Re: coin flipping

Brian D Williams (
Thu, 28 Oct 1999 10:25:12 -0700 (PDT)

From: James Wetterau <>

>Assuming that the probability is in fact uncertainty, do we not
>still have a circularity in the definition? Let's take coin
>flipping. Let's pretend that we have good historical data showing
>close to 50% heads / 50% tails, with no apparent correlation to
>any other factor. So we hypothesize that the state sets that lead
>to heads or tails are both about equal in size. We've received
>the 50/50 results *up until now* due to the flip occurring in a
>world state that leads to heads half the time and tails half the

>Now consider future flipping. Just because the state sets are
>roughly equal in size, why do we believe that future flips will be
>roughly equally divided between those that produce heads and
>tails? Because the probability of the flipper being in any
>particular state from among the state space that leads to a
>particular result is about 50%. So we're back to appealing to
>probability. We've moved the probability, not explained it.

I'll make it more interesting.

I was watching a show about math, and there was a mathematician who studied probability, and who was also an amateur magician. Bottom line, he could stand there flipping a coin and produce any result he wanted, he demonstrated flipping 10 consecutive heads for the camera.

His point was about making sure you have a random process, I also got out of it not to bet on coin flips with this guy...

Arthur "the brain" Rothstein would have been proud....


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