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The ontological status of universals
Posted: 29 December 2011 01:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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GdB - 29 December 2011 12:53 AM
TimB - 29 December 2011 12:47 AM

Could not “random” be another word for “improbable”?  And could not “improbable” be an outlier in the bell curve of probability?

No. If I toss a coin it is random head or tails. The probability of each one is 0.5.

I would suggest that if you toss a coin the possibility that it would be either heads or tails would be ever so slightly less than 0.5, because it could land on its edge or be snatched up by an egret or vaporized by a rogue streak of lightning, etc.  (though the probablity of those other events is very low, or one might say, improbable, or even interpret as random).

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Posted: 29 December 2011 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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TimB - 29 December 2011 01:10 AM

I would suggest that if you toss a coin the possibility that it would be either heads or tails would be ever so slightly less than 0.5, because it could land on its edge or be snatched up by an egret or vaporized by a rogue streak of lightning, etc.  (though the probablity of those other events is very low, or one might say, improbable, or even interpret as random).

Yes but it’s close enough Tim.

But go back to writer4u’s machine. In his case he deliberately desgned a machine to produce a six.

With the coin, although it’s not in a deliberately designed machine, it is in a machine in a sense. One in which the angle it starts at, the force it’s tossed with, the rate it spins etc is the reason why it lands on, say, a head.

So is the probability really about 0.5?

And if it really is 0.5 how can it make sense to say the reason the coin landed on heads was because the probability was raised?

Stephen

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Posted: 29 December 2011 01:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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StephenLawrence - 29 December 2011 01:19 AM
TimB - 29 December 2011 01:10 AM

I would suggest that if you toss a coin the possibility that it would be either heads or tails would be ever so slightly less than 0.5, because it could land on its edge or be snatched up by an egret or vaporized by a rogue streak of lightning, etc.  (though the probablity of those other events is very low, or one might say, improbable, or even interpret as random).

Yes but it’s close enough Tim.

But go back to writer4u’s machine. In his case he deliberately desgned a machine to produce a six.

With the coin, although it’s not in a deliberately designed machine, it is in a machine in a sense. One in which the angle it starts at, the force it’s tossed with, the rate it spins etc is the reason why it lands on, say, a head.

So is the probability really about 0.5?

And if it really is 0.5 how can it make sense to say the reason the coin landed on heads was because the probability was raised?

Stephen

I would have to say that the probablility was not “really” about 0.5 if those are all the factors involved.

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Posted: 29 December 2011 02:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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StephenLawrence - 28 December 2011 11:59 PM
Write4U - 28 December 2011 02:27 PM

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/A_dice_is_rolled_six_times_in_succession_what_is_the_probability_of_rolling_six_sixes

However if I control the roll of the dice with a machine which can control the original throwing configuration and the force of the throw, I might well be able to create a condition which produces a hundred sixes in a row. I will have introduced a modifying potential (mathematical function) which alters the probability factor.

It only alters the probability for you and those who know about the machine.

For everybody else the probability is 1 in 46,656. (for 6 sixes)

The probability changes with knowledge.

Raising and decreasing probabilities seems to be knowledge dependent.

But when you say the reason why things happen is their raised probabilities, that can’t be knowledge dependent because it needs to be true even with no observers with knowledge.

Stephen

I don’t believe that I said it was knowledge dependent. The example of the programmed machine was illustrative of purposefully modifying the probability factor, by adding certain potentials. These modifying potentials may also occur spontaneously from other causalities.

Hence the probability of six sixes in a row is (1/6)^6=1 out of 46,656.

But by the law of averages (perhaps a universal), if I roll the dice a million times, the probabilty of rolling 6 x 6 will increase twentyfold.  Knowledge is not required. Persistence is.  But it is by no means guaranteed that 6 x 6 ever will come up in a lifetime of rolling dice.

