>That was part of the point; why are people so hung up on banning guns when
>they're such a small risk to the majority, and essential to the minority
>who are most at risk of murder (poor inner-city dwellers)? The answer would
>have to be that people are just extremely bad at judging risks, which is
>one of the things I've been trying to point out in other threads, and one
>of the skills that I think is important to a long-lived being.
Good point. Note, however, that the converse is also true; i.e., if gun ownership really isn't tied to crime rate (either positively or negatively), then owning a gun "for protection", as many gun owners on this list claim to do, may not make sense. If I were living in a neighborhood where crime was rampant, and for whatever reason couldn't/wouldn't leave, then owning a gun might very well be reasonable. If I didn't (and I don't), then my resources are likely better spent elsewhere.
>Presumably this is -- as, I think, Dawkins pointed out -- because we've
>evolved to judge risks which are relevant to our short lifespans and our
>instincts are unable to deal with the risks in modern life. We treat
>potential minor threats we can see -- like guns -- far more seriously
>than serious threats that aren't as obvious.
In the same section (I forget which book, though), Dawkins makes the example that if we had natural lifespans of say, 500 000 years, we would probably avoid "high-risk" activities such as crossing the street. I find this a sobering thought: it would be a sad irony indeed if in gaining indefinite lifespans we become afraid to live.
Ken Kittlitz email@example.com AudeSi Technologies Inc. http://www.lucifer.com/~ken http://www.audesi.com