Would you rather have your wife/daughter/self if female be stuck in the woods with a bear or man?

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borne_before

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This question is a little viral right now, but posting this from a way to hone my thinking about danger/threat. More specifically, using a statistical/rational model.

Let's get the following out of the way: women feel unsafe around random dudes and tend to pick the bear. Most men answering the question aren't answering the question. They answering a different one. They're answering the question as if they are the man.

I would really appreciate it if we could abstain from twitter/reddit style debate and focus on using statistics to infer our threat/danger models. I'm interested in other's perceptions of their process/metacognitive thoughts in how they might solve this question.

I am racking my brains trying to think about using statistics to answer the questions. Surely Bayes theorem/predictive validity models can be applied here.

Perhaps we try to focus on process, with less an emphasis on the content. If a reply gets three inappropriate reactions, then that poster must donate 5 bucks a to a charity of their choice or crank out 25 push ups.

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Is there some alternate choice that you forgot to put in the title? Or am I choosing between sending either my wife or daughter to the bear?

I would not feed my wife to a bear. Bayes theorem was not involved in the making of this decision.
 
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Been thinking about this too. The big issue is going to be the lack of good data on "non-negative" encounters with both bears and men. There is relatively good data on number of bear attacks, somewhat less accurate data on attacks by males (due, in part, to some of the issues with reporting- including negative consequence thereof as mentioned in the viral posts). There is probably minimal data on non-attack encounters with bears (I've had a few, and didn't report to any formal database), as well as non-attack encounters with males. While lifetime prevalence data would certainly suggest that a female is overall much more likely to be attacked by a male human vs. a bear, the absence of non-occurrence data prohibits making conclusions about any specific encounter.
 
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1. I have no idea what this question is so does anyone have a link?

2. Brown, black, or polar bear matters in this question due to the chances of a fatal attack/encounter.
 
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dude this question has been BLOWING up my twitter with the tradcons all big mad and the uber fems agreeing with it hahahah. Honestly though about half of my grad school who were women would straight up choose bear. They legit had nothing but disdain for men. The other half were cool. Makes me wonder how the ones who hate men could ever provide services for men (I used to bring this up and they would loudly proclaim they were only going to do therapy for women).
 
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From other responses, I'm assuming the question is "Would you rather be stuck in the woods with a man or a bear"?

Not sure if you were serious about taking a stats approach to this. Probability of being attacked by a bear is infinitely smaller than that of being attacked by a man. However, the likelihood of encountering a bear is also infinitely smaller than that of encountering a man. Here, we take the encounter as a given, so we're interested in P (Attack | Encounter). This also assumes you are sampling from the entire population of bears and of men. I have no idea how many polar bears exist in the world relative to black bears - that's also necessary for an accurate calculation, assuming we're sampling randomly. I'm not doing the digging to pull any of these numbers but if you can find them its fairly straightforward to calculate from there.

The real wildcard is the relative weight attached to various possible outcomes. There are many shades of grey between harmless encounter and brutal murder and substantial subjectivity in how "bad" these may be perceived by the individual. Assuming one survives either encounter, the woman attacked by a bear is going to unquestionably be viewed as a victim by society. A disturbing portion of the population will find some way to blame the woman attacked by a man (along with myriad other "emotional impact factors"). How the impact of that gets weighted is very subjective and that's where a purely statistical approach here goes awry.

All that said, the math isn't really the point. Being x% less likely to cause harm than a wild animal isn't something our gender should be proud of, regardless of the value of x.
 
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I would say that bears certainly have less (and less complicated) behaviors in their repertoire, and thus- with a little knowledge- you are better able to predict what they are going to do. We only have black bears round these parts, and they tend run before you even get close. I've encountered some pretty creepy men out hiking, but some of that creepiness has to do with the fact that I'm out along the Appalachian Trail and by the time through hikers have gotten this far north they tend to be a little "ragged." As for my daughter or wife, I'd rate the desirability of encounters as follows (from most to least desirable):
1) Typical male you'll find in the woods/backwoods
2) Typical black bear
3) Creepo male who is out in the woods for any reason other than recreation
4) Noticeably armed male
5) Black bear acting in any way atypical (or with cubs)
6) Moose
 
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1) I think the question is "would you rather have your (insert loved female relationship) in the woods with a random man, or a bear?"

