The past, the future and Probabilities…

Posted on November 12, 2010


Professor Wiggly: “Faith based reasoning is the name of the game whenever we base our conclusions on incomplete or unreliable evidence – which is most of the time. Which is the case whenever we make predictions or bets about the future. We make those predictions on the basis of past experience, on the assumption – on the probability – that the future will be like the past. As did those who worked in the World Trade Center – they had gone to work day after day, year after year… based on past experience it was a safe place to work. I call it the Thanksgiving turkey fallacy. Tom Turkey wins the equivalent of the Nonel Prize for turkeys by accurately predicting 364 times in a row that the sun will rise. and the farmer will come and scatter grain for them – it’s a law  – so thet urkey’s can predict with complete confidence that it will happen on the 365 day – which unfortunately happens to be Thanksgiving – a bit information which was missing from Tom Turkey’s calculations. We make our predictions of the future based on past experience, based on incomplete information, based on calculations. No matter how fancy the mathemacitcs are, no matter how powerful the computer, they results are faith based – based on the flimsy assumption that they include all the critical information, based on the faith that they are not Tom Turkey calculations.”

Penny: ” But we need those faith based assumptions – even if they are based on incomplete information – otherwise we’ d never get out of bed. And those assumptions have to be trusted – even if unreliable. If they’re not trusted we end up depressed or having anxiety attacks. So that suggests that people who get the most work done in science or religion are the most confident, most resiliant who have blind faith in their theories or their religious convictions. Otherwise, if you keep questioning your scientific or religious faith you end up going around in circles… right?”

Peter: ” And, those who lack scientific or religious faith often buy confidence in the form of booze, or drugs, or high priced, trusted consultants who tell the what to do, or shrinks who prop them up and reassure them.”



Posted in: Sciencing, Yer Thing