Debunked : You guys will love this

567
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Debunked!! : You guys will love this!!

I just read this in this month's SCIAM magazine:

Scientific American: August 2004

Miracle on Probability Street
The Law of Large Numbers guarantees that one-in-a-million miracles happen 295 times a day in America By Michael Shermer


Because I am often introduced as a “professional skeptic”, people feel compelled to challenge me with stories about highly improbable events. The implication is that if I cannot offer a satisfactory natural explanation for that particular even, the general principle of supernaturalism is preserved. A common story is the one about having a dream or thought about the death of a friend or relative and then receiving a phone call five minutes later about the unexpected death of that very person.

I cannot always explain such specific incidents, but a principle of probability called the Law of Large Numbers shows that an event with a low probability of occurrence in a small number of trials has a high probability of occurrence in a large number of trials. Events with million-to-one odds happen 295 times a day in America.
Nice. :smile:

Edit:by Ivan: No, really not.

Only excerpts from copyright protected materials are allowed. I have edited this post accordingly. Please purchase the complete story

here

or purchase the magazine.
 
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selfAdjoint

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Littlewood was at Cambridge? I thought he was at Oxford! Hardy certainly was, and I had the impression of them as day-to-day colleagues.

(Added in edit). Google quickly shows me that not only was he the Rouse Ball professor of mathematics at Cambridge, but he was the son of a Cambridge don and spent his life there, apart from World War I. So much for impressions!
 
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567
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Oh, thanks Ivan. I didn't know. :frown:
 

Ivan Seeking

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Imparcticle said:
Oh, thanks Ivan. I didn't know. :frown:
Oh wow. :surprise: Yes this is a very serious violation. No problem but please limit any quotes to a paragraph or two. Never include the majority of the article.
 
567
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Really sorry!!
 

jimmy p

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since when was self adjoint a super-mentor??? was that your birthday present??

Anyway, back to the article...

First, you have to believe in miracles... which usually means having a religious belief or outlook on life. And what is their definition of a miracle? It could just be 295 extraordinary events every day. This seems a little silly to me..
 

Ivan Seeking

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Imparcticle said:
Really sorry!!
Really, its okay. It was an honest mistake. :smile:

Ignore any warnings that you may have recieved. I cancelled that. :wink:
 
567
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thank you, thank you, thank you!! I will never post anything that's not mine again.

First, you have to believe in miracles... which usually means having a religious belief or outlook on life. And what is their definition of a miracle? It could just be 295 extraordinary events every day. This seems a little silly to me..
Actually, the article said 295 times everyday in America, not neccesarily per person. The 295 number is derived from an assumption where there are 295 million Americans. Each American thinks of someone they know in each 5 minute interval, thus leading to the fact(based on calculations and laws assumed) that 295 miracles happen everyday. This agrees with another fact presented: miracles occur once a month, on average, for each American. The article also says (in my own words) that this happens to 77 people a day.

In addition, whether or not you believe in miracles is not a factor. If it were, only some people would be subject to such improbable events, which become probable as I explained.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Imparcticle said:
thank you, thank you, thank you!! I will never post anything that's not mine again.
Really I'm sorry about that. As soon as you apologized I realized that you weren't who I thought you were. I shouldn't have issued a formal warning so quickly. :smile:
 
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Debunked! ESP, Telekinesis and other Pseudoscience

The is actually an interesting book that backs up the sceptic view about many phenomena such as dowsing, coincidences ...

For instance it explains how many ordinary occurrences are generally regarded extraordinary (or coincidences) due to our unfamiliarity with probability and statistics.

The book is: Debunked!: ESP, Telekinesis and other Pseudoscience
George Charpak and Henri Broch
2004 Johns Hopkins University Press
 
567
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Thanks. I'll definitely check that out.
 

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