2) This is a weird question that is highly dependent upon the type of bear and dude. I'm 50% sure that psygal can handle most dudes. I'm 100% sure, based upon repeat experience, that psygal is willing and able to physically chase off a black bear. I have next to no idea how she would handle a grizzly or polar bear. In the 2020s, there were 6 people killed by black bears, 10 people killed by brown bears, and 1 person killed by a polar bear. So the incidence is like ~.000000005151515% that psygal would be killed by a bear, ignoring the fact that some of these happened in Canada. Then where the bear attacks happened comes into play, and we really don't go to like half of them.

3) DOJ statistics says their version of incidence (not prevalence) of sexual assault and rape is about 0.1%. Of that 0.1% incidence, between 9-38% of sexual assault and rapes were committed by a stranger, depending on the source. So the risk is like ~.05% that some stranger would sexually assault psygal, if that person was a rapist, and they were motivated at the time, and and and and

4) So the choices are .05 or .000000005151515.... I'll take the bear.

*not all of these are super accurate and I resent being drawn into a Dwight Schrute bear discussion.


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1. I have no idea what this question is so does anyone have a link?

2. Brown, black, or polar bear matters in this question due to the chances of a fatal attack/encounter.
Number 2 is where my mind is going.

A black bear is preferred over a random male, although the real reason is seeing a black bear would be far more interesting than your average guy during a nature retreat, both instances have a statistical unlikelihood of being a threat.

Brown/Grizzly bear is where things get interesting. Grizzlies may be more aggressive ... but overall still aren't exceptionally aggressive. I could see someone going either way on this one, depends how daring you are although I would suspect a grizzly is markedly more dangerous than some random annoying schmuck at this point.

Polar is obviously total suicide ... I'd rather find Jeffery Dahmer in the woods than a polar bear. To play devil's advocate, I can think of a few dude's in the elevator/on public transit/wherever who acted in such a way where a polar bear may be preferred just because the bear will have the decency to end your suffering.
 
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I'd rather my wife in a forest with a man rather than bear. Using incidence rates or other stats of violence by man or bear is not useful in this situation because those statistics are derived from a different environmental context. For example, women are constantly surrounded by men whereas they don't typically go for solo strolls in bear infested forests. Even in cases of hiking/camping, there are often other people. Therefore, I find it more useful to consider the aggression levels and damage ability of the average man versus the average bear. From that perspective, being trapped with a man is the less dangerous choice. Also, you may get lucky and get a man that helps her figure out why they're trapped in a forest in the first place... don't think bears will be that charitable.
 
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To bring psychology into this, PTSD secondary to a bear attack is less likely than PTSD secondary to an interpersonal attack, particularly sexual trauma.

I also saw someone say: people are more likely to believe me if a bear attacks me
 
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Is there some alternate choice that you forgot to put in the title? Or am I choosing between sending either my wife or daughter to the bear?

I would not feed my wife to a bear. Bayes theorem was not involved in the making of this decision.

I mean, if the choice is feeding either your kid or your wife to the bear, obviously you feed your child. You and your wife can make more kids, they can't make more of you.
 
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I mean, if the choice is feeding either your kid or your wife to the bear, obviously you feed your child. You and your wife can make more kids, they can't make more of you.

That depends on age and the value of your life insurance policies.
 
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Number 2 is where my mind is going.

A black bear is preferred over a random male, although the real reason is seeing a black bear would be far more interesting than your average guy during a nature retreat, both instances have a statistical unlikelihood of being a threat.

Brown/Grizzly bear is where things get interesting. Grizzlies may be more aggressive ... but overall still aren't exceptionally aggressive. I could see someone going either way on this one, depends how daring you are although I would suspect a grizzly is markedly more dangerous than some random annoying schmuck at this point.

Polar is obviously total suicide ... I'd rather find Jeffery Dahmer in the woods than a polar bear. To play devil's advocate, I can think of a few dude's in the elevator/on public transit/wherever who acted in such a way where a polar bear may be preferred just because the bear will have the decency to end your suffering.
Just listened to an episode of a new podcast called Pretty Sure I Can Fly with Johnny Knoxville and Elna Baker. Premise is interviews with folks who partake in dangerous activities. On the episode in question, the guest was Ann Daniels. She became an arctic (and antarctic) explorer after becoming a single mother. She re ousted a story of being a alone in arctic and having a close encounter with polar bears (plural). She made it out, but it was a good thing she had the required .44 magnum on her. Very interesting person with some incredible experiences.
 
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Just listened to an episode of a new podcast called Pretty Sure I Can Fly with Johnny Knoxville and Elna Baker. Premise is interviews with folks who partake in dangerous activities. On the episode in question, the guest was Ann Daniels. She became an arctic (and antarctic) explorer after becoming a single mother. She re ousted a story of being a alone in arctic and having a close encounter with polar bears (plural). She made it out, but it was a good thing she had the required .44 magnum on her. Very interesting person with some incredible experiences.

