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October 28, 2002
12:40 PM   Subscribe

Here is an excellent article on Rationality versus Values. Personally though, I'd rather be free of more mundane risks such as traffic accidents than say, extraordinary risks such as being held hostage in a theatre... but that's just my opinion.
posted by titboy (10 comments total)

 
Quoted from the article:
It has long been recognized that rationality should not drive all decisions. The classic example used in business school is of the sports stadium where strong sunlight falls constantly on one side of the stadium, potentially burning half the crowd. The rational answer would be to segregate attendees by skin color, with those with darker skins assigned to the sunny side of the stadium. Of course the suggestion outrages us, because as a culture we place a higher value on freedom from discrimination than we do on protection from sunburn.

Rational, but not optimal, I'd say. Rational would be to sell the sunny side of the stadium as the "cheap seats" and charge more to sit in the shade. (Hey, this is a business school example, I should be allowed to play shameless capitalist... Better that than racist, I'd say.)
posted by wanderingmind at 12:45 PM on October 28, 2002


Yeah but would you print a skin cancer risk warning on the cheap sunny-side tickets?
posted by titboy at 12:50 PM on October 28, 2002


On second thought, I've got a better idea. Just hold all the games at night.
posted by wanderingmind at 12:59 PM on October 28, 2002


Because they were an attack on such things as democracy...

They hate our freedoms!
posted by iamck at 1:12 PM on October 28, 2002


I think it is a mistake not to keep rationality and logic on your own side in an argument. That business school example is bunk; there are numerous rational solutions to that problem, and segregation is not among the best of them. The author has a decent point: there are other factors besides body count to address when responding to a threat. But it gets a little muddled because he starts in on rationality instead of addressing the (quite rational) arguments against the CSICOP conclusions.
posted by Nothing at 1:14 PM on October 28, 2002


This is a sensibly written article. It would be nice, however, if more of the anti-terrorism money went toward things just slightly less symbolic like strengthening the healthcare infrastructure in this country, a crucial need if we are ever attacked with biological or chemical weapons.
posted by originalname37 at 1:16 PM on October 28, 2002


originalname37 writes: It would be nice, however, if more of the anti-terrorism money went toward things just slightly less symbolic like strengthening the healthcare infrastructure in this country, a crucial need if we are ever attacked with biological or chemical weapons.

That is simply one of the most intelligent remarks I've heard on the subject. And, sadly, the most unlikely to be fulfilled.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:47 PM on October 28, 2002


I'd rather be free of more mundane risks such as traffic accidents than say, extraordinary risks such as being held hostage in a theatre

one could say that if there were no traffic accidents things like being held hostage in a theatre wouldn't seem nearly as exciting.
posted by fore at 1:51 PM on October 28, 2002


To imagine that Al Qaeda's next target might be the stadium in, say, Ames, Iowa, is far-fetched indeed."

HELL YEA, AMES, IA REPRESENT!
posted by delmoi at 4:38 PM on October 28, 2002


"But what the authors repeatedly fail to give weight to is the fact that the 9/11 attacks were not just attacks on people and property. They were attacks on symbols and values that the American culture gives great weight to."

In other words, what the authors fail to realize is that by calling for more reason and rationality, they are not taking into account that people tend to react blindly to emotional stimuli. Oh wait... isn't that kind of the point?
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:46 PM on October 28, 2002


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