Abstruse Goose: Disproportionate Reaction


I should never argue about anything whatever with someone who understands math, especially someone who understands it as well as our boy, AG, here.  But I wonder whether “disproportionate” isn’t confusing statistics with neuroscience.

Let’s say AG is 30 years old, meaning he’s lived for 10,800 days, so finding the spider one day out of 10,800 and thereafter checking his shoes daily?  Yes, statistically his reaction is disproportionate.   But the reaction to spiders isn’t statistical.  It’s hard-wired since birth, a little neural pathway with its little neurotransmitters locked in the hippocampus or amygdala or some place that Virginia knows about that has been programmed by natural selection over eons of evolution to know that a skittery thing with too many legs is just deeply wrong and to react accordingly, proportionately.  God.  I get jumpy even thinking about it.

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