What is wrong with these paradical statements?

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Heard/read several times this type of stament:

"But predictions of gaudy disasters are vastly overblown. The truth is, no one can be absolutely sure what damage the Y2K bug will cause."

-- fly . (.@...), December 02, 1998


Yep, I too have seen this in the media. Yet, if you believe the second sentence (I do), it clearly invalidates the first! Of course, a lot of people are going to see both sentences as being very positive: the first says that doom-and-gloom will not happen; the second implies that since Nobody Knows, well, hey, maybe nothing will happen!

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), December 02, 1998.

"But predictions of car accidents are vastly overblown. The truth is, no one can be absolutely sure if you will have an accident."

If this was in the media, would it persuade you to NOT own auto insurance?

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), December 02, 1998.

Do you mean paradoxical statements?

-- Don't understand question (helpme@out.here), December 02, 1998.

Hewey and Dewey were a paradox. Same for Hewey and Louie. Ditto for Dewey and Lewey. Donald and Scrooge also qualify.

-- Craig (craig@ccinet.ab.ca), December 02, 1998.

help me: yes.


-- fly . (.@...), December 02, 1998.

I don't see a contradiction, just vague wording.

Nobody knows that their house will still be intact when they next return to it. Very few predict that it won't be (and most of those are clinically depressed or inept insurance frauds rather than psychics). Most, however, believe that the small chance that it won't be intact warrants buying insurance against the obvious possible causes.

Y2K is a lot like this, except that since it's unprecedented there's scope for a lot more uncertainty. Make your own judgements. Following a maverick is as hazardous as burying your head in the sand. (If enough people follow the maverick, his predictions become self- fulfilling, which I think I fear more than Y2K itself).

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), December 03, 1998.

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