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  1. #1
    NewHopeR is offline Senior Member
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    Default Failed to understand the logic: "could not be predicted by chance"

    Since "by chance" refers to "by accident" or "by luck", of course you cannot predict anything by chance (if you indeed hit it by chance, that is only a luck, nothing to do with your power of predicting).
    So "could not be predicted by chance" makes no sense in my ears.

    But no doubt I believe the author makes sense.

    How to properly understand "could not be predicted by chance"?


    Context:

    The Science of Things That Aren't So
    By Bruce Chassy & Henry I. Miller

    Chemistry Nobel Laureate Irving Langmuir related in a landmark 1953 speech his visit to the laboratory of J.B. Rhine at Duke University, where Rhine was claiming results of ESP experiments that could not be predicted by chance, and which he ascribed to psychic phenomena. Langmuir discovered that Rhine was only selectively counting the data in his experiments, omitting the results from those he believed were guessing in order to humiliate him.
    The evidence? Rhine felt that some of the scores were too low to have occurred by chance, and that it would, therefore, actually be misleading to include them.

  2. #2
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Failed to understand the logic: "could not be predicted by chance"

    Quote Originally Posted by NewHopeR View Post
    Since "by chance" refers to "by accident" or "by luck", of course you cannot predict anything by chance (if you indeed hit it by chance, that is only a luck, nothing to do with your power of predicting).
    So "could not be predicted by chance" makes no sense in my ears.

    But no doubt I believe the author makes sense.

    How to properly understand "could not be predicted by chance"?


    Context:

    The Science of Things That Aren't So
    By Bruce Chassy & Henry I. Miller

    Chemistry Nobel Laureate Irving Langmuir related in a landmark 1953 speech his visit to the laboratory of J.B. Rhine at Duke University, where Rhine was claiming results of ESP experiments that could not be predicted by chance, and which he ascribed to psychic phenomena. Langmuir discovered that Rhine was only selectively counting the data in his experiments, omitting the results from those he believed were guessing in order to humiliate him.
    The evidence? Rhine felt that some of the scores were too low to have occurred by chance, and that it would, therefore, actually be misleading to include them.
    In mathematics there is a subdivision called statistics. Statistics is partly concerned with the odds of an occurrence happening. For example, if you toss a coin in the air and let it fall to the ground, about half of the tosses will result in the coin landing with the face (or head) facing upward and the tail (the other side of the coin) facing downward. If you tossed this coin 1,000 times there is a near guarantee that 50% of the tosses will result in the coin facing upward and that 50% of the tosses will result in the tail of the coin facing upward. The odds, (or the chances) can be predicated in advance. The results from the ESP experiments were higher in some areas than could be predicated by the laws of mathematics - another way of saying the odds were against this happening. Yet another way of stating this is the results could not be predicted by chance (the odds were against these results). The gambling game called roulette is another good example (mostly because it was this game that caused people to devise the science of statistics). In this game, the player has one chance of winning (If they only bet on a number and not on the alternatives) and 37 chances of losing (there are a total of 38 different numbers a ball can fall into - 37 in the European version). Given this, a player has one chance in 38 of winning, or, the odds are one in 38. By the misuse of the data this person made it appear that ESP was a viable force.

  3. #3
    NewHopeR is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Failed to understand the logic: "could not be predicted by chance"

    Excellent!
    Thank you.

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