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Posted by Aurino Souza on December 20, 2001 16:37:25 UTC

Hi Harv,

As I said, the problem is not with the probabilities themselves, it's a problem of hidden assumptions. You can calculate your probabilities any way you want, that is not the point. I can say that, according to my calculations, there's a 90% chance it will snow on Christmas day. You can do a different calculation and say the probability is much slower, around 10%. Who's to say one of us is wrong? Not even God, who knows for sure what's going to happen, can prove us wrong. Probabilities are extremely tricky.

Now think about it, why is it that we can't be wrong? When I asked Dick, right here on this forum just a few days ago, why was it that he could not possibly be wrong, his answer was enlightening: "because I'm not saying anything". Think about it. What is the only way in which you can state a weather forecast so that it might be proved wrong? My, only one way: if you don't state it as a probability!

The above paragraph summarizes my understanding of Dick's ideas. Because the foundations of science are probabilistic, you can't prove it wrong no matter how many experiments you run. All you can do is show that your estimation of the probabilities is correct based on what you know, nothing more. That's why I think you should try and understand his paper, not because of what you just posted this morning.

What about his mistake then? Well, it's very, very subtle, if it weren't he would have seen it already. But, as I said, I'll leave that as his homework, he's the only one who can convince himself that he made it. Let me just say that it lies on the opposite side of the coin he's looking at.

Warm regards,


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