By some idiot move on my part, I sent this too early before the video went live. It’s fixed, but those who got emails won’t know this. Apologies. My dad and I built a coin flipping machine. Then made this video: I am still new to this “video” thing, so I stupidly forgot to film the process of making the machine. I did, however, remember to take some pictures:

The "probability" of being struck by lightning is so small that no individual should ever be struck by lightning. Yet, individuals are struck every year. The same can be said of winning the lottery, yet individuals do win.

"probability" has nothing to do with individual specific cases! For specific people and cases, "probability" vanishes.

Unless one has control over ALL forces which can come into play, then there is a greater than zero chance that the outcome will not be as forecast. My guess is that even in a vacuum chamber in a 'zero' gravity space environment, 'shit happens' and your experiment screws up.

There is always a greater than zero probability that the flipper will not work. You may be able to explain "what went wrong" but I guarantee that something will.

Sorry, I should have said "A probability of 1 [except for death and taxes ( I am not sure about death) ] does not exist." In that a probability of 1 is no probability in the general term, and is replaced by the word 'certainty'.

Very nice. When I was a kid (maybe around 10 or 11) I learned how to flip a quarter such that it always landed with the launch face showing. I didn’t set out to do that, I just wanted to make a nice, neat coin flip (there wasn’t much to do where I grew up) and started to notice that it always landed the same way relative to its initial position. I could never figure out if the coin rotated the same number of times each flip, or somehow always just an even number of times. I suspect the former as being more likely.

It feels like a leap from "the more control over the variables you have, the more certain of the outcome you can be" to say "there is no probability" but I see what you mean by it. I like what you're doing here. I think others might just get caught up on the semantics of the language. You do however say "there is no probability *for this machine*" which is what is crucially important.

The only thing I would note is that we tend to think we're closer to certainty than we really are. It seemed that way even in your video when you would say "heads" *before* the coin landed, only to be fooled by the last one. You admit that the machine needs adjustments which is perfectly reasonable and important, but before that failure you *seemed* pretty confident in your machine.

Either way. I like the message. I just tend to prefer more pragmatic language like "this machine has a very high probability of landing on heads" no matter how well you *believe* you are controlling the variables. There's always the chance of the unknown unknown variable that can ruin it for you.

To me, the important and useful parts of Briggs' anti-probability rants are the push against 'randomness' and against over-generalization.

Where we get turned around with probability and statistics is when we assume that the unknown causes are always the same as long as they are unknown. We assume that Randomness A is somehow equivalent to Randomness B but really they are just two unknown variables whose only similarity is that they are both unknown.

Then we overgeneralize by assuming that having observed rates of an event in one unknown condition that that rate will be truish in another unknown condition.

So, I think that Briggs' points are good and important but I would state them a little differently to make the real punch stand out a bit more.

I was agreeing with you. That's why I didn't offer counter arguments. Read a little closer.

I also wanted to say about your bit on QM that you linked that I think your use of potentia to explain how events are affected instantaneously at great distances without FTL transfer of information is very clever and helpful.

"probability" is a concept of deception.

The "probability" of being struck by lightning is so small that no individual should ever be struck by lightning. Yet, individuals are struck every year. The same can be said of winning the lottery, yet individuals do win.

"probability" has nothing to do with individual specific cases! For specific people and cases, "probability" vanishes.

Wait, you have a dad? And did not spring forth full-grown and in full armor, from the head of Zeus? Not following this argument.

Probability exists, randomity may not.

Unless one has control over ALL forces which can come into play, then there is a greater than zero chance that the outcome will not be as forecast. My guess is that even in a vacuum chamber in a 'zero' gravity space environment, 'shit happens' and your experiment screws up.

There is always a greater than zero probability that the flipper will not work. You may be able to explain "what went wrong" but I guarantee that something will.

Point is all probability is conditional on the knowledge or premises assumed.

Probability exists in the same way any thought exists.

Mostly yes, it exists as a thought. As a quantifiable measure of all your information.

This video is great, and shows a coin flipper with some high probability of flipping a coin to be heads. But is it 80%, 90%, 95,99,99.9%?

Would you really bet on a head at 9:1 odds, or 99:1 odds for $1000 (99,000 if not H).

All decisions are made with uncertainty, described as probabilities, analogously as frequency measures but different.

Sorry, I should have said "A probability of 1 [except for death and taxes ( I am not sure about death) ] does not exist." In that a probability of 1 is no probability in the general term, and is replaced by the word 'certainty'.

You are arguing again for pre-destination.

Very nice. When I was a kid (maybe around 10 or 11) I learned how to flip a quarter such that it always landed with the launch face showing. I didn’t set out to do that, I just wanted to make a nice, neat coin flip (there wasn’t much to do where I grew up) and started to notice that it always landed the same way relative to its initial position. I could never figure out if the coin rotated the same number of times each flip, or somehow always just an even number of times. I suspect the former as being more likely.

Hard to do. I got to be okay at it a long while ago. But lost the ability.

It feels like a leap from "the more control over the variables you have, the more certain of the outcome you can be" to say "there is no probability" but I see what you mean by it. I like what you're doing here. I think others might just get caught up on the semantics of the language. You do however say "there is no probability *for this machine*" which is what is crucially important.

The only thing I would note is that we tend to think we're closer to certainty than we really are. It seemed that way even in your video when you would say "heads" *before* the coin landed, only to be fooled by the last one. You admit that the machine needs adjustments which is perfectly reasonable and important, but before that failure you *seemed* pretty confident in your machine.

Either way. I like the message. I just tend to prefer more pragmatic language like "this machine has a very high probability of landing on heads" no matter how well you *believe* you are controlling the variables. There's always the chance of the unknown unknown variable that can ruin it for you.

deletedSep 18, 2023Comment deletedWell, I've done by best, and not everybody can get all things.

See this about quantum mechanics.

https://www.wmbriggs.com/post/24227/

To me, the important and useful parts of Briggs' anti-probability rants are the push against 'randomness' and against over-generalization.

Where we get turned around with probability and statistics is when we assume that the unknown causes are always the same as long as they are unknown. We assume that Randomness A is somehow equivalent to Randomness B but really they are just two unknown variables whose only similarity is that they are both unknown.

Then we overgeneralize by assuming that having observed rates of an event in one unknown condition that that rate will be truish in another unknown condition.

So, I think that Briggs' points are good and important but I would state them a little differently to make the real punch stand out a bit more.

edited Sep 18, 2023Many more in this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Uncertainty-Soul-Modeling-Probability-Statistics/dp/3319819585/?_encoding=UTF8&content-id=amzn1.sym.579192ca-1482-4409-abe7-9e14f17ac827&ref_=aufs_ap_sc_dsk

I was agreeing with you. That's why I didn't offer counter arguments. Read a little closer.

I also wanted to say about your bit on QM that you linked that I think your use of potentia to explain how events are affected instantaneously at great distances without FTL transfer of information is very clever and helpful.

edited Sep 18, 2023Many thanks. Yes, busy morning. Fixed it.