• 19

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    You pick a spot at a poker table. One of the players has a white and slate beard like the Dos Equis man. Another looks a lot like Phil Silvers with black-rimmed glasses, a hat with a loud zebra ribbon, and jittery mannerisms. The dealer distributes everyone’s hands.

    “Should have better luck soon,” the Phil Silvers replicate grumbles, “I must be due by now.”

    You look down at your hand and see an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 all of the same suit.

    “That’s a fallacy,” refutes the Dos Equis man, “There is no averaging of attempts that moves toward a certain probability.”

    One round of betting passes and a couple of the other players fold.

    “Well there must be some kind of averaging going on to create solid objects out of unstable atoms,” Mr. Silvers says looking at his cards.

    “I wouldn’t so readily assume that,” the Dos Equis man responds, “The queen of Spain once dreamed there was a pig in her throne room. And when she went down stairs to check, there was indeed a pig in her throne room.  No pig had ever been seen in the throne room before, so how can we state the probability of this event, to say nothing of the probability of the dream itself? Or take, for instance, a plane crash – the probability of which is 1 in 10,000. But we know that the plane either will crash or it will not crash. If it crashes, is it not true that prior to the flight the probability was 1 in 1 that it would crash? And if it does not, is it not true that the probability was 0? Given that the event will definitely happen or not happen, how can any probabilities other than 1 in 1 or 0 be correct?”

    He raises the ante.

    “So even probability, which all known reality is based upon, is completely unfounded.”

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    If you match the bet and conservatively raise, go to page 139.

    If you think all of this decision making is rather pointless now, fold on page 18.

     

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