The Great World Debate
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 19, 2017, 03:38:52 pm

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
R.I.P Nick. OLF died 13 October 2016.
116815 Posts in 5419 Topics by 87 Members
Latest Member: Aubrey
* Home Help Login Register
+  The Great World Debate
|-+  The Chamber
| |-+  The Comfy Chair of Conversation
| | |-+  Are flying saucers real?
« previous next »
Poll
Question: Are flying saucers real?  (Voting closes: October 12, 2017, 06:39:46 am)
Yes
No
Kind of

Pages: 1 [2] Print
Author Topic: Are flying saucers real?  (Read 148 times)
vanceen
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3706



« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2017, 03:42:58 pm »

But is it? There's no certainty. Putting numbers on it is just increasing the amount of 'very's said before 'likely/unlikely'.

Yes. It's a big difference.

Would you rather swim at a beach where there is a 0.005% risk of a shark attack, or at a beach where there is a 20% risk of a shark attack?
Logged
Myky D
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 18080


« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2017, 05:12:23 pm »

Yes. It's a big difference.

Would you rather swim at a beach where there is a 0.005% risk of a shark attack, or at a beach where there is a 20% risk of a shark attack?

This is what I mean.

Would you rather swim at a beach where there was a low chance you might be attacked by a shark, or a very very very very low chance that you might be attacjed by a shark?

It's semantics trying to pass itself off as mathematics.
Logged
vanceen
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3706



« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2017, 05:39:55 pm »

This is what I mean.

Would you rather swim at a beach where there was a low chance you might be attacked by a shark, or a very very very very low chance that you might be attacjed by a shark?

It's semantics trying to pass itself off as mathematics.

No, it isn't.

A one in five chance of a shark attack is very different from a one in 20,000 chance when it comes to decision making.
Logged
Myky D
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 18080


« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2017, 02:42:32 am »

No, it isn't.

A one in five chance of a shark attack is very different from a one in 20,000 chance when it comes to decision making.

How? It's either "(un)likely", or "very(n) (un)likely". It's merely speculation with an expensive coat on.
Logged
mikado
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 6273

a Nineteenth Century pseudo-Oriental nightmare


« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2017, 09:20:13 am »

It's somewhat important speculation if you're making a choice which beach to swim at. 

If you don't think probability is important, allow me to invite you to a friendly game of dice.
Logged

No fear, no hate, no pain, no broken hearts
mikado
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 6273

a Nineteenth Century pseudo-Oriental nightmare


« Reply #30 on: August 16, 2017, 09:30:03 am »

One term in the Drake equation is an estimate of the probability of life arising when suitable conditions exist. Of course it's more of a swinging wild ass guess than an estimate, because there is no information to assign a value to the probability, except that zero can be ruled out.

I suspect that the probability is very low indeed. It appears that all life on earth arose from a common ancestor, since all life on earth is based on DNA. That means life arose only once during all time; not twice, not six times, not a thousand times, despite eons of favorable conditions.

The only ways that life on earth has arisen multiple times are:

1. One or more non-DNA life forms arose, but then died out. In effect, that still means that the probability of persistent life under favorable conditions is very low.
2. DNA based life arose multiple times. Possible in principle, but why should just those four nucleotides be used, and no other, no more, and no fewer?

Still, given the incredible number of planets, it seems very likely there are numerous life forms out there.

But it seems extremely unlikely that we will ever encounter them, unless special relativity is wrong, or we (or they) somehow manage to harness wormholes (assuming they really exist and have the properties hypothesized for them).

Yes to all that.

It seems to me that the probability of life appearing spontaneously may well be vanishingly small (who knows?), in which case, in a finite universe it may well be that we're the only solar system that has developed life.
Logged

No fear, no hate, no pain, no broken hearts
Myky D
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 18080


« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2017, 09:48:47 am »

It's somewhat important speculation if you're making a choice which beach to swim at. 

If you don't think probability is important, allow me to invite you to a friendly game of dice.

What would your game of dice prove? Prove. Not suggest.
Logged
mikado
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 6273

a Nineteenth Century pseudo-Oriental nightmare


« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2017, 09:53:43 am »

What would your game of dice prove? Prove. Not suggest.

If we played enough of them, it'd prove that your ignorance of probability was making you poorer and me richer.
Logged

No fear, no hate, no pain, no broken hearts
Myky D
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 18080


« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2017, 10:01:15 am »

If we played enough of them, it'd prove that your ignorance of probability was making you poorer and me richer.

Seriously, could you explain it? Because I don't understand it.
Logged
mikado
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 6273

a Nineteenth Century pseudo-Oriental nightmare


« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2017, 10:46:05 am »

What do you not understand?  I take it you understand that some things are more likely to happen than others?  It's more likely that the temperature tomorrow will reach 20 degrees Celsius than that it will reach 45 degrees.  That sort of thing?  Are you not understanding how probability can be expressed mathematically?