RE: a charging polar bear, I still wouldn't feel comfortable with a .44 magnum unless I was a crack shot under pressure. You'd really want something like a .300 Weatherby or better for something that big.
 
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I mean, if the choice is feeding either your kid or your wife to the bear, obviously you feed your child. You and your wife can make more kids, they can't make more of you.
Which is why fillicide rates are higher for infants than older children.
 
Number 2 is where my mind is going.

A black bear is preferred over a random male, although the real reason is seeing a black bear would be far more interesting than your average guy during a nature retreat, both instances have a statistical unlikelihood of being a threat.

Brown/Grizzly bear is where things get interesting. Grizzlies may be more aggressive ... but overall still aren't exceptionally aggressive. I could see someone going either way on this one, depends how daring you are although I would suspect a grizzly is markedly more dangerous than some random annoying schmuck at this point.

Polar is obviously total suicide ... I'd rather find Jeffery Dahmer in the woods than a polar bear. To play devil's advocate, I can think of a few dude's in the elevator/on public transit/wherever who acted in such a way where a polar bear may be preferred just because the bear will have the decency to end your suffering.
Black bears can be plenty dangerous, they are still bears. You have some potential to be dangerous to them which is why they can be scared off relatively easily...unless they are hungry and are willing to brave the danger for a meal. Then they will outrun you and outclimb you, so good luck.
 
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RE: a charging polar bear, I still wouldn't feel comfortable with a .44 magnum unless I was a crack shot under pressure. You'd really want something like a .300 Weatherby or better for something that big.
Personally, all I need is a friend slower than me
 
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Is there some alternate choice that you forgot to put in the title? Or am I choosing between sending either my wife or daughter to the bear?

I would not feed my wife to a bear. Bayes theorem was not involved in the making of this decision.
OOOPS - fixed.
 
Just listened to an episode of a new podcast called Pretty Sure I Can Fly with Johnny Knoxville and Elna Baker. Premise is interviews with folks who partake in dangerous activities. On the episode in question, the guest was Ann Daniels. She became an arctic (and antarctic) explorer after becoming a single mother. She re ousted a story of being a alone in arctic and having a close encounter with polar bears (plural). She made it out, but it was a good thing she had the required .44 magnum on her. Very interesting person with some incredible experiences.
Tooth and Claw is another amazing podcast - it's about animal attacks. One dude is a biologist. One is his bro who often ends up being his field assistant. They cover sharks/bears/otter/etc. The biologist guy's mentor studies bear attacks and has the timothy treadwell pictures/tape.

Someone in my state was killed last year by a predatory black bear.

The meateater dudes talk about having both bear spray and a gun. I'm camp bear spray.
 
Personally, all I need is a friend slower than me
Not a good friend necessarily, but that annoying one that you call when everyone else is busy. You know, the one with the bum knee.
 
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I would say that bears certainly have less (and less complicated) behaviors in their repertoire, and thus- with a little knowledge- you are better able to predict what they are going to do. We only have black bears round these parts, and they tend run before you even get close. I've encountered some pretty creepy men out hiking, but some of that creepiness has to do with the fact that I'm out along the Appalachian Trail and by the time through hikers have gotten this far north they tend to be a little "ragged." As for my daughter or wife, I'd rate the desirability of encounters as follows (from most to least desirable):
1) Typical male you'll find in the woods/backwoods
2) Typical black bear
3) Creepo male who is out in the woods for any reason other than recreation
4) Noticeably armed male
5) Black bear acting in any way atypical (or with cubs)
6) Moose
Thanks for calling out the true danger of the forest - the moose. I was on a day hike with some friends in college and we came up on a dead moose laying across the trail. It's back was to us, so even though it would've been incredibly unlikely it was just asleep, it was impossible to tell. I bushwhacked in probably a quarter mile plus arc so I could get a better look. It died from ticks and had lost patches of fur all over it's body. Still the most nervous I've been in the woods and I've done more solo backpacking and off-trail scrambling than is probably advisable.
 
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Tooth and Claw is another amazing podcast - it's about animal attacks. One dude is a biologist. One is his bro who often ends up being his field assistant. They cover sharks/bears/otter/etc. The biologist guy's mentor studies bear attacks and has the timothy treadwell pictures/tape.

Someone in my state was killed last year by a predatory black bear.

