trained in us at some point in the educational system. Because, as you know, early in our schooling, we're not taught probability, we're not taught statistics, we're not really taught how to analyse information. We're just handed information. And it's poured into our head and then we regurgitate it in exams."

Which makes me wonder...

THE SCIENTIFIC WAY:

A sensational attack has just been carried out by yet another lunatic. Dr Al Jibra -- Professor of Mathematics and Minister for Risk -- is addressing the media:

"Ahem. After many discussions and much number crunching, we believe that the probability of anyone being harmed again by such an attack is minuscule: approximately one in 3.5 million. In fact, you have rather more to fear when crossing the road or stepping into your bathtub."

The public remain calm and reassured, as the assessment chimes with their own understanding of relative risk.

THE REALITY:

A sensational attack has just been carried out by yet another lunatic. Mimi Power -- the Prime Minister -- is addressing the media:

"I assure you we will not allow this to happen again. We will pour billions more into protecting our citizens, and we shall pursue the necessary legislative powers here at home to ensure your absolute safety."

The fearful public agree to anything and everything. They search for something to blame, someone to hate. Something against someone must be done!