So if I roll a single (fair) die, it's equally likely that any of the numbers 1-6 will come up.  So the probability of rolling, say, a 1 is 1 in 6.  or 16.667% if you prefer.

If I roll two dice there's 36 different results that can occur.  Eg:

- first die is a 1, second is a 1
- first die is a 1, second is a 2
- first die is a 1, second is a 3
- etc
- first die is a 2, second is a 1
- etc

If there's 36 possible results and only one way of getting a double-1, then the chance of getting the double-1 is 1 in 36 (2.778%).

If I roll two dice and add the results, there's only one way of getting 2 (double-1) but six ways of getting 7 (1+6, 2+5, 3+4, 4+3, 5+2, 6+1).  So the chance of getting a total of 7 is 6 in 36, or 1 in 6 (or 16.667%).

So knowing stuff like it's six times more likely you'll roll a 7 than a 2 with two dice is handy in avoiding getting fleeced in dice games.

People much cleverer than you and me have tested this by rolling lots of dice and flipping lots of coins and recording the results.  They have gone on to develop statistical methods vastly more complicated than the above and have tested them longhand to check they work (note this needs a very large number of tests. Probability doesn't guarantee an outcome, it just says how likely the outcome is).

If at the end of all that you still don't understand that swimming at the beach with a 20% chance of shark attacks is a less good idea than swimming at the beach with 0.0000-whatever-percent then that's too bad Smiley
Logged

No fear, no hate, no pain, no broken hearts
Myky D
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 18080


« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2017, 11:19:55 am »

What do you not understand?  I take it you understand that some things are more likely to happen than others?  It's more likely that the temperature tomorrow will reach 20 degrees Celsius than that it will reach 45 degrees.  That sort of thing?  Are you not understanding how probability can be expressed mathematically?

So if I roll a single (fair) die, it's equally likely that any of the numbers 1-6 will come up.  So the probability of rolling, say, a 1 is 1 in 6.  or 16.667% if you prefer.

If I roll two dice there's 36 different results that can occur.  Eg:

- first die is a 1, second is a 1
- first die is a 1, second is a 2
- first die is a 1, second is a 3
- etc
- first die is a 2, second is a 1
- etc

If there's 36 possible results and only one way of getting a double-1, then the chance of getting the double-1 is 1 in 36 (2.778%).

If I roll two dice and add the results, there's only one way of getting 2 (double-1) but six ways of getting 7 (1+6, 2+5, 3+4, 4+3, 5+2, 6+1).  So the chance of getting a total of 7 is 6 in 36, or 1 in 6 (or 16.667%).

So knowing stuff like it's six times more likely you'll roll a 7 than a 2 with two dice is handy in avoiding getting fleeced in dice games.

People much cleverer than you and me have tested this by rolling lots of dice and flipping lots of coins and recording the results.  They have gone on to develop statistical methods vastly more complicated than the above and have tested them longhand to check they work (note this needs a very large number of tests. Probability doesn't guarantee an outcome, it just says how likely the outcome is).

If at the end of all that you still don't understand that swimming at the beach with a 20% chance of shark attacks is a less good idea than swimming at the beach with 0.0000-whatever-percent then that's too bad Smiley

Thanks for that, mikado - illuminating and interesting. However, in the words of Alan Partridge, "You're right, you're right, you're right. And so am I." - the bit I have a problem with is this:

Probability doesn't guarantee an outcome, it just says how likely the outcome is

That's just it. That's where I say that it's just semantics in an expensive coat.
Logged
mikado
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 6273

a Nineteenth Century pseudo-Oriental nightmare


« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2017, 11:41:11 am »

That's where I say that it's just semantics in an expensive coat.

That's a nice line, but if you bring it to games of "chance" you'll find yourself a lot less "lucky" than the people who know what they're doing.
Logged

No fear, no hate, no pain, no broken hearts
mikado
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 6273

a Nineteenth Century pseudo-Oriental nightmare


« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2017, 11:52:14 am »

That said, in the original context in this thread (Drake's equation) the word "probability" could be substituted with "wild guess".  There's no way on knowing, right now, what the probability is of life appearing spontaneously and anyone who calls it "probability" is just guessing.

In my previous post on probability I was going to use a hilarious (believe me, you had to be there) line about the odds-on favourite at Kempton Park having a better probability of winning than the 200-1 outsider (told you it was funny).  But that would have been a terrible example of probability, as the racing odds have more to do with the gut feel of punters than they do to the science of probability.  So I deleted the line - your loss, of course.
Logged

No fear, no hate, no pain, no broken hearts
Myky D
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 18080


« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2017, 12:01:34 pm »

Truly we is all poorer for it, bruv.
Logged
Pages: 1 [2] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.17 seconds with 22 queries.