Joe Always, Steve It, Sharon Hewitt Rolette discussed on The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe
Defeating ignorance in our solar system and beyond <music>. We have an interesting name that logical fallacy. This week actually wrote a whole blog post about this because there was an editorial published in the journal Psychology today that <hes> <music> says that the skeptics are wrong. Joe Always gets my up six years up so come on people sent this to me so this article who says that we skeptics wrong when we talk about the law of truly large numbers right got this has to do with coincidences residences when things seem to be an amazing coincidence like somebody winning the lottery twice or you think of a friend you haven't nineteen and twenty years and they call you. Were you pick up the phone because you're about to call somebody there on the other line because they were calling you with the exact same moment on my the phone didn't ring that never happened. That's happened to me I've ever had all the chances are one in twelve trillion that would ever happen but it happens playing any game of chance in a very unusual sequence of dice rolls or cards or whatever happens we would say that well it may seem like a an amazing coincidence that defies the odds with actually calculated the odds things like that should happen all the time and what you're underestimating is the number of potential opportunities opportunities for something that's individually unlikely to happen and also the definition of what constitutes a coincidence is open ended did and so that open ended `Nice plus the fact that it's you're comparing like if you define a coincidence as the alignment of two events well it's every the event with every other event the probabilities magnify exponentially and if you think about all the opportunities for any pattern noticeable pattern of chance alignment of things happening in your life it should happen on a regular basis but what Sharon Hewitt Rolette wrote in psychology today is that that conclusion by skeptics is not correct because we don't know that the apparent coincidences aren't attack happening more frequently than chance DI basically arguing that they're not really coincidences. No she's saying that there's a metaphysical supernatural explanation for these psychology today. It's a pot I mean it's a periodical right. It's a pop yeah. It's not a journal Right. You're right. It's not a period Detroit thing. It depends on the coincidence sure you you don't know how many how often specific types of coincidences happened but there's plenty of times where we would know for example the classic the classic example of law of large numbers Brazil somebody winning like a lot of type thing twice. I mean sure winning at once is insane odds against you but people have won it twice and and like you said Steve It all depends how you look at it because the chance of John Smith winning twice are are many billions or trillions to one but the chances of somebody winning it twice actually actually actually quite quite a quite good and so we would be so we would be seeing things like these extraordinary coincidences happening more and more more like somebody winning twice over and over like lots of people winning twice things that would be we would know and that are not hidden because they're just a public thing that people would find out what about so why why don't we see these coincidences happening that are just way out of what you would expect and that would if it did happen that would support her contention but that could happen that we haven't proven that they're not happening approving a negative I'm done. I'm walking away mic drop. She's essentially actually making an argument from ignorance. We don't know how often these coincidences are occurring so we can't invoke the law truly large numbers but we're saying thing that I will I will say shifting the burden of proof right..