A philosophical essay on probabilities

Comparison with deductive reasoning[ edit ] Argument terminology Unlike deductive arguments, inductive reasoning allows for the possibility that the conclusion is false, even if all of the premises are true.

A philosophical essay on probabilities

Posted on November 21, by Scott Alexander I. Jonah got swallowed by a whale. But the Bible says Jonah got swallowed by a big fish. So the Bible seems to think whales are just big fish.

Therefore the Bible is fallible. Therefore, the Bible was not written by God. For all we know, Jonah was swallowed by a really really really big herring. The second problem is that if the ancient Hebrews want to call whales a kind of fish, let them call whales a kind of fish.

Suppose you travel back in time to ancient Israel and try to explain to King Solomon that whales are a kind of mammal and not a kind of fish. So you try again and say that a whale is a behemah, not a dag.

You try to explain that no, Solomon is wrong, dag are actually defined not by their swimming-in-sea-with-fins-ness, but by their genes.

Who died and made you an expert on Biblical Hebrew? You try to explain that whales actually have tiny little hairs, too small to even see, just as cows and sheep and pigs have hair.

Solomon says oh God, you are so annoying, who the hell cares whether whales have tiny little hairs or not. The Ministry of Dag is based on the coast and has a lot of people who work on ships.

The Ministry of Behemah has a strong presence inland and lots of of people who hunt on horseback. So please he continues keep going about how whales have little tiny hairs.

Laplace: "Essay on probabilities"

It says so right here in this biology textbook. You can point out how many important professors of icthyology in fancy suits use your definition, and how only a couple of people with really weird facial hair use his.

There are facts of the matter on each individual point — whether a whale has fins, whether a whale lives in the ocean, whether a whale has tiny hairs, et cetera. But there is no fact of the matter on whether a whale is a fish. The argument is entirely semantic.

So this is the second reason why this particular objection to the Bible is silly. If God wants to call a whale a big fish, stop telling God what to do. When terms are not defined directly by God, we need our own methods of dividing them into categories.

Planets tend to share many characteristics in common. For example, they are large, round, have normal shaped orbits lined up with the plane of the ecliptic, have cleared out a certain area of space, and are at least kind of close to the Sun as opposed to way out in the Oort Cloud.

One could imagine a brain that thought about these characteristics like Network 1 here: One could imagine this model telling you everything you need to know.

But Network 1 has some big problems. For one thing, if you inscribe it in blood, you might accidentally summon the Devil. Each attribute affects each other attribute which affects it in turn and so on in an infinite cycle, so that its behavior tends to be chaotic and unpredictable.

A philosophical essay on probabilities

What people actually seem to do is more like Network 2: You can then sweep minor irregularities under the rug. Pluto is the classic example. What do you do? The situation with whales and fish is properly understood in the same context.

Fish and mammals differ on a lot of axes. Fish generally live in the water, breathe through gills, have tails and fins, possess a certain hydrodynamic shape, lay eggs, and are in a certain part of the phylogenetic tree. Mammals generally live on land, breathe through lungs, have legs, give live birth, and are in another part of the phylogenetic tree.

Imagine that Israel and Palestine agree to a two-state solution with the final boundary to be drawn by the United Nations.This philosophical essay is the development of a lecture on probabilities which I dehvered in to the normal schools whither I had been called, by a decree of the national convention, as professor of mathematics with Lagrange/5(17).

Misc thoughts, memories, proto-essays, musings, etc. And on that dread day, the Ineffable One will summon the artificers and makers of graven images, and He will command them to give life to their creations, and failing, they and their creations will be dedicated to the flames.

1. Introduction. In most of what follows, I will speak simply of determinism, rather than of causal timberdesignmag.com follows recent philosophical practice of sharply distinguishing views and theories of what causation is from any conclusions about the success or failure of determinism (cf.

Earman, ; an exception is Mellor ). Opacity: What We Do Not See. A Philosophical Notebook, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The mathematical version is here.. Non philosophorum sed philosophiae historiae. Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking. In some circles, however, opposition to the concept of evolution has persisted to the present.

The argument from design has recently been revived by a number of academics with scientific credentials, who maintain that their version of the idea (unlike Paley’s) is .

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