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World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Alan Dawson. Facebook Icon The letter F. Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url. Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email. Twitter icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting.

LinkedIn icon The word "in". Fliboard icon A stylized letter F. Liam Fox. Brexit has only a "" chance of happening if MPs vote against Theresa May's deal, according to senior politician Liam Fox. The best way to guarantee Britain exits the European Union on March 29, is for MPs to support the withdrawal agreement.

To demonstrate the system, he also performed the coin tossing trick, taking around 9 hours to film all of his attempts until he did come up with a successful combination. A similar thing happened in the South Africa World Cup, when Paul the Octopus was thought to have predicted the outcome of eight matches. A great part of the real explanation is very simple: there was a 1 in probability that Paul could predict the outcome of eight games, and Paul just casually happened to be that one in that was reported in the media.

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Magical thinking , of course, processed this fact as Paul being a psychic octopus. Large sporting events like the World Cup generate masses of interest and undoubtedly many people will try to predict the outcome — in fact, it would be unlikely that an event this size should attract less than the people or processes required to statistically guess the 8 matches correctly.

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Similar to the Derren Brown example discussed above, this shall be self-selecting. Only a fraction shall guess the first game correctly, a fraction of those shall guess the second and so on. By the time it's whittled down to the last few games not unlike a football tournament, of course people might be gathering attention as being "on a lucky streak". Naturally, the ones who fall at the final hurdle lose their streak, while the winners emerge as skilled, or psychic. The main difference between sports betting and the other examples above, however, is that the odds are not mathematically perfect.

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Teams have different levels of performance and ranking, and favourites are very likely to emerge. As a result, it's never really a chance for any team entering a match — seriously, ask any bookies to give you evens on Brazil v England and they will laugh in your face. As a result, for most people keen on the sport it's actually a little under the 1-in odds required to guess 8 games in a row.

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This only goes to convert an apparently improbable performance of prediction into a dead certainty. Since then there have been 18 US Presidential elections and in 17 of those, the following rule has remained true:. If the Redskins win their last home game before the election, the party that won the previous election the incumbent party wins the next election. If the Redskins lose this last home game, the incumbent also loses and the challenging party's candidate wins.

Folklore had established this rule by the early s, but only became widely known around Since it was brought to light in , though, there have only been 3 elections, and two of them and didn't obey the rule at all — demonstrating past observations don't affect future probabilities.

This is a firm example of post hoc reasoning via selection. There are dozens of teams in the NFL add to that the NBA, NHL, and so on… and so the odds of at least one of these teams' results syncing up with the election is more modest than you'd think. Certainly, if the rule didn't hold true, it shouldn't be reported. Much like in the System, above, the rule is self-selecting, as fewer teams — since the s — would sync up with the election so well. For instance, if we start in the election between Herbert Hoover and Franklin D.

Roosevelt , then about half of all teams playing in the season would have won their last home game, and obeyed the rule quite well. From there, it's a trivial case of letting random chance converge on a team that correlates quite well.

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According to the ergodic hypothesis, given an infinite universe, every event with non-zero probability, however small, shall eventually occur. Or put another way: given enough chances, even the most unlikely event is certain to happen. When talking about the improbable, it's easy to ignore the cases where the event does not happen. People are naturally self-centered and think about their own experience first: from any one individual's point of view, the odds of winning the lottery are minuscule and the odds of finding someone with the same birthday are exactly as you'd expect.

But when considered in a more comprehensive and inclusive way, the true odds are revealed. For example, the probability of one particular mutation during evolution may be tiny, but there are billions of mutations happening continuously and being sorted by natural selection. Because of all these chances, that one minute possibility isn't really unlikely at all. It's a certainty. We tend to pay attention to the improbable things that do happen and never to the improbable things that don't happen and don't defy the odds. This particular cognitive bias is an important aspect of the Black Swan theory of improbable events.

We may be staggered by an event with a 1-in-a-million odds, but completely ignore that at least , other 1-in-a-million events just happened to have not occurred. This is often boosted by a form of post hoc fallacy that explains the event that happened but discounts the events that don't, analogous to rolling a die but only ever telling someone or acknowledging the roll when it's a 6; indeed the die may be invisible and no one knows it's being rolled until it shows a 6. Fighting pseudoscience isn't free. Jump to: navigation , search. Part of the series on Logic and rhetoric Key articles Logical fallacy Syllogism Argument General logic Appeal to fiction Argument from incredulity Logique Open mind Overgeneralization Two wrongs make a right Bad logic Argumentum ad fastidium Argumentum ad hominem Exception that proves the rule Gambler's fallacy Infinite regress Loaded language v - t - e.

That some astonishing unspecified events will occur is certain. That is why remarkable coincidences are noted in hindsight, not predicted with foresight. I was coming here, on the way to the lecture, and I came in through the parking lot. And you won't believe what happened.

I saw a car with the license plate ARW Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance I would see that particular one tonight?


Here's the math. Take your group of people N and the group of people other than you K. Divide by two, because A paired with B is the same as B paired with A. Now, to figure out the chances of our group of people not having at least one birthday pair, we raise 0. Making sense? To find the probability that our group does have a pair, we use the simple formula 1 - the probability that we don't have a pair. If we don't, it's a Myers September 23, Hope College.

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    This page was last modified on 17 September , at Unless explicitly noted otherwise, all content licensed as indicated by RationalWiki:Copyrights. Part of the series on Logic and rhetoric. Key articles. Logical fallacy Syllogism Argument. General logic.