orion

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I posed the following question demonstrating probability in the 'Origins of Life' thread. However, I am copying it here in a new thread because I think it illustrates a simple example of probability.
Probability is misused by Creationists to impress the lay public. Try presenting this simple probability problems to your friends. Ssee how many come up with the correct answer.
Back when I was growing up during the 60's, there was a game show on TV called 'Let's Make a Deal'. Towards the end of the show the host, Monte Hall, would offer the lucky contestant a choice of three doors  door #1, door #2, or door #3.
Now, there is a nice big and expensive prize waiting behind only one of the three doors. The other two doors contain a silly scene  a ZOK, such as a goat, or some such silly thing.
The contestant chooses one of the three doors, hoping that he/she has chosen correctly  door X.
Monte then announces to the audience "Now before we show (Sally/whoever) what is behind door X, let's see what is behind door Y."
They open up and there would be a ZOK  a silly scene. Everyone would laugh uproariously. Boy, good thing Sally didn't pick door Y. Everyone is relieved at that because we all want Sally to win the big prize.
So now we are down to 2 doors  door X and door Z. But before it is revealed what is behind the door that Sally picked (door X), our gracious game show host offers another choice to Sally.
"Sally", Monte says, "before we show you what is behind door X, I am going to offer you one final choice. We have two doors left. You may either keep your door (door X), or you may trade your door for the other door (door Z)."
Here is the question. Should Sally trade her door for door Z, or does it make no difference? That is, is there a difference in probability to which door contains the BIG prize, or is the probability the same for each door?
Pose this question to your friends, and let's see how they answer.


Posts: 1460  Posted: 2:02 PM on November 15, 2009  IP


orion

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Exactly Wisp. Extending the example to a million doors makes it a nobrainer choice for Sally.
But Creationist often like to use probability, incorrectly applied, to imply that evolution is impossible.


Posts: 1460  Posted: 11:19 PM on November 15, 2009  IP


wisp

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Here's another example of bad applicability (it's, in a way, the opposite of your example):
Let's say you flip a coin, and it lands tails 7/7 times.
What are the odds that it will land tails once more iif you flip it again?
Intuition is very important in our everyday lives. But the thing is that you can educate your intuition. You can make it smarter by thinking and learning. Creationists tend to refuse to do this, so they are stuck with one of our most primitive intuitions: to see purpose in the natural world.
Another example of bad intuition: Two friends. One mocks the other for buying a lottery ticket with the number 0001, while he buys the ticket 8439572.
If they had a smart friend he would mock them both.
Another counterintuitive example: Take several books. Open them at random, and write down the pages. Write down random price tags (you can do it over the internet). Ask people for their addresses, and write the numbers down. Write down the charge on your bills. Write down some extensions of rivers, and some populations of cities.
Not the lottery. Don't write those numbers down.
Now that you have a big list of numbers, what percentage do you think will begin with 1? And 2? And 3, up to 9?
Does your intuition tell you that they will be evenly distributed?
Well WRONG!
1:  30.1 2:  17.6 3:  12.5 4:  9.7 5:  7.9 6:  6.7 7:  5.8 8:  5.1 9:  4,6
It's called Benford's law, and it's real. =D
They use it to detect frauds with forged numbers (people forge their numbers using their flawed intuition, forgetting that reality doesn't have any obligations towards their intuitions).
Another counterintuitive example: What do you think the odds are that, if you flip a coin 200 times it will land head (or tails) 6 times or more in a row? This is also an application of Benford's law. Again, it can be used to detect imaginary data.
Another: I can demonstrate mathematically that, at any given moment, there are a couple of antipodal points in the Earth that have exactly the same temperature.
Is it counterintuitive enough? If not, i can take it a couple (or infinite?) steps further: I can demonstrate mathematically that, at any given moment, there is an INFINITE number of pairs of antipodal points with the same temperature in any given planet.
Believe it or not, it's true, and i can prove it (yeah, in Math we CAN give proofs).
Does it mean that every point on Earth shares the same temperature with its antipode? Nopes. But if there are INFINITE points that do, doesn't it mean that it's valid for every point? Nopes. Isn't that impossible? Nopes. Bwahahaha!

Quote from Lester10 at 2:51 PM on September 21, 2010 in the thread Scientists assert (by Lester): Ha Ha. (...) I've told you people endlessly about my evidence but you don't want to show me yours  you just assert. 

porkchop Would we see a mammal by the water's edge "suddenly" start breathing underwater(w/camera effect of course)? 
 Contact me at youdebate.1wr@gishpuppy.com 

Posts: 3037  Posted: 01:59 AM on November 16, 2009  IP


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