Yes, there is a chance.

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Image by Uutela, CC

There should be a mandatory high school course on cognitive biases. We’re awful with them. We’re horrible with understanding chance and statistics. For example, we think that if there are two outcomes, then the odds are 50–50.

Almost everything is a non-zero probability of occurring. Getting struck by lightning? In the winter? At the bottom of the ocean? Non-zero.

However, in language, we like absolutes. Yes. No. Not maybe. Maybe is non-zero.

So what do we need to do to make people comfortable? We need to phrase our question in a way that adds in the “non-zero-ness” to an absolute.

One example…

“To the best of your knowledge…”

Is there a chance you are hypoglycaemic?

YES. There is a non-zero chance I am hypoglycaemic. Maybe 3% if I had to guess.

To the best of your knowledge, are you hypoglycaemic?

NO. Seeing that I am likely in like ketosis and that I’ve only seen hypoglycaemic levels of blood sugar starting on Day 5 of a fast AND I have no other symptoms, I am not hypoglycaemic.

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