During the first few month on a poker site, I drew not only a royal flush, it was a seven card royal flush (8-A clubs). The odds (probability) for that happening are staggeringly low. I was “lucky” to sit at the right table, with the right number ofplayers (cards dealt), in the right seat, at the right time that the random prgram produced this sequene. It was truly a once in a lifetime event. I was playing with free chips…... mad
Thus while the probability for such a hand is very, very low, the right potentials converged at that specific moment in time creating a 100% mathematical certainty for that event in that particular seat.

Again this may also relate to the concept of vagueness materializing in reality. IMO, probability is directly related to and dependent on available potentials.

[ Edited: 29 December 2011 03:57 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 29 December 2011 02:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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TimB - 29 December 2011 01:39 AM

I would have to say that the probablility was not “really” about 0.5 if those are all the factors involved.

But then in everyday life we are never interested in real probabilities, as we are always interested in probabilities like the coin toss.

And if these are not real probabilities what are?

Stephen

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Posted: 29 December 2011 02:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Write4U - 29 December 2011 02:01 AM

I don’t believe that I said it was knowledge dependent.

No, but the point is, it is knowledge dependent.

The example of the programmed machine was illustrative of purposefully modifying the probability factor, by adding certain potentials. These modifying potentials may also occur spontaneously from other causalities.


Right, evertime a dice is thrown the probability is modified. Always the dials are set such that it will be a six or a three or a two or whatever, just like in your machine. The only difference is nobody intentionally sets the dials, and nobody knows what they are set to.

But by the law of averages (perhaps a universal), if I roll the dice a million times, the probabilty of rolling 6 x 6 will increase twentyfold.  Knowledge is not required. Persistence is.  But it is by no means guaranteed that 6 x 6 ever will come up in a lifetime of rolling dice.


But now you are back to working with the probability of a six coming up in each case being 1 in 6 when really the probability is “modified” each time.

And what is the probability modified to from 1 in 6 to what?

Stephen

[ Edited: 29 December 2011 02:30 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 29 December 2011 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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We are talking about the probability of a single result of 6 x 6, which is a little less than 1 in 50,000. But by randomly throwing the die 1 million times we raise the probability of producing 6 x 6 to not 1 time, but 20 times. Thus by increasing the number of throws we increase the probability of a single result of 6 x 6 by a factor of 20, a considerable difference.
The potential produced by increasing the number of tries increases the probability of getting a certain result. Nothing unusual about that. It is a true statement.

IMO this is how the first elemental combinations were produced. Success in a single try would be “miraculous”. But one viable result from a trillion trillion trillion tries makes it near inevitable.

[ Edited: 29 December 2011 04:21 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 29 December 2011 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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StephenLawrence - 29 December 2011 02:13 AM
TimB - 29 December 2011 01:39 AM

I would have to say that the probablility was not “really” about 0.5 if those are all the factors involved.

But then in everyday life we are never interested in real probabilities, as we are always interested in probabilities like the coin toss.

And if these are not real probabilities what are?

Stephen

Iwould think that the real probabliltes are a combination of the obvious factors and all of the other factors that we are not aware of, including the built in wild card that anything can happen.

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Posted: 30 December 2011 01:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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TimB - 29 December 2011 01:04 PM

Iwould think that the real probabliltes are a combination of the obvious factors and all of the other factors that we are not aware of, including the built in wild card that anything can happen.

Something is possible if:
- physical laws do not forbid it to occur
- we do not know for sure if the conditions that will give rise to the event will occur

The probability of heads or tail is 0.5, because we normally throw the coin in such a way that we have no idea which side will be up.

In QM the difference is that the is a principle limit to what we can know. Momentum and location on one side, energy and time, are not exact measurable values anymore.

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Posted: 30 December 2011 02:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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GdB - 30 December 2011 01:01 AM

Something is possible if:
- physical laws do not forbid it to occur

I agree. What still isn’t properly worked out is what this means, which is what interests me. If we take determinism seriously from beginning to end, only what happens is physically possible, in one sense. So we have two options, shove a little indeterminism in there somewhere, Doug starts the universe off with an indeterministic first moment, or allow for equivocation over what physically possible means.

