Originally posted by

**JeffHamm**View Post
I've suggested if all one wants to do is examine the improbability of things that happen, then I would argue his flat distribution model needs revising, etc.

So if that is all he is interested in, we agree, life is improbable.

The only thing I've been saying is that those probabilities are irrelevant with regards to the diary provenance, and no matter how rare the above is it cannot be misconstrued as support for anything diary related.

Some of Ike's statements suggest he sees the low prob.

All events, when we calculate them this way, end up with low probabilities, etc..

**in the absence of any other information**– have a 1-in-3 chance of having occurred on the third day. They had a 1-in-3 chance of having occurred on the second day, and a 1-in-3 chance of having occurred on the first day. Probability theory requires that the sum of all possibilities must equal 1 (100%, certainty), like the 6 sides of a dice which each have a 1-in-6 chance of coming-up on any given throw, and therefore sum to 6-in-6 which is 1. If two events are known to have occurred, etc., and they end up occurring on the third day, then

**by the third day**they had a 1-in-3 chance of occurring on the first, second, or third day. On the second day, if two events are known to have occurred then the chances of them occurring on the same day are 1-in-2 for the second day and 1-in-2 for the first day. On the first day, if two events are known to have occurred then the chances of them occurring on the same day are 1-in-1 for the first day which is certainty, and that would make sense, wouldn’t it, if two events are known to have occurred and only one day had passed? It must have been that first day.

Generally speaking, the two events won’t happen on the first day they could have occurred (although they could). If they occurred on the 18

^{th}day they could have occurred, then the probability that they occurred on the same day is 1-in-18, which are by then the same odds as it happening on the 17

^{th}, 16

^{th}, 15

^{th},14

^{th}, etc., day. RJ, probability theory does not permit you to say that we know the two events happened on March 9, 1992 therefore we’ll calculate it all from there and exclude anything which had passed before it. Probability theory would ask when the first day was they could have happened and then worked out how many days had passed until they did occur, which – as we all know – was 37,557 for March 9, 1992, therefore odds of 1-in-37,557, as indeed it was for March 8, 1992

*by March 9, 1992*, March 7, 1992

*by March 9, 1992*, March 6, 1992

*by March 9, 1992*, March 5, 1992

*by March 9, 1992*, etc.. Jeff said that statistics could be counter-intuitive and perhaps this is an example of what he meant?

RJ naively thinks that “The intervening years are entirely irrelevant. They play no part in the supposedly astonishing coincidence”. Well, on the contrary, once we know that two or more events have coincided, to understand the likelihood of those events occurring on the same day by chance alone are 1-in-days-passed-since-they-could-occur. Jeff is definitely not arguing that all probabilities are the same – we know this from his ‘fair’ coin tossing thought experiment – so he knows that The Miraculous Day occurring on March 9, 1992 has a low probability, and he also knows that The Miraculous Day occurring on March 9, 21992 would be a miracle of miracles. In truth, it would be a 1-in-7,337,557 chance.

**Just because it would be the same outcome, RJ, does not mean it therefore has the same probability of having happened on that day.**Indeed, in this latter scenario, the odds of The Miraculous Day happening on March 9, 1992 would have therefore risen from 1-in-37,557 to 1-in-7,337,557. Remember, dear readers, these are not probabilities that The Miraculous Day

*would*happen, but simply the probabilities that they would happen

**on the same day once we knew they had happened**. There is a whole world of difference between these two perspectives.

If, however, he recognises that no matter how improbable his calculation is, that it means squat all with respect to diary coming from the floorboards, then we've agreed all along.

*different*debate altogether and not the one I was seeking the insight of a statistics lecturer for. Once our Stage 1 analysis (not a statistical term, by the way) has thrown up a probability value so low that our alarm bells are ringing, we can then go back to the scene and get stuck into Stage 2 by starting to look for clues which might help us to understand if in fact chance alone had nothing to do with what was observed.

Ike

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