Monday, November 19, 2012


I really love doing work for classes that I'm not in. This is a one-quarters serious, Douglas Adams-esque paper on chance for Statistics class (which, as I reiterate, I am not in)...

   In the beginning God created the Earth. After that, people came along and decided to try another thing. Once people started doing these things, they started to realize that they wanted a way to keep track of the things that they were doing. Why did they want to do this? It’s hard to really tell for sure. Regardless, they did it, and statistics was born.

    This paper, then, is a result of that mistake. A simple perpetuation of this mistake resulted in what we know as chance. Chance is the idea that things may or may not happen, and that there is a definite chance that they may or may not happen. This self-referential paradigm creates a paradigm in and of itself, referencing the self-referential with a flair so dramatic as to tell that there is a definite probability of a set number of events. People tend to like knowing things, even if it is impossible to know things, so they have invented this chance mechanism as a way to know all of the things that can be or not be. It’s not perfect, but it’s as good as it comes. And people are okay with that.

    It comes to note that, then, after these people have an idea that they know what they may or may not be, or what may or may not happen, they get the sense that they know things. They, in a sense, believe that they have become overlording gods of knowledge. This is, of course, a problem. Because chance isn’t really the knowing of things, but it is much rather the illusion of knowing things. We have, therefore, unleashed an army of powerless gods, a nation of people without any godliness but full of the false knowledge that they are, in fact gods. People have literally broken things.

    Another problem that has risen from this dilemma of chance is that no one is ever really sure of anything. They are not even sure, for example, that chance exists. There is a chance that chance exists, but it is nonetheless a chance. Uncertainty has become the national norm; it has supplanted assuredness as a societal cool. Being sure of anything has taken the notion of becoming bigoted. Any good and proper statistician will be sure to alert you that there is never really a 100% chance of anything, but that chance can only be statistically significant. This idea of statistical significance basically gives the notion that “we aren’t really sure of anything, but we can only be sure to the point that it’s not worth it to be any more sure.” Chance prevents more interesting propositions than uncertainty, however, because chance does not cause anything in and of itself.

    Chance is clearly not a cause in the classic cause-and-effect relationship model. Chance is an analysis of the things that are already going to happen anyway. Chance remains a model for the existing world that in no way affects that model. As said in Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith, “Chance can’t cause anything. It simply describes the reality that more than one outcome is possible in a given situation.” Chance is only useful as a description and decision-making aide. In this sense, though, chance can actually indirectly be a cause. When chance is taken into account in the decision-making process, it can be a cause for a certain decision to be made. Chance gives a level of knowing that was formerly impossible without it, and informed decisions create a new paradigm for human decision making.
    In conclusion, chance has come about and is a result of humans. This naturally driven thirst for hunger and knowledge has driven towards the only somewhat natural idea of knowing chance. Chance is, in fact, an abstract notion that an event or set of events may or may not happen, and that it is possible to gain knowledge of these events’ probability of occurrence. This has resulted as both a problem and an aide, giving people the false notion of their own knowledge’s breadth as well as helping them make informed decisions. This essay, could, of course, be either wrong or right. What are the chances?

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