Or, we could use fact-based Inductive Reasoning…

…and not just reactively genuflect with fear that Sean Hannity might get upset and have a field day. Because Sean has shown repeatedly that it makes no difference what the left does; he’ll have a field day regardless. He just makes stuff up, like he did a week or so ago when he gave Bush credit for killing Bin Laden and said that if Obama had his way Bin Laden would still be alive. See, reality doesn’t matter to Sean. All he cares about is stirring up hate, and he’ll make up stuff to do that just as easily as he’ll refer to anything that actually happened. I don’t see Sean as the Big Bad Wolf. I see him as the rich clown that he is. (Admittedly, I don’t live and work among people who believe everything he says, and that is all the more reason to ignore him.)So, inductively we could look at the plethora of studies that have shown that driving while talking on a cell phone or texting is just as dangerous as driving while drunk, whether or not you are using a hand’s free device. And just as with drunk driving, people often accept that other people are impaired while talking on their phones, “but I never am.” It proves nothing more than the human capacity for self-delusion. You can find, you know, fact-based research here, here, and here, and dozens of other places and dozens of other studies. (It is true that as with drinking, it is even more dangerous with young, inexperienced drivers.) Sure, you can probably find some studies that say it is perfectly safe to talk while driving, and a lot of those if you look deeply are funded by the cell phone companies, and even if they aren’t the point is that there is plenty of evidence out there that it is dangerous, and you certainly can’t make a fact-based case that it is perfectly safe and say there is no evidence to the contrary…unless you are starting from a belief and using deductive reasoning.
And there is certainly precedence for government “interfering” in our lives to make us safer, even with cars. People at first resisted using seat belts, and when it became law and a big push was made to make people aware of the dangers, people started using seat belts. (And the Sean Hannitys of the day had a field day with it, and were eventually defeated by reality.) A generation ago only 17% or so of people used seat belts and now it is around 85%. And again, fact-based research, easily found by using the google, has shown that seat belts save over 11,000 lives a year.
It basically gets down to the social compact. Are we in this together or is it every man for himself. Ron Paul thinks it is every man for himself and that we should be free to die, or to increase our chance of dying by texting while driving. If Ron wants to do that, fine, but I don’t think our freedoms extend to where our actions endanger our fellow citizens to that extent. Drinking while driving endangers our fellow citizens, as does talking on a cell phone or texting while driving. You may not believe that or want to believe that, and rather than rail against the NTSB and big government, you need to provide fact-based research to support your position. Fear that Sean Hannity will have a field day doesn’t cut it. You don’t endanger anyone when you use your toilet. You do, whether or not you choose to believe the evidence, when you talk on your phone while driving. Name calling the government “Pathetically Stupid” isn’t making your case.
On a non-scientific level I can say that in the last ten years walking around Chicago, hundreds of times I’ve seen cars go through stop signs, nearly run me or someone over, cut people off, do other stupid things while driving, and at least 99% of the time when you look you see them talking on their phone. And the few times I’ve come close to being in an accident while riding in a car the last decade, the driver I was riding with was on the phone. So for me both anecdotal and scientific evidence make the case quite clearly, and I was very glad to see the NTSB recommendations, and hope they do become law. I’m confident they will, though it may take awhile because, as with seat belts, it can take a lot of tragedy before America recognizes reality.


About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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3 Responses to Or, we could use fact-based Inductive Reasoning…

  1. Jim says:

    Look JP, Hannity has a national market, Fox often beats CNN, and surveys show that the right has a sizable following. And they are not always wrong. You may want to disregard 50 or so percent of the country, but that would not be real induction. I don’t follow that media any more than you do, except to know they exist and to have a sense of what they are saying. The government should pick its battles, and cell phones in cars is a poor choice – visionary or not. I could see a rule increasing penalties for accidents while using cell phones – if you could ever prove it, but the NTSB needs to get back to reality.

  2. JP says:

    So Jim, you are saying we should let Hannity set a false agenda simply because he reaches a large audience? (And by the way, O’Reilly has the highest ratings on Fox and has around 3 million voters a night. The network news shows, Brian Williams, etc. get around 15 million viewers a night.) Fox hardly reaches half the country. Maybe he reaches half of your county, but he only reaches a small minority of the crazies in the country as a whole. And however many viewers he gets I can’t imagine why we would just wave a white flag and tell him to go for it, we’ll let him set the agenda. If we want to live in a fact-based, evidence-based world we have to stick to the facts, and if Hannity is going to ignore them, we ignore him. We give him credit the rare times he tells the truth or gets something right, and we hold him accountable, as we should hold anyone accountable, who makes stuff up and spreads hate and lies.
    I’m at a complete loss as to why you want to simply surrender to him, which seems to be what you’re saying.

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