Do you think probability is an illusion? - XP Math - Forums

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 07-26-2007 #1 Dr. Psychosis Guest   Posts: n/a Do you think probability is an illusion? According to probability, the chances of flipping a coin and it turning up heads is a 50/50 chance. But, if I somehow could control all the conditions that affect the flip and made sure they were the same each time, wouldn't heads keep coming up? So, isn't probability just another name for human error?To elaborate, here's what I mean: The probability of getting heads on a coin is 50/50. But if I had the coin in the same starting position, tossed it with the same amount of force, letting it flip the same amount of times, and catching it the same way, then you'd get the same result, wouldn't you? Nothing is skewed, probability is the same, and chaos won't cause the universe to collapse. It seems to me that probabilty wouldn't even exist without human interference.
 07-26-2007 #2 ukboyinus Guest   Posts: n/a All things being equal, you'll get your 50/50 results.It's when you add variation that you start to differ the results.Then add human perception (and limitations) and our brain's interpretation of things, and results get skewed.Probability is separate from human error - it is the mathematical balance of occurrence.
 07-26-2007 #3 guru Guest   Posts: n/a No. Probability is a way to determine mathematically the likelihood of a future event. Nothing more. Nothing less. The larger issue is the desire to know the future. We can be a fearful species that is always wanting to know what is going to happen.If you could control the circumstances for one side of the coin and not the other, this would be interesting to know. You could, for example, create a coin where one face is slightly heavier than the other leading to an outcome that is different. The theories of probability are based on the belief "all things being equal."When you control the conditions, you are removing the equality factor and then probability would not apply.
 07-26-2007 #4 bb2k_wayne Guest   Posts: n/a No - There is a branch of Physics that deals with this.The basis premise is that it is impossible to know all factors that predict future behavior of any event.Therefore, ciaos ensues, therefore randomness.Hope this helps.Claude ( aka: SlideRule)
 07-26-2007 #5 r083r70v1ch Guest   Posts: n/a If you could control everthing, then it wouldn't be called 'probability' anymore. Probability is about something beyond our control. We try to predict logically, based on known facts and reasonable assumptions, what to happen next.
 07-26-2007 #6 Rebel Bodhisattva Guest   Posts: n/a "Probability" is just a term used to describe just what you've said above, prior to the capability of knowing and using the control over conditions. It just means that WITHOUT those controls of conditions, such-in-such is PROBABLE.
 07-26-2007 #7 Z H Guest   Posts: n/a probability is more about predicting the future. What you are talking about is science and controlling the variables to get a specified result. The future certainly doesnt exist. We only have this exact moment.

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