Crackpottery

Crackpottery 101: How Coins Gain “Consciousness”

Take 10 coins. Toss them many many times. You’ll see that, on the average, 20% of the times you’ll get 6 heads and 4 tails. Now take 10000 coins. Toss them many many times. What percentage of the times do you get 6000 heads – the same fraction of the total as before? Put a decimal point; put 87 zeros after it; then put a 3 next to the last zero. That is the percentage of the times you get 6000 heads! (If you are comfortable with simple math, see this for the general formula for the probability and how to get the two numbers quoted above.)

Quackscience2 9178206Now consider the following curious situation. Divide the 10000 coins into 1000 groups of 10 coins. Each individual group has a 20% chance of getting 6 heads if there are no other groups around, but when other groups are present, the chance of getting 6 heads for that group diminishes to the point of annihilation! How is that possible? Are each group of coins “aware” of the presence of the other groups? Is there some kind of collective consciousness of the coins? Are the coins actually conscious?

WARNING! If you try to “explain” the outcomes of random events, you may turn into a crackpot.

Probability does not allow any “explanation.” Period! Any attempt at explaining probabilistic events leads to the introduction of super-physical, super-natural, spiritual, non-scientific, anti-scientific, preposterous, and … crackpot ideas.

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