The meateater dudes talk about having both bear spray and a gun. I'm camp bear spray.
Not much risk out here for bear attacks- If I'm coming around a bend in a trail or over a high bank getting out of the river, I'll just yell a little bit before going into a blind area. Moose are scarier- if they don't run away immediately, find a BIG tree to slowly move behind. I avoid backwoods new hampshire (where I often fish) during the rut. I've also been out with a friend who had a 44 with him, and that made me a little more comfortable (It's not taking down a moose, probably, but the sonic boom of the bullet over their heads gives them some pause).

Had a black bear in the yard a few years ago. Neighbors had one decorative fence panel-8' wide by 6' high. Bear just grab it by each side, tossed it down, and walked on by. It could've stepped 4 feet in either direction to easily walk around it. She took the short cut instead.
 
RE: a charging polar bear, I still wouldn't feel comfortable with a .44 magnum unless I was a crack shot under pressure. You'd really want something like a .300 Weatherby or better for something that big.

The town of Longyearbyen requires residents to carry a rifle when they leave town limits specifically because of polar bears. People on Svalbard know from polar bears, I'd trust them on what kind of gun to bring.
 
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I saw a video where a moose was chasing a bear and the bear looked TERRIFIED
 
This question is a little viral right now, but posting this from a way to hone my thinking about danger/threat. More specifically, using a statistical/rational model.

Let's get the following out of the way: women feel unsafe around random dudes and tend to pick the bear. Most men answering the question aren't answering the question. They answering a different one. They're answering the question as if they are the man.

I would really appreciate it if we could abstain from twitter/reddit style debate and focus on using statistics to infer our threat/danger models. I'm interested in other's perceptions of their process/metacognitive thoughts in how they might solve this question.

I am racking my brains trying to think about using statistics to answer the questions. Surely Bayes theorem/predictive validity models can be applied here.

Perhaps we try to focus on process, with less an emphasis on the content. If a reply gets three inappropriate reactions, then that poster must donate 5 bucks a to a charity of their choice or crank out 25 push ups.
First thought that came to mind for your question was the bear honestly and i’m a female.
 
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I saw a video where a moose was chasing a bear and the bear looked TERRIFIED
For what it's worth. Black Bears can't take down an adult moose, or it's pretty rare to see a black bear act as a predator to adults (they do take out a lot of calves though).

Grizzlies don't care and do hunt adults fairly often in the spring months
 
It’s the grizzlies that I’d be worried about. Mom if you’re around her babies. Dad if he’s hungry. Unrelated but kind of. Grizzly Man. Best example I’ve ever seen of high(ish) functioning bipolar. With a little cluster b. That girl who he tragically brought with him was in danger from both the man and the bear.
 
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It’s the grizzlies that I’d be worried about. Mom if you’re around her babies. Dad if he’s hungry. Unrelated but kind of. Grizzly Man. Best example I’ve ever seen of high(ish) functioning bipolar. With a little cluster b. That girl who he tragically brought with him was in danger from both the man and the bear.
I hear that Sloth bears can also be incredibly aggressive and not something I'd want to be remotely close to

They also attack like a moose, as in anything that moves including humans, likely due to them sharing a space with tigers
 
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For what it's worth. Black Bears can't take down an adult moose, or it's pretty rare to see a black bear act as a predator to adults (they do take out a lot of calves though).

Grizzlies don't care and do hunt adults fairly often in the spring months
This lady DGAF about black bears.

 
WAIT! Is this conditional? Are there still bears in the woods if you choose the random guy? And if so, do we get to know how fast the guy can run?

Because if psygal is in the woods being hunted by a grizzly bear, and some slowpoke mouthbreather is trying to assault her, all she has to do is keep the rapist between herself and the bear. Bear eats man, gets full, leaves psygal alone. Then I choose man. But if he’s fast, then just bears.
 
WAIT! Is this conditional? Are there still bears in the woods if you choose the random guy? And if so, do we get to know how fast the guy can run?

Because if psygal is in the woods being hunted by a grizzly bear, and some slowpoke mouthbreather is trying to assault her, all she has to do is keep the rapist between herself and the bear. Bear eats man, gets full, leaves psygal alone. Then I choose man. But if he’s fast, then just bears.

Which one do you choose if you are the man? :rofl:
 
I love South Park, but that episode hasn't aged super well
 
Are we going to have to play would you rather be stuck in the woods with Trump or Biden?
Trump and it's 0 contest. I'm pretty damn progressive, but even I couldn't turn down such a hilarious situation.
 
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