Authors: Emilio Mordini (Responsible Technology SAS, Paris, France & Haifa University, Israel)
There are sentences that unavoidably produce the opposite effect to which they aim, “it is not a matter of if, but when and where” is one of them. In theory, it is a sentence that should motivate people to face inescapable, although unpredictable, events. In practice, it is more likely to evoke denial  as the old Latin motto Mors certa, hora incerta, which probably inspired it. Since 9/11, this sentence has been recited as a mantra each time an argument against implausible threats has been brought up, most notably in the case of biothreats.
Biothreats have always existed  but they have always been local and small-scale . Major biological disasters, or even bio-attacks provided with significant symbolic power, have never occurred. This is not a good reason to argue that they will never happen reply supporters of the “it is not a matter of if” argument, who substantiate their point of view by adding that today we face an entirely new state of affairs, characterized by the convergence between; 1) globalization, 2) biotechnology and 3) the world wide web.