Millenarismo secolarizzato e percezione del rischio
Secular Milenarism and the Perception of Risk
According to the Carter-Leslie "doomsday argument", the probability of the world ending soon is larger than people think. The argument exploits Bayesian reasoning to compute the posterior probability of the world ending at some near point in the future, given the rank of our generation in the human race, and given assumptions about the prior probability of the world ending at that point. The doomsday argument appears flawed both in its logical structure and in its assumptions about millenaristic beliefs (or lack thereof). In fact, a correct application of Bayeasian reasoning to the doom problem demonstrates that the posterior probability of doom at any point in the future depends continously on the choice of priors. Thus, the posterior can take any value and the argument becomes essentially meaningless. Moreover, when people are asked to rate the probability of the world ending at some point in the future, they assign probabilities in accord with known principles of the psychology of reasoning: risk perception depends on familiarity and degree of perceived control. Thus, people can think that the probability of the world ending soon can be of almost any size, depending on how you frame the question.
Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
I (1999) 1
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Nicola Bruno, "Millenarismo secolarizzato e percezione del rischio", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, I (1999) 1