Re: Re:Plane crashes and other accidents

Scott Badger (
Wed, 15 Apr 1998 23:03:26 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: ChuckKuecker <>
To: <>
Date: Wednesday, April 15, 1998 9:32 PM
Subject: Re: Re:Plane crashes and other accidents

>At 17:59 4/15/98 -0500, you wrote:
>>> >>As people's lifespans slowly but surely start to increase, the
>>> >>of death from "unnatural causes" will also increase.
>> This doesn't make sense to me. Longer life spans would not increase the
>>_frequency_ of unnatural deaths. Let's say you would normally live 100
>>years and you are risk-aversive to the degree that you have a 1% chance of
>>dying an unnatural death over the length of your life-span. If you then
>>become able to live for 200 years and maintain that same level of
>>risk-aversiveness, then (all other things being equal) you will still have
>>1% chance of dying an unnatural death. It's just that 1% of 100 is only
>>one-half of 1% of 200.
>>And if your life was extended indefinitely (to infinity), there would be a
>>1% probablity times infinity (equivalent to 100% probability) that you
>>die of an unnatural cause eventually (even if you significantly reduced
>>exposure to risk). Am I right people?
>I think this would apply only in an individual case. The previous post
>to consider more than one person.
>If you look at a population, rather than an individual, the frequency of
>accidental deaths to natural ones must rise as the average lifespan
>increases, unless you also have a corresponding increase in safety.
>I can't conceive of living in a totally risk-free environment - no spice in
>life! We all must decide for ourselves what constitutes an acceptable risk.
>Of course, I would not welcome risk due to another person's attempts to
>relieve HIS boredom!
>Chuck Kuecker
I respectfully disagree. Especially when you consider a population, the
probability of an unnatural death does NOT increase. If the population
decided to take more airplane rides than normal per year per person, then
the frequency of accidents would increase as a function of the number of
flights. If, on the other hand, the overall level of risk-aversive behavior
reamins the same, the frequency of accidents will not increase as a function
of time. Look, the simple way of saying this is that if you live twice as
long, you'll have twice as many accidents. That's not the same thing as
saying the accident "frequency" increases. If something happens once/year
and you're around one year, then odds are you will see it happen once. If
you're around two years you'll see it happen twice. The frequency hasn't
changed. Is that clearer?