I favour the latter, ideally.

- we do not know for sure if the conditions that will give rise to the event will occur

This brings up the next problem. How do you get this to work when looking backwards. How do you make sense of thinking of all the possible things you could have had for breakfast when you know perfectly well you didn’t have them?

You might be suprised if I tell you it’s not that I disagree with you over these things, it’s overcoming the problems which interests me.

Stephen

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Posted: 30 December 2011 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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TimB - 29 December 2011 01:04 PM

Iwould think that the real probabliltes are a combination of the obvious factors and all of the other factors that we are not aware of, including the built in wild card that anything can happen.

Quite so. However, the real probabilities could either be uncomputable and/or unknowable. From the wiki on the Ludic Fallacy

It is summarized as “the misuse of games to model real-life situations.” Taleb explains the fallacy as “basing studies of chance on the narrow world of games and dice.”

Hence:

According to Taleb, statistics only work in some domains like casinos in which the odds are visible and defined. Taleb’s argument centers on the idea that predictive models are based on platonified forms, gravitating towards mathematical purity and failing to take some key ideas into account:

  * it is impossible to be in possession of all the information.
  * very small unknown variations in the data could have a huge impact. Taleb does differentiate his idea from that of mathematical notions in chaos theory, e.g. the butterfly effect.
  * theories/models based on empirical data are flawed, as events that have not taken place before cannot be accounted for.

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Posted: 30 December 2011 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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StephenLawrence - 30 December 2011 02:31 AM

Doug starts the universe off with an indeterministic first moment ...

I favor that option!

tongue rolleye

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Posted: 30 December 2011 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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dougsmith - 30 December 2011 06:16 AM
StephenLawrence - 30 December 2011 02:31 AM

Doug starts the universe off with an indeterministic first moment ...

I favor that option!

tongue rolleye

And from that indeterministic first moment (if it did start the universe), the universality of the axiom of causality and adequate determinism ruled, OK?

grin

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Posted: 30 December 2011 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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kkwan - 30 December 2011 05:30 AM
TimB - 29 December 2011 01:04 PM

Iwould think that the real probabliltes are a combination of the obvious factors and all of the other factors that we are not aware of, including the built in wild card that anything can happen.

Quite so. However, the real probabilities could either be uncomputable and/or unknowable. From the wiki on the Ludic Fallacy

It is summarized as “the misuse of games to model real-life situations.” Taleb explains the fallacy as “basing studies of chance on the narrow world of games and dice.”

Hence:

According to Taleb, statistics only work in some domains like casinos in which the odds are visible and defined. Taleb’s argument centers on the idea that predictive models are based on platonified forms, gravitating towards mathematical purity and failing to take some key ideas into account:

  * it is impossible to be in possession of all the information.
  * very small unknown variations in the data could have a huge impact. Taleb does differentiate his idea from that of mathematical notions in chaos theory, e.g. the butterfly effect.
  * theories/models based on empirical data are flawed, as events that have not taken place before cannot be accounted for.

Well, there you go.  Maybe I got something right.  What are the odds? smile

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Posted: 30 December 2011 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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kkwan - 30 December 2011 07:39 AM

And from that indeterministic first moment (if it did start the universe), the universality of the axiom of causality and adequate determinism ruled, OK?

grin

Yep.

I know we are not interested in the ability to do otherwise in the circumstances, it’s just obvious. Say I have a bolt and am looking for a nut to fit. All the possible nuts are in my container of nuts, these are my options. But of course they don’t all need to be able to fit given the circumstances.

As I say, it’s just blinkin’ obvious.

I am agnostic about so many things, but this one, there just seems to be no contest at all.

It’s the same with the roll of a die. The possibilities we are interested in are the ones that have a probability of 1 in 6. These probabilities are our “guide to life”. What’s interesting is how it works, why are they a guide to life?

But if in a given set of circumstances the die could land on any other number than it does is of no interest to us at all, for practical purposes.

Stephen

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