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TobyBartels comments on Self-fulfilling correlations - Less Wrong

103 Post author: PhilGoetz 26 August 2010 09:07PM

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Comment author: TobyBartels 27 August 2010 03:11:47AM *  5 points [-]

Good point! A nitpick:

Believing that Internet Explorer is safer from malicious websites than Google Chrome won't decrease your computer's infection rate.

I don't think that this is a good counterexample. If people who want to avoid malicious websites tend to believe that IE is safer from them and thus choose IE, then IE should get better results (ceteris paribus) since people who care about malicious websites are also more likely to take care to type paypal.com directly into the address bar, etc.

In other words, one's attitude to safety from malicious websites has as much effect on infection rates as one's attitude to safety from car crashes has effect on crash rates. (Or more, I would guess offhand.)

Am I missing something?

Comment author: billswift 27 August 2010 06:46:35AM 4 points [-]

Or they believe using IE makes them safer and don't bother doing anything else. Or even take more risks otherwise because they feel safer because of IE. Feeling safer can make you less safe. Or have other unintended effects. And "beliefs" are usually based on emotion rather than thought.

Comment author: TobyBartels 27 August 2010 06:11:45PM 1 point [-]

Certainly, it can go either way. (Same with the Volvos.)

Comment author: PhilGoetz 27 August 2010 04:12:12AM 3 points [-]

No; you're right. Oops. But it's too late for me to fix it tonight.