Page 1 of 1

[2019-11-03] Fossils

PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:00 pm
by pgn674
This reminds me of an interesting thought experiment I came up with a few years ago:

If the infinite universe theory were to be correct, and every outcome of every action took place in some universe somewhere, then there is a universe where all coins for all time have come up heads when flipped fairly. Always. By chance.

The people of this universe have developed theories of physics and probability describing and explaining this phenomena. Then, earlier today, suddenly all coins everywhere stated landing like they do in our universe, with an average of half heads and half tails. All by chance.

The people in that universe have no idea what's going on. Physics and probability have suddenly changed for no known reason. Technologies that depended on the fair toss theorem are failing. There's chaos everywhere right now.

I wonder if something like that is happening in our universe? Is there some universal constant, like perhaps the gravitational constant, that is constant only by chance, and in most universes it wavers a little all the time? Would there be any way for us to detect this and figure this out from within our universe?

I can see how the universe with the fair toss theorem would be able to figure it out without too much difficulty, unless I came up with something more intricate, like when they make a two sided flat disk that would normally land quite fairly, then the first side it lands on is the side it will always land on.

Remember, with the infinite universe theory, this universe exists. If you flip a coin 100 times, there is about a 1 in 1.27 nonillion {1/(1.27x10^30)} chance that it will land on heads the first 99 times, then tails the last time. Much much lower than infinity.

Re: [2019-11-03] Fossils

PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:55 pm
by NeatNit
https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/fossils-3

That's... a really disturbing thought experiment you've got there. I think we just have no other choice but to assume that the results of our experiments closely reflect the nature of the physics behind them.

In that universe, however, it would be possible to make coins deliberately fall on one side of choice. For example: place the coin with your preferred face up. Where is the line between placing a coin and flipping a coin? It's a spectrum.

And presumably they'd have the technology to build a robot which can flip coins with such accuracy that it can pick which side it lands on. It would still be flipping the coin, irrefutably - just with intent. With sufficiently precise manufacturing, this is doable. What then?

Re: [2019-11-03] Fossils

PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:05 pm
by AlixeTiir
NeatNit wrote:https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/fossils-3

That's... a really disturbing thought experiment you've got there. I think we just have no other choice but to assume that the results of our experiments closely reflect the nature of the physics behind them.

In that universe, however, it would be possible to make coins deliberately fall on one side of choice. For example: place the coin with your preferred face up. Where is the line between placing a coin and flipping a coin? It's a spectrum.

And presumably they'd have the technology to build a robot which can flip coins with such accuracy that it can pick which side it lands on. It would still be flipping the coin, irrefutably - just with intent. With sufficiently precise manufacturing, this is doable. What then?


You also have to consider every other probability that falls under a 1:2 ratio/(50/50) chance; unless all things that have roughly "coin toss" odds are biased in the same way, probability theory will be pretty much the same except that coins will act weird.

The problem with that scenario is that, for example, whether or not a fetus is male or female is roughly a 50/50 chance. If you produce only males or only females then you don't have a viable population and no probably theory can ever exist. The converse scenario is scarier if you ask me. What if probability worked as normal up until earlier today, and suddenly all coins landed on heads and everyone only conceived males by random chance. Imagine the chaos.

Re: [2019-11-03] Fossils

PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:32 pm
by NeatNit
AlixeTiir wrote:If you produce only males [...] then you don't have a viable population and no probably theory can ever exist. The converse scenario is scarier if you ask me.

Holy shit, definitely. A world with only women? Dear god!

Edit: more seriously, I imagine that most conspiracy theorists will jump on that bandwagon immediately, and new members would join them by the millions. Coingate (and a few months later, malegate) will be the biggest scandal of the millennium -- but there will be no target to blame.

What took me a while to process is how to interpret this thought experiment. Of course you can rig a machine to guarantee a certain result, but that's not the point. The point is that any coin that can land on heads (under the set of initial conditions that a thinking being has applied to it), will land on heads. (or tails, whatever). So basically, all but the most controlled (over-controlled?) experiments will yield this anomalous recurring result. Any person could teach themselves to toss a coin in such a way that it will land on tails, but whenever they just toss a coin, it will be heads. And as for all-male or all-female offsprings - those are not able to be controlled at all, other than perhaps some cutting-edge technology, so it's easy to imagine that it could happen.

But ohhhh man. Is there a casino game that uses flipped coins like this, similar to Craps with dice? Because whoever happened to be in a casino at the exact right time, and realized what was happening quickly enough, must be feeling like they're in a dream.

Re: [2019-11-03] Fossils

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:10 am
by AlixeTiir
NeatNit wrote:But ohhhh man. Is there a casino game that uses flipped coins like this, similar to Craps with dice? Because whoever happened to be in a casino at the exact right time, and realized what was happening quickly enough, must be feeling like they're in a dream.


Roulette is a bit like that if you only bet on black or red, without choosing any specific number, but the payouts are usually very small for that sort of "safe" behaviour. But with enough starting capital you could make quite a bit of money that way. Anyway you'd get kicked out.

Re: [2019-11-03] Fossils

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:18 pm
by RyanW
That reminds me of the 2012 NFL season. The Panthers lost their first 13 coin tosses (the coin toss to start their first twelve games, plus one at the start of overtime). When they finally broke the streak, it was celebrated more than the win that came after.

Re: [2019-11-03] Fossils

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:04 am
by Guest
There is a slim probability that it will happen but the chances are about nil. Commercial Roofing Cincinnati Ohio