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Talk:Improbable things happen

This Logic related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

I know nothing of statistics so please refrain from laughing at me when I ask you to explain that birthday one.--Damo2353 18:01, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

If the odds of Same Birthday happening are 70%, then it's not really an improbable thing. Maybe you can find better examples. For example, the odds of winning a lottery are like 1 million to one? yet, each week, someone wins the lottery. Or "given the number of sperm that are produced by a guy, ejaculated by a guy, over the course of the months it takes to get a woman pregnant, the odds of any one sperm fertilizing an egg are extremely improbably. yet millions of babies are born each year. --Waiting for Godot 18:04, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
I understand the point being made, I am just expressing wonder and awe that the chance would be as high as 70%. How is this calculation made?--Damo2353 18:06, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
LOL you and I cross posted. I wasn't worried about the math, but the author says in his post "this isn't really improbable", so why is it an example of being "improbable" (ps., i do't know statistics at all, but it's something like 30 to the power of 30 or something, since each person meets 29 other people. so your probiblity is like 1 in 30(365) that YOU will meet someone with the same date , then you have to add or multiply (I suck at statistics) the other 29 people's chances.--Waiting for Godot 18:10, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
Well the point of the article is that what people think is highly improbable, actually isn't. So the improbability of the evolution of the human eye over millions of years is not as far-fetched as creationists would have us believe especially when there are millions of creatures who are evolving. Amazing 1 in a billion coincidences happen every day somewhere in the world. With regards to the birthday thing the maths extension doesn't appear to be installed so I held back on the formula (it's my bed time here). Although the calculation should be done in reverse (what is the probablity of any two not having the same birthday) you can think of it a bit like this. The chances of any one person having the same birthday as another is 1/365. So for 29 people it is 29/365. Eliminate the first person and take A.N.Other, the chances of him having the same birthday as any of the rest is 28/364, 27/363 for the next etc. etc. Add all these together and you get a high probability of any two having the same birthday. This isn't the correct way to calculate the actual probability but it shows what is happening. See wp:Birthday paradox for the correct calculation. GenghisYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. 18:16, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
Cheers--Damo2353 18:18, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
See also wp:Monty Hall dilemma for a case of complete disconnection between what your common sense tells you and what statistics show to be actually true. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 18:22, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
I don't think we should link to that WP monty hall article. It is sacriligeous to suggest a car is more valuable than a goat. I think it's a clear example of Bias at Wikipedia because it doesn't present the opinion of Goat worship. --Damo2353 18:38, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
Hilariously enough, you most likely won't find a goat-free version. Indeed, this thing is called "Ziegenproblem" ("Goat Problem") in German. --Sid 18:47, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
Yes. However, Wikipedia's - and Germany's - rampant anti-goat bias is perhaps not well-known among the general public. I think that we should retain the link in order to educate the public about this serious problem. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 18:51, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
Did Monty Hall really offer goats as game show prizes? Weaseloid 14:14, 2 August 2008 (EDT)

Fun

How about a fun article called "Shit happens". After all, that's what it's saying. -- Gen. S.T. Shrink Mr. President...I lost the WMD's 20:12, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Shit doesn't just happen - it is the Will of the Almighty. Weaseloid 14:17, 2 August 2008 (EDT)

On this very wiki

I know of two leaplings, and two editors with the same first name. 01:57, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Shuffling a deck of cards

I don't actually get what this section is about. Is it supposed to be getting at the number plate thing? "I saw a car with registration NK08 THJ outside, what are the odds against that!" ADK...I'll exemplify your yellow submarine! 12:07, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

ima removing it--"Shut up, Brx." 12:21, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I've tried to re-write it, see if it's better.--ZooGuard (talk) 13:47, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

A variant of this

SF and any number of 'analysers of the future' didn't predict the Internet/Wikipedia and all its relatives, Eastern Europe demonstrating the domino theory in reverse, the Soviet Union virtually going down the plughole with a glugging sound rather than a bang, the Arab Spring... (add other examples to taste).

People can logically accept that 'some things of very low probability' will happen to them, but find such things illogical when they do happen, especially when several such occurrences happen. (I know of several cases where people meet in one country and then again some time later in another, without there being any planning to do so.) 212.85.6.26 (talk) 19:21, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The article

It's too attacking. Just explain the rationale and move along, no need for anything else.— Unsigned, by: 63.231.226.95 / talk / contribs 09:19, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

"Too attacking" what/whom? And what specific parts do you consider to be too much?--ZooGuard (talk) 11:58, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Merge with coincidence

Given that this article covers pretty much the same subjects as coincidence, maybe they should be merged?--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 19:50, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't think so. Coincidences are an example of a (potentially) improbable thing happening, but the two things aren't synonymous. Winning the lottery is one of the examples given in this article for an improbable thing happening. If somebody told you they'd won the lottery, would you tell them "that's a coincidence"? What would it even mean? WėąṣėḷőįďMethinks it is a Weasel 20:10, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
The comparison with coincidence breaks down even further for situations in which the occurrence of an improbable event is guaranteed (e.g. raffles). - Grant (talk) 20:39, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Ah, OK. I see your points.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 21:05, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

Another thing is

People don't always recognise an 'improbable thing' when it happens - only the ones that are of particular significance to them/are recognisably 'odd.' (Editor to cub reporter - why didn't you write about the X wedding; well it didn't happen as the bride did not turn up.) And sometimes the improbability only becomes apparent many years later - and not just 'three presidents dying on 4th July.' Anna Livia (talk) 16:16, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Redskins section

Maybe worth adding that the 'rules' of the improbable events like this can be calibrated to fit after the event, so for example instead of the rule being this:

"If the Redskins win their last home game before the election, the party that won the previous election (the incumbent party) wins the next election. If the Redskins lose this last home game, the incumbent also loses and the challenging party's candidate wins."

If that didn't fit observations, the rule might have been this:

"If the Redskins score an even number of points on their last game before the election, the party that won the previous election (the incumbent party) wins the next election. If the Redskins score an odd number of points, the incumbent also loses and the challenging party's candidate wins."

Or this:

"If the Redskins win their last home game before the election, the party with the hairiest candidate wins the next election. If the Redskins lose this last home game, the hairiest candidate also loses and the challenging party's candidate wins."

i.e. there are many different possible patterns which could be pointed to, thus greatly increasing the chances that one (or more) will fit Roleybob (talk) 10:10, 22 July 2019 (UTC)