Ended: Feb. 6, 2016
And once you realize that the brain can’t multiply by eight, then the other cases of scope neglect stop seeming to reveal some fundamental truth about 50,000 lives being worth just the same effort as 5,000 lives, or whatever. You don’t get the impression you’re looking at the revelation of a deep moral truth about nonagglomerative utilities. It’s just that the brain doesn’t goddamn multiply. Quantities get thrown out the window.
According to this source, the FDA’s longer approval process prevents 5,000 casualties per year by screening off medications found to be harmful, and causes at least 20,000–120,000 casualties per year just by delaying approval of those beneficial medications that are still developed and eventually approved.
So there really is a reason to be allergic to people who go around saying, “Ah, but technology has risks as well as benefits.” There’s a historical record showing over-conservativeness, the many silent deaths of regulation being outweighed by a few visible deaths of nonregulation.