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Standard memberwolfgang59
Science 22 Apr '16 12:49
  1. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    22 Apr '16 12:49
    If someone correctly predicted the continuous fall of a coin X times.
    What value of X would you consider;
    a) unusual
    b) remarkable
    c) paranormal
    ???????????
  2. Cape Town
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    22 Apr '16 12:52
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    If someone correctly predicted the continuous fall of a coin X times.
    What value of X would you consider;
    a) unusual
    b) remarkable
    c) paranormal
    ???????????
    Hard to say. I would go with about:
    a) 5
    b) 10
    c) 50
    Except that I would call c) cheating.
  3. Cape Town
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    22 Apr '16 12:59
    If I ask you to think of a card, and I guess your card, that would seem paranormal at first glance to most people. However, I have a fairly good chance of getting it right after a mere 30 tries or so. The trick is not to do it with the same person over and over.
  4. Joined
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    22 Apr '16 18:365 edits
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    If someone correctly predicted the continuous fall of a coin X times.
    What value of X would you consider;
    a) unusual
    b) remarkable
    c) paranormal
    ???????????
    a) depends on how you define unusual
    b) depends on how you define remarkable
    c) either +infinity or -infinity because mathematically extremely improbable events sometimes must happen somewhere at some time and the only way I can see how that could show 'paranormal' is if the number of times it happens is beyond 'improbable' because it is impossible so to give it zero probability and +infinity or -infinity number of times IS impossible (and complete nonsense, of course) or, in other words, has exactly zero probability of happening.
  5. Standard memberSoothfast
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    29 May '16 04:08
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    If someone correctly predicted the continuous fall of a coin X times.
    What value of X would you consider;
    a) unusual
    b) remarkable
    c) paranormal
    ???????????
    a) 6 - One chance in 64 for this, unusual but nothing to remark about.

    b) 10 - One chance on 1024, which is remarkable.

    c) 40 - Slightly less than one chance in a trillion for this. Assuming, hypothetically, that all possible "cheats" have been ruled out (and also that the experiment was carried out just one time with one individual), I would consider the possibility of an extrasensory perception being present. However, the experiment would need to be replicable before considering theories.

    If a billion people are playing this game once every day, then it is likely that within a year someone will correctly "predict" 40 consecutive coin tosses. So in this kind of scenario I would require something like X=80 to consider something potentially "paranormal."
  6. Standard memberDeepThought
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    29 May '16 14:23
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    a) 6 - One chance in 64 for this, unusual but nothing to remark about.

    b) 10 - One chance on 1024, which is remarkable.

    c) 40 - Slightly less than one chance in a trillion for this. Assuming, hypothetically, that all possible "cheats" have been ruled out (and also that the experiment was carried out just one time with one individual), I would consid ...[text shortened]... of scenario I would require something like X=80 to consider something potentially "paranormal."
    Ok., where on that scale would you consider it proved beyond reasonable doubt that the coin is predictable? The question's assumes that either the coin is unpredictable or God exists, it strikes me that that is something of a false dichotomy - for example, has cheating been eliminated? So really the question is when is it proved that the coin is predictable (a run of 5 is already past 95% confidence) and what you've done to eliminate cheating.
  7. Standard memberSoothfast
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    29 May '16 18:222 edits
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Ok., where on that scale would you consider it proved beyond reasonable doubt that the coin is predictable? The question's assumes that either the coin is unpredictable or God exists, it strikes me that that is something of a false dichotomy - for example, has cheating been eliminated? So really the question is when is it proved that the coin is predictable (a run of 5 is already past 95% confidence) and what you've done to eliminate cheating.
    I do not see where a god necessarily figures into this inquiry, though a god could be neatly tucked into the "paranormal" category. But "paranormal" phenomena are tricky things: if one such phenomenon were to be proved to be real by means of the scientific method, then by definition the phenomenon is no longer paranormal.

    I'll just say that if, in the course of a single experiment done once, someone were to correctly predict X=40 coin tosses in a row, and all possible cheats were eliminated (this is again quite hypothetical), then I would be prepared to entertain explanations that might currently be considered paranormal. If pressed, I would say perhaps information is being received by the test subject by some weird quantum mechanical means that amounts to something like precognition. I don't know. It's a "what if" scenario, and again, I would say the experiment would need to be replicable, otherwise it could indeed have just been a really, really, really lucky run of guesses.

    How about X=500?

    EDIT: Of course, an X=10 result received four times in a row is equivalent to an X=40 result, and could be considered successful replication of an experimental result. I hear that six-sigma certainty is good enough for particle physicists to consider a new particle as being "discovered." What X value does that correspond to in the current context? My statistics books are somewhat dusty and I just can't be bothered. 😉
  8. Standard memberDeepThought
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    30 May '16 02:34
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    I do not see where a god necessarily figures into this inquiry, though a god could be neatly tucked into the "paranormal" category. But "paranormal" phenomena are tricky things: if one such phenomenon were to be proved to be real by means of the scientific method, then by definition the phenomenon is no longer paranormal.

    I'll just say that if, in the ...[text shortened]... in the current context? My statistics books are somewhat dusty and I just can't be bothered. 😉
    From memory it's one chance in half a billion, which is 1/2^29, so particle discovery claims happen at the same level of confidence as one would place on the prediction for the thirtieth toss made by someone who had correctly predicted the previous twenty nine tosses of a fair coin.
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