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Old 06-26-2001, 08:10 AM   #11
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
Of course there is a difference, but once a possibility reaches the point of being extremely likely, I classify it as being "virtually certain".
</font>
No no no no NO! Have you ever taken a
statistics class Nomad? A high probability
of something doesn't mean that is "virtually
certain". In fact, a high probability of
something doesn't even guarantee that something.

here's some basics: if I have a 1 in 10,000
chance of getting killed in a car accident,
does that mean I won't get killed on my
first car ride? Nope. Could easily happen.

Likewise, if there is a 9999 chance in 10,000
of getting killed, I could still take take
10,000 car rides and NOT get killed. High
probability does NOT equiate to "virtually
certain", except in your mind.

I minored in stats. Trust me, probability
is practically worthless unless you're
an insurance actuary... ;-)
 
Old 06-26-2001, 09:12 PM   #12
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This is coming from someone who has taken a stats class and is currently doing a major in maths:
I have no problem whatsoever with equating extremely high probably with virtually certain.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Likewise, if there is a 9999 chance in 10,000 of getting killed, I could still take take 10,000 car rides and NOT get killed. High probability does NOT equiate to "virtually certain", except in your mind.</font>
A useful tool to bear in mind with low probabilities is Borel's Law of Probability: If a probability of an event occuring is less than 1 in 10^50 (or 10^200 for scientific calculations) then the event will not occur.
I calculate the probability (assuming independence) of the event you describe occuring is 1 in 10^40,000. ie in theory it is possible, but in practice it won't happen, ever.
 
 

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