Profiling - A Darwinian Necessity

Richard Butrick
No, not all snakes are poisonous. But if you see a snake move in the grass you better presume it might be poisonous and back off. Now maybe it was just a King snake. But unless you know for sure  you better presume it might be poisonous. Of course the inference that this snake is poisonous because some snakes are poisonous is fallacious. But is that what is going on profiling? The inference is that it might be. And it is the 'might' that is the weasel factor. The degree of probability is all important as is the degree of danger. The profiling that is involved here is a kind of generalization: objects with characteristics XYX are presumed, to a certain degree of probability, to also have characteristics UVW. The presumption is based on what we know or think we know about the probability relationship. Walter Williams, the noted economist and political analyst, characterizes profiling as follows, "We can think of profiling as a method to economize on information costs by using...(Read Full Post)