Black Swans, Frankenfoods and Disaster Fairy Tales

Nassim Taleb, who wrote "The Black Swan," and several co-authors of a recent research paper overstate the likelihood that genetically modified crops pose an inordinate risk.

You can never be too safe.

Photographer: Sion Touhig/Getty Images

The 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal had what he thought was a great reason to believe in God -- it’s all about expected utility. If you believe in God and God turns out not to be real, it’s not so bad. But if you deny God and it turns out that God does exist, you get sent to Hell for all eternity. Even if the chance that God exists is infinitesimally small, the downside is so huge that you would be a fool not to believe.

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