Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monte Hall Problem - bad interpretation.

Scott Adams talked about the Monte Hall Problem in his blog yesterday... and I don't know if I actually agree with his interpretation of what the problem implies.

That is interesting enough on its own. (I’ll give a link later that explains the math of it.) But here is the freaky part. You only improve your odds by switching doors if Monte Hall knows what is behind each door. If he simply got lucky and opened a door with a goat behind it, your odds are unchanged. In other words, your odds are changed by Monte’s knowledge, and your knowledge that Monte has that knowledge.

I don't know which definition of subjective he is using... Let's say he uses: "influenced by personal opinion." then fine... I would easily interpret it as some shade of causality, its obviously a choice Montel made, and his internal state is unknown... Still that definition does not particularly apply well with reality, as it is a definition which strictly applies to sentient beings and does not in any way cross with causality, and statistics as an objective study of outcomes due to limited knowledge.

Blah, this guys use of logic is just a disastrous ostentatious minefield... Lets go on with this definition: "Philosophy. relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.". Good, lets also asume that when he means reality is subjective he means that there exists no object beyond the mind.

Yet, the same article he points to states:

When the problem and the solution appeared in Parade, approximately 10,000 readers, including several hundred mathematics professors, wrote to the magazine claiming the published solution was wrong. Some of the controversy was because the Parade statement of the problem fails to fully specify the host's behavior and is thus technically ambiguous. However, even when given completely unambiguous problem statements, explanations, simulations, and formal mathematical proofs, many people still meet the correct answer with disbelief.

What does the fact that simulations agree? Is this facet of reality subjective if it can be reproduced outside of minds?

To me, as always, he lives in a contrived, self contradicting, albeit theatrical and entertaining to the less-dull witted.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some interesting logic - religion thingamabobs...

I stumbled upon these two links

Oh, and other games here: philosophy games

Got 1 direct hit and 1 bullet bitten; both around the definition of "justifiable".

Oddly enough I don't actually see a contradiction between:

If, despite years of trying, no strong evidence or argument has been presented to show that there is a Loch Ness monster, it is rational to believe that such a monster does not exist.
As long as there are no compelling arguments or evidence that show that God does not exist, atheism is a matter of faith, not rationality.

I don't see any contradiction. To me its: if (no evidence) then irrational.

  • No proof of existence: hard to trust whether it actually does.
  • No proof of in-existence: hard to trust whether it actually doesn't.

The bullet I bit is a somewhat wierder though...

You've just bitten a bullet! You are consistent in applying the principle that it is justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity this conviction. The problem is that it seems you have to accept that people might be justified in their belief that God could demand something terrible.

I mean... duh.. This is precisely one of the points you start out with, when doubting a religion...

  • "Why should I accept a terrible request from someone who is supposedly all knowing..."
  • "You must not doubt your god, it is beyond your comprehension"
  • "WTF? 1st commandment: Do not kill. Oh, but you must do the will of my hand and execute J.D. what kind of all knowing, all powerful being places its 'children under these situations?"
  • "Its a test of faith?"
  • "So, am I supposed to say: no, you already said not to kill, and you could probably actually just do it yourself if you actually wanted to, so I know you don't really want me to do it, you little trickster you..."
  • "Hmm, I don't know, who are we to challenge the will of god?!"
  • "WTF?"

and so forth... in any case, if you are already behaving irrationally, there isn't much in the way of making any sense out of what you are doing... So its morally bad but religiously accepted. Had they asked whether society should have punished the rapist that's another story...


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