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Thread: At what point do coincidences stop being coincidences?

  1. Top | #11
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Probability can be a harsh mistress. Something associated can be just coincidental.
    You only said that because it's a full moon.

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    Veteran Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Probability can be a harsh mistress. Something associated can be just coincidental.
    You only said that because it's a full moon.
    Well, I heard a newscaster on one of the local stations a while back explain that of course the moon affects us. It causes the tides, she said, and we're 98% water. You can't argue with logic like that.

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    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Everything that happens, happens at a particular moment in time. Since there is only one moment in time, at a time, a lot of happenings have to share a moment.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Unless one goes to secondary motives trajectory isn't coincidental said the operationalist.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Probability can be a harsh mistress. Something associated can be just coincidental.
    You only said that because it's a full moon.
    Well, I heard a newscaster on one of the local stations a while back explain that of course the moon affects us. It causes the tides, she said, and we're 98% water. You can't argue with logic like that.
    Yes, and Rome was built in a day.

  6. Top | #16
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Probability can be a harsh mistress. Something associated can be just coincidental.
    You only said that because it's a full moon.
    Well, I heard a newscaster on one of the local stations a while back explain that of course the moon affects us. It causes the tides, she said, and we're 98% water. You can't argue with logic like that.
    Don't care to. The moon doesn't affect us, gravity causes tides.

  7. Top | #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    Is there an accepted method to determine when it is sound to think that coincidences aren't random? I'm talking in every day life, where things happen without lab conditions, and the mind makes connections between things in a free form way. We all know the mind loves to make connections, but is there a point where one can say, "aha! there is some unseen link?" because sometimes there is, isn't there?
    We always use the same method, the scientific one. I don't think there are any shortcuts or any valid non-scientific methods. So the accepted method is the scientific one. This doesn't imply a lab. In everyday life you just have to be systematic, note everything, see if it is more likely than chance. If it is not, it is called coincidence. By the way, everything you observe happening at the same time is co-incidence. What you want is causal correlation. There is no everyday, unbiased heuristic for that.

  8. Top | #18
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Once is misfortune, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    Is there an accepted method to determine when it is sound to think that coincidences aren't random? I'm talking in every day life, where things happen without lab conditions, and the mind makes connections between things in a free form way. We all know the mind loves to make connections, but is there a point where one can say, "aha! there is some unseen link?" because sometimes there is, isn't there?
    I don't think I can answer your question directly, but I do want to mention 4 related things.

    1. Convention in statistics is that a p value of 5% or less is significant.

    2. I will start with a concrete example of a problematic conclusion: Richard Hoagland has this idea that there is a structure on Mars that is a face. When I look at this question, I ask what are the odds that any series of contiguous natural structures on any planet or moon we've observed will form to look anthropomorphic under special computer enhancement? We only report out the things that seem abnormal, not all the normal observations over the broadest set of observations. So, is your mind asking the right question?

    3. Can you make a significant correlation? Is it dependent upon your method so you could try slightly different methods and it still is a correlation? Is it dependent upon a single data point so that if you remove the data point, it's no longer a correlation?

    4. I tend to accept things when there are multiple coincidences from different "dimensions" congregating on a conclusion. This is something I've used a lot in genealogy (and genetic genealogy).

  10. Top | #20
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    It seems a coincidence that you periodically see a dark SUV around with blacked out windows.

    When men in black with dark sunglasses get out and drag you away it is no longer coincidence.

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