43. The false belief that it is possible to prove safety conclusively
The Titanic was “proven” to be safe, and called “unsinkable”. We all know how that turned out. There is no such thing as something perfectly proven to be safe. There is always some wild combination of circumstances that will cause something to break. A black hole may fly into the solar system and completely swallow the Earth, destroying everything on the planet, for instance. You can never be completely sure what will happen. The only way the safety of something can be proven to a high degree is observing many instances of it in action over a long period of time. For instance, aircraft are generally highly reliable, since the chance of dying in a plane crash is far less than the chance of dying in a car ride. The Space Shuttle was not very reliable, since two of the six orbiters exploded in flight, a 33 percent critical failure rate. Keep in mind that the Space Shuttle was highly over-engineered, and ran millions of line of code which had to be vigorously verified, but two of them still experienced catastrophic failures.