And let’s go back to my post #21: “Flying is safer on all the important criteria: time between accidents, distance between accidents, etc. So you are demonstrably more likely to survive to your destination if you fly than if you drive. (That is, if you fly on a commercial airliner. IIRC private planes are significantly less safe).”
And I do agree with this. I did forget about your mention of the commercial airliner. We’ve discussed much in a short amount of time. I do agree that flying commercially is safer, but my original intent was that of flying in general.
If you made that determination, it would be an example of poor reasoning. It’s precisely the same as the person who takes homeopathic drugs and believes that they cured her of the mumps and so believes that homeopathic drugs are effective. Classic example of irrationality.
And when I said “I ignore it because it’s irrational” I mean that I ignore it as a separate source of information as valid as the statistical data.
When you claim that you can find conflicting statistics about anything you’re just engaging in obfuscation. If you really believed that, then you’d believe that science was an exercise in futility.
When I mentioned personal experience, I did not mean that it is a separate source. In regard to that one person’s experience, they could be a statistical anomaly. Only, I think that it is something that is reasonable to be considered with statistical information as well as other factors.
OK, apologize if I misconstrued your own nonexistent fear of flying.
No problem. I just wanted to make it completely clear that I wasn’t defending myself.
I cannot prove that it is irrational in any capacity to have a fear of flying—there may be some odd case where it is rational given the contrast class. The salient example is to fear flying more than something else, in this case, driving. Or to be pedantic about it, flying in a commercial airliner with a trained crew rather than driving.
There is something that I mentioned earlier about having a state of unfamiliarity that I do think plays into that. You can suspect that the pilot is well trained, well rested and sober but you don’t really know for sure unless you meet him. That would be the same as driving, too. If I hailed a taxi and got in and the back seat was blocked off from the front so I could not see the driver or his identification, I would be terrified. I will say that it is rational to suspect that the pilot is well trained and capable since he is a professional. But I think that having the fear of uncertainty is also a rational one since that is the way people think. Maybe what I am getting at is it is rational to understand why the people have the fear.
But also something that I mentioned earlier and Ian Mortimer discussed briefly. The element of control. I agree with you that there is an illusion while driving that makes the driver think he has complete control when he doesn’t since he can’t control nature or other people. And you said something along the lines of “on the plane, you shouldn’t have control” essentially because the pilot is a trained professional with sophisticated computer systems. I agree with all of that. However, I don’t think that even the pilot has complete control. In the case of bad weather, the driver can pull over and rest. If the car has a flat tire, you can pull over and change it. If the engine quits on the car, you can simply get out and walk away. Not that it means if engines quit on a plane then it will just fall from the sky (since planes can glide) but having no functioning engine sure complicates things. It could very well be not necessarily the fear of death, but possibly the fear of mechanical failure. Mechanical failures on aircraft (aircraft in general) have pretty devastating effects. These effects seem less significant for driving.
No, as I say, I dispute that claim. I believe that the only way he got “trips” to be safer for driving is by including data from non-commercial airliners.
The other, related question is which is the more appropriate statistical analysis to use: trips or distance? Well, given that the vast majority of auto trips will be short (the trip into work or to the market), one should prefer driving for short distances. But we knew that already. Using the “trips” analysis for the sort of trip one might actually choose to take a commercial airliner for, OTOH, would be completely absurd.
That is to say, there’s only a relevant comparison with trip lengths that are big enough so we can actually reasonably choose between taking a plane or taking a car. And in that case, the plane wins, hands down. And in that case, once again, it is irrational to choose the car if by doing so you are intending to make yourself safer.
I’m sure it included non-commercial airliners. But this isn’t really a statistic we can rely on for the discussion if you are debating non-commercial specifically and I am debating flying in general. I think to compare flying vs. driving fairly, one would have to only include accidents that take place while traveling long distances. I’m not sure if that would even be possible. Maybe if it only included accidents that happen on highways. At any rate, you would have to exclude parking lot fenderbenders and accidents involving only one party who was impaired, such as a drunk driver hitting a tree.