- Imagine you are getting a coffee at Costa Coffee at Douglas Sea Terminal. You’re in the queue to order, and a guy wanders in, announces that there’s a tsunami coming. He then joins the back of the queue to order a coffee and waits patiently. This action reveals that he doesn’t really believe there is a tsunami coming.
- Alternatively, imagine you are getting a coffee at Costa Coffee at Douglas Sea Terminal. You’re in the queue to order, and a guy runs in, yells that there’s a tsunami coming, and runs out. This action reveals that at the very least, he might really believe there is a tsunami coming.
In the first scenario, it is reasonable for me to roll my eyes and wait my turn to order your coffee. In the second scenario, I would at least look out the window to figure out if there’s a big wave coming!
Aris Roussinos writes an excellent article about this issue in the context of climate change:
Personally, if I genuinely believed that Britain was going to become a post-apocalyptic wasteland within the next twenty years, I wouldn’t be campaigning for the Government to retrofit British houses with insulation: I’d be selling everything and fleeing to the hills in a desperate effort to keep my family alive. And yet they don’t. I have friends who go on XR demonstrations, and repeat their most apocalyptic prophecies, yet show no inclination of altering their middle-class lives in London: their revealed preferences therefore cast great doubt on their stated beliefs.Why I am fleeing to the hills