The most improbable event

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by alexb123, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    This is like asking what's the largest number, you could always add one.
     
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  3. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    Why not?
    It's not impossible, but it can be improbable.
     
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  5. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    The most improbably event is one of us coming up with something that improbable.
     
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  7. EndLightEnd This too shall pass. Registered Senior Member

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    The most improbable event would be that change ceases to happen.
     
  8. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    Surely the most improbable possibility is all the possible improbable events that could ever happen, happening at the exact same time.
     
  9. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    You said that it must occur. Then it is not improbable, rather it is inevitable.
     
  10. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

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    Hmmm. I think semantics plays a role here.

    Consider this: Given unlimited shuffles, a particular permutation of a deck of cards must eventually occur. But it is extremely improbable for any given shuffle. So, is the event that a particular permutation occurs a certainty, or very improbable?


    In the context of this thread, I think we're talking about discrete events that might happen at any time, and that an improbable event means an event that is unlikely to occur in some human-scale timeframe (eg in a given year).

    So although all events will occur given unlimited time, probable events will occur much more frequenty than improbable events.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  11. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member

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    biological evolution of humans.
    you can add to it evolution of other universal systems from a big bang by simply saying "god not existing", but this isn't the religion suforum

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    so i'd go with the evolutionary explanation of homo sapiens, is the most improbable.
     
  12. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Pfft. That happened last week.

    Or me admitting I'm wrong. Maybe if Sam and I both admitted we were wrong even some of the time. But then if Tiassa and Hype did the same, well, we'd risk whales and flowers dropping out of the sky and everyone being turned into puppets.

     
  13. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Throw a coin so that it randomly lands somewhere on a meter stick. What are the odds that the exact center of the coin landed where it did? The odds would appear to be 1 over the number of real numbers between 0 and 100. Since there are infinitely many real numbers between 0 and 100, it would seem that the odds of the coin landing in that precise spot were zero. And yet there it is...
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  14. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Hmm perhaps. I didn't get the impression that the OP meant it in that way though.
     
  15. §outh§tar is feeling caustic Registered Senior Member

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    When threads like this stop occurring..
     
  16. §outh§tar is feeling caustic Registered Senior Member

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    Well, you can't measure where the 'exact' center of the coin is anymore than you can determine that my height is transcendental

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  17. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Sure I could. I just couldn't know anything about the velocity of the coin (but the velocity wouldn't matter to me).
     
  18. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    Surely you didn't mean that. That contradicts the original post. Why not just say the probability is small, but non-zero?

    The probability that the coin did land exactly where it did land is exactly one. That probability that it will once again land exactly where it did is exactly zero. Neither of these is constitutes "something so unlikely to happen that the odds are a multitude of multitude of billions to 1?"

    That isn't that unlikely, even though it seems like it right now. Humanity will eventually die, and even if it doesn't, silly things like internet forums will.
     
  19. temur man of no words Registered Senior Member

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    The most improbable event is alexb123 stop adding more rules to this thread.
     
  20. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    But prior to my throw, what were the odds of the coin landing at that particular point rather than any of the other possible points along my meter stick? Were the odds exactly zero for every possible landing point? It seems to me that they were. And yet the odds of the coin landing somewhere is one (since it's stated as a premise of the problem). It seems to me that when I throw the coin it is sure to land somewhere, and there are infinitely many places it could land, but for each of the potential landing points the odds of it landing there is zero.
     
  21. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    Best answer.

    The most improbable event that could possibly occur, given an infinite amount of time, would be the simultaneous redistribution of all the energy in the universe to the least likely but still probabilistically possible location.

    Such a thing is so monumentally improbable that you could literally live for an infinite amount of time in an infinite number of universes and still feel completely certain that you would never experience it.

    Even more improbable than this would be Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in Australia, growing a brain. But I hope I'm somehow almost infinitely wrong.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  22. §outh§tar is feeling caustic Registered Senior Member

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    Can you determine that the coin center is, say, pi away from a reference point? No. When it comes to measurement we don't deal in notions like 'exact position'.
     
  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Yes that happened and surely is improbable to end up with the current form of man, but more improbable is that man would have named this highly evolved species: "Homo Idiotica."

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    Considering that humans are an out-of-control cancer on the bio-sphere destroying most life forms and probably eventually themselves, that name would have been more accurate.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2009

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