Saturday, September 16, 2006

California bans holding cell phones when driving

California bans holding cell phones when driving - Reuters

I have used a headset with my cell phone from the time they first became available. It seemed so logical to me. However, I realize that which is a ‘no-brainer’ to me does not have the same appeal to most driving cell-phone users. If this was the case they would all have headsets too.

This brings up a more interesting discussion point of how it is that people assimilate behaviors, especially those behaviors with nearly unassailable advantage. Seat belts and cycling helmets, bicycle and motorcycle, are two prime examples of curious human behavior of adoption.

We can certainly calculate the number of additional fatalities and serious injuries that will occur because people choose not to avail themselves of technological advances in safety, but those same individuals would chafe at the notion that they are somehow less intelligent because of their choices. After all, this is America, land of free choice. In fact, this free choice argument can sound very alluring right up until one of our loved ones lies in a hospital bed barely clinging to life.

Taking it a step farther, to question the inherent intelligence of such people, also seems ludicrous. But, this is exactly what we do when groups, such as Blacks and Latinos, exhibit behaviors that are disadvantageous to their standing in greater society. Less than all-out pursuit of education is perhaps the most poignant example of behavior and results that call into question the heredity influences that empirical data suggest might be at play. Why else would these groups scoff at something so obvious to their benefit?

The truth is that we know too little about assimilation and why some people, of any origin, accomplish it more readily than others. Blacks and Latinos under perform Whites and Asians because they assimilate less of what they need to compete in our society. But like discretionary adoption of cell-phone headsets, seat-belts, car seats, and helmets, these behaviors are extensions of risk profiles, anticipation indices, and other factors of methodologies for living which developed over hundreds, even thousands of years, and cannot be explained so handily by unidentified, uncorrelated genes - except by individuals looking for expedient short-cuts to selfish destinations.

James C. Collier


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