• Poison Candy and the Innumeracy of Fear

    And now for something completely different:

    It turns out feminist androphobia can be readily repackaged as nativist xenophobia. Who knew?

    (Staks, probably.)

    Leaving out the various transitional digital fossils—of which there are many—here are the starting and ending points of the memetic evolution from fear of men to fear of refugees:

    To my understanding, the least uncharitable interpretation of the junior Trump’s meme is that three out of [bowlful] of refugees are jihadists. But how big would the bowl really have to be for that to hold true?

    According to Table 2 of this recent CATO study, only 20 out of 3,252,493 refugee immigrants turned out to be terrorists, over the course of four decades. Dividing both sides of that ratio by 6.66 (repeating) gives us three out of 487,874 refugees, which would make for mighty huge bowl of Skittles, indeed.

    The folks over at Vox.com have an alternative view, based on individualized annual risk:

    This goes waaaaaay too far in the opposite direction, from my perspective. The most salient policy question here is how many terrorists we are letting in to the country, rather than whether any given American living in the United States is at risk of death over the course of any given year. Think about it: How would it sound for someone to argue that Tashfeen Malik killed quite a few Americans, but at least she didn’t kill anyone you happen to know?

    I’m going to give the last word to moral philosopher Alonzo Fyfe, who reminds us that refugees are not candy, they are people worth saving in and of themselves:

    Actually, what it gets wrong is that skittles are not people.

    Let’s say that a pleasure cruise ship has sunk. You come upon the sight of the shipwreck and there are 4000 people in the water. You know that one of them is a killer. Do you refuse to rescue any of them?

    No, of course you don’t. Unless you have an heuristic which allows you to dehumanize them as members of an outgroup beyond moral concern. (Which Marxists might, given the nature of pleasure cruises.)

    Your thoughts?

    Category: Current EventsDamned Lies and Statistics

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.