# The Ratio: II

## X, Y in order (see below)

• ### 2, 18

• Total voters
10
brewnog
Gold Member
BicycleTree said:
Translation: you guys agree with my vote, but don't want to admit it. If you really disagreed, you would not hesitate to place your opposing vote.
Alternatively:

you're still on this flame? get over it. i'm surprised your flame has yet to be deleted and you haven't had a reprmand.
icvotria said:
Shut the hell up with your stupid polls and comments, we all get your point, stop trying to shove your 'look at me, I'm so subversive and objective' comments down everyone's throat, it's insensitive and pointless and it's pissing a lot of people off.
zoobyshoe said:
This poll breaks so many rules of common decency that I can't believe you haven't deleted it, the other one, and banned Bicycle Tree.
Evo said:
I think BT will soon learn that his opinions are not shared among the majority of the population and hopefully will understand why and learn something.
russ_watters said:
No, people are refraining from voting because the entire premise of the poll is bogus. In effect, you ensured that only people that agree with you would respond to the poll.
Moonbear said:
I'll add my vote to the "this poll is pointless/worthless/tasteless/based on a bogus premise/not worth voting in" crowd.
I think it's quite clear how most people feel, BT.

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Yea it is quite clear !

I would have voted 19:1. Why? Because people have the choice to eat unhealthy food and smoke several packs of cigarettes a day. A terrorist won't give you the choice as to whether you die or not.

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brewnog said:
I think it's quite clear how most people feel, BT.
I think it's quite clear that this poll makes people angry because it challenges their assumptions. I notice you haven't voted.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
BicycleTree said:
I think it's quite clear that this poll makes people angry because it challenges their assumptions. I notice you haven't voted.
No, that's only what you want to believe because it means you could smugly claim to be right. We've clearly stated our reasons for not voting, and your attempts at reading into our intentions meaning that doesn't exist is rather irritating. Why don't you tell us what conclusions you would draw for each of the ratios you listed if any one of them was the majority opinion? What would a majority vote for the ratio of 9, 11 tell you differently from a majority vote for 8, 12? You've also biased your poll in only one direction. What if someone wished to vote 11, 9 instead of 9, 11? In other words, it's a bogus, faulty poll, not worth voting in.

All you're doing is constructing a straw man argument here in order to justify your appallingly insensitive remarks in another thread, and we all see it for what it is.

Actually, Moonbear, the possibility of someone wanting to vote 11, 9 was the only nontrivial premise for the poll that I could think of. You must have missed where I stated it:
BicycleTree said:
I am interested to know any "premises" of the poll, Moonbear. I wasn't aware of any significant assumptions implicit in it. I did assume that nobody wants to vote a ratio greater than 10:10--is that where your dispute is?
Frankly, I think it is very unlikely that anyone would want to vote a ratio greater than 10:10. There are only 10 possible options, and I had to cut down on the ones that are very unlikely. If that is the only objection to the poll that you can come up with, then your complaining is baseless. Furthermore, any votes for a ratio greater than 10:10 would tend to support my opinion rather than detract from it, so if the poll is biased in any way it is biased in favor of lesser comparative worth of non-terrorist-caused-deaths compared to terrorist-caused-deaths. In other words, if it is biased it is biased against my own opinion and in favor of yours (assuming your opinion is a ratio less than 10:10). For this reason you are going to call it "bogus" and refuse to vote? Stop nitpicking.

However, Evo, if you see this, then feel free add another option to the poll, "Ratio greater than 10:10" to satisfy Moonbear. If you need to alter the poll to make the new option fit, then rename the 1, 19 choice to 2, 18 and delete the previously existing 2, 18 choice.

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Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
BT, you're right, it wouldn't matter how many options you add to the poll, we're still not voting in it. I call it bogus because of the reason for the poll, not the options provided. The problem is that no matter what option people choose, you're going to find a way to lord it over everyone how you are so right and everyone else is so wrong, and so we're simply not going to provide you with the set-up for such childish sniveling.

Nobody wants to let anybody die. Why we show so much pity for those dying from terrorism is because the death was from causes out of their control. Get it? I fail to see how you are inferring from this that people statistically favor death from obesity as opposed to death from terrorism.

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Moonbear said:
BT, you're right,
The important thing is that you have the courage to admit it. You did the right thing.

Summarizing the rest of what you said, you don't want to vote in the poll because of any conclusions that might be drawn from your choice. I have deep sympathy for you. :tongue2:

Knavish, there are reasons--terrorism being a cause much out of the victim's control being one of them--to view deaths from terrorism as somewhat more important than deaths from other causes. The question of the poll is, if more important, how much more important? Also, "people statistically favor death from obesity as opposed to death from terrorism" is no conclusion of mine.

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Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
BicycleTree said:
The important thing is that you have the courage to admit it. You did the right thing.

Summarizing the rest of what you said, you don't want to vote in the poll because of any conclusions that might be drawn from your choice. I have deep sympathy for you. :tongue2:
I have two choice words that are the only appropriate response to those comments. Unfortunately, board rules prevent me from saying them.

Well I thought I had a write-in vote, but it was not exact. I will vote just to make you happy, although my choice would be much higher $$1: \infty$$ or so.

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1:infinity? You mean if given the power to either save 1 life from terrorism, or to save all prematurely ended lives from other causes, you would save the life from terrorism? That's pretty sick matt.

mattmns said:
Well I thought I had a write-in vote, but it was not exact. I will vote just to make you happy, although my choice would be much higher $$1: \infty$$ or so.

nice to know my life aint worth a f***.

