A False Sense of Rationality?

In an earlier post, I linked to an article about the preceived and actual dangers of terrorism and global warming. "A False Sense of Security?" (links to PDF), as blogged by BoingBoing, reinforces this point, saying among others that

[A]n American's chance of being killed in one nonstop airline flight is about one in 13 million (even taking the September 11 crashes into account). To reach that same level of risk when driving on America's safest roads —rural interstate highways— one would have to travel a mere 11.2 miles.
I suspect that the authors of both documents still jump when the killer suddenly appears in a horror movie, even though rationally, they're looking at a piece of celluloid projected rapidly on a harmless sheet of canvas. The reality is that we're animals, not computers, and assess risks with our hearts, not with our brains. People who are afraid of terrorist attacks are less stupid than people who think statistics would calm them down.

Posted by cronopio at 02:16 PM, August 08, 2006