Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Status Quo Bias

There are few things that make me angrier than well-off straight white (generally men) insisting that we shouldn't do something because there might be "unforeseen consequences." For example -- arguments that we shouldn't use CRISPR to exterminate disease-carrying mosquitos. Or we better not even talk about geoengineering regarding climate change.

(The latter is particularly absurd, given that people claim global warming is an "existential threat" but heaven forbid we talk about any possible fixes beyond our preferred solution. "Better for everyone to die than even talk about the sky being less blue!" Jeebus.) 

It is amazing that so many people can just assume the status quo is basically fine, when in reality there is so very much unfathomable suffering in the world.

Imagine if the person you loved most had cancer. Would you argue that they shouldn't get treatment because we can't possibly know every possible outcome? "Oh, maybe their compromised immune system will lead to a new infection that will spread to others."

But that is what these Luddites are basically saying: "FU to everyone suffering now and in the future. You can rot because I saw some scary scifi movie once."

Here's a hint: You are not the world.

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