Tenacity or Trouble?

My colleague can bring his Lab into work. Of course, since I own a pit bull, my dog isn’t welcome in public any more. But that’s better for everyone, or is it? In an excellent New Yorker article, Malcolm Gladwell explores the logical fallacies inherent in the pit bull ban:

The process of moving from the specific to the general is both necessary and perilous. A doctor could, with some statistical support, generalize about men of a certain age and weight. But what if generalizing from other traits—such as high blood pressure, family history, and smoking—saved more lives? Behind each generalization is a choice of what factors to leave in and what factors to leave out, and those choices can prove surprisingly complicated. After the attack on Jayden Clairoux, the Ontario government chose to make a generalization about pit bulls. But it could also have chosen to generalize about powerful dogs, or about the kinds of people who own powerful dogs, or about small children, or about back-yard fences—or, indeed, about any number of other things to do with dogs and people and places. How do we know when we’ve made the right generalization?

Read the complete article here.

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