False equivalence

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

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Following the debate on airport scanning I keep seeing versions of a particular kind of argument. It takes this form:

I’d rather be groped/x-rayed than blown up by a terrorist

I just want to point out that this fails to recognise that it pits a certainty against a (remote) possibility. I could argue back that if we want to try equating possibilities we might consider weighing the health risks (on which there isn’t an absolutely clear scientific consensus) of the X rays against the apparently statistically remote risks of terrorism.

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