Well, you cannot do anything to prevent terrorism, you can, however, not smoke, eat healthy, etc.

you can't do much to prevent hurricanes, earthquakes , epidemics etc...

I guess I should have definied my ratio.

My ratio is: self inflicted deaths (ie, unhealty lifestyle), vs things that cannot be controlled (terrorism, hurricanes, stray gun bullet, things that cause a person to die when they would have lived for a much longer time, that were not self inflicted).

BicycleTree said:
Also, "people statistically favor death from obesity as opposed to death from terrorism" is no conclusion of mine.
This is what you are prodding us to say; why else would the poll be skewed like this? You're basically asking us how many obesity-related deaths it takes to be equivalent to a terrorist-related death. And that's a sick, sick question. Nobody wants to weigh lives.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
mattmns said:
Well, you cannot do anything to prevent terrorism, you can, however, not smoke, eat healthy, etc.
Careful, watch his original wording. He's trying to get you to compare deaths due to terrorism to ALL other forms of death, which would include other forms of homicide, casualties of war, negligence, natural disasters, suicide, famine, disease, inattention to your health, a genetic predisposition, a chronic ailment since childhood, occupational injury, etc. He has not asked about preventable vs non-preventable, nor has he asked you to compare the value of any individual life; he has asked you to determine how to allocate funds for preventing one cause of death vs. EVERY other cause of death. He has not provided any reasonable answer choice to fit with his question, indeed, has not even provided a reasonable explanation for the options he chose to include. He is also not asking about newsworthiness of the deaths, yet we all know his agenda is to use this poll to justify his statements on newsworthiness, which is what most of us saw through the moment this poll appeared.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
BicycleTree said:
If you have the ability, through distributing money and manpower, to save x lives from terrorists or y lives from other causes, how great does the ratio y:x need to be before you are undecided which group of lives to save?
Oh, here's something that's confusing. Here you define your ratios as Y:X but your poll says X:Y. Which is it?

Yeah I did not notice that the first time I read the thread, that is why I defined my ratio.

edit... hmm now I am confused lol!

Here is my vote: I would save 1 live that could have been prevented over 100000000... that were self inflicted.

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As long as we haven't voted in the poll, we can continue to argue obesity (that is, self-inflicted)- vs terrorist-related deaths. This is indeed how it started out as..

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Knavish said:
This is what you are prodding us to say; why else would the poll be skewed like this? You're basically asking us how many obesity-related deaths it takes to be equivalent to a terrorist-related death. And that's a sick, sick question. Nobody wants to weigh lives.
Agreed. And he's done it all through very tricky wording so as to entrap you no matter what you do. He sets up a ratio under the pretense that it's to allocate money and manpower, as if you're voting based on ratio of fund allocation, but then goes on to say that it's actually a ratio of lives to determine all-or-nothing efforts to save those lives, which of course is contradictory to his claim that this is a real-life situation that people have to face in allocated funding, because in real life, it's not all-or-none, you can choose to allocate proportions of funding according to relative risk of death and projected benefit of saving lives. For example, you can decide that all the money in the world won't stop someone from over eating, but with money and manpower, you can fight terrorists. Or, you can decide that some money into obesity research, some money into police forces, some money into anti-terrorism task forces, etc...will make a dent into each of those. Or you can prioritize and say terrorism is an immediate threat that we need to stop now before it gets worse, obesity is a gradual threat, so we can postpone funding that until we deal with the immediate threat, or this particular problem isn't claiming many lives, so we should put greater funding toward something claiming more lives. Yet, NONE of this goes toward the newsworthiness of any form of death.

I don't see what is wrong with this thread at all. It is a very valid question. The timing might be not have been the greatest but it is still a very reasonable thought problem.
I have read, I am not sure where, a similar question just with a different situation.

You are at the switch of a railway track and there is a train comming that has lost it's breaks. on the one fork of the tracks there are X pedestrians crossing and on the other there are Y railway workers doing minor repair on the tracks.
Given that the railway workers know the risks involved of working on the tracks, which way do you direct the train?

I am quite surprised that most of you are acting so hostile to BT. It is a perfectly reasonable question that, especially given the anonimity of the internet, should be anwserable truthfully by everone.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Physics is Phun said:
I don't see what is wrong with this thread at all. It is a very valid question. The timing might be not have been the greatest but it is still a very reasonable thought problem.
First, if you read the question and the answer choices carefully, you'll see it's not a valid question because it is heavily biased in a single direction. Second, it's not just an issue of timing, but the context of BTs remarks leading up to this poll.

I am quite surprised that most of you are acting so hostile to BT. It is a perfectly reasonable question that, especially given the anonimity of the internet, should be anwserable truthfully by everone.
To understand the sentiments being expressed, you'll need to follow the train of argument from the thread on the London explosions (note BT's comments and the responses he received): https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=673668#post673668

And then the first version of this poll, to which he refers in the opening post here, indicating his arguments in the two are not mutually exclusive:

Some people also develop a pattern of behavior such that one can predict their intent is not sheer curiosity when starting up a thread on a controversial topic, especially when it includes a clearly biased poll.

Quite so; there is a natural conclusion to arrive at from your answer in this poll. But I let you draw the conclusion.

a clearly biased poll
The only bias in the poll is that it does not include ratios greater than 10:10, which you have agreed is a negligible bias.

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It seems to me that this poll is starting to look dubious. it is almost as if one can assign a value or watever to anothers life. NO ONE has that RIGHT.