Another probability paradox…

via Understanding Uncertainty

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3 thoughts on “Another probability paradox…

  1. thinks says:

    I looked at the referenced article and I am concerned🙂
    A multiple choice question either must include the right answer in the choices presented, or include: “E) None of the above.”
    At the absence of “None of the above” we must assume the correct answer is there.

    Of the Four choices, “A” and “D” are identical, a fact that would make “B” the correct answer, since, picking “A”, or “D”, (25%) would make the chance of being right 50%, which is “B”. But if picking “A” or “D” makes “B” the correct answer, it becomes more of a short-circuit than a paradox, indicating that neither “A” or “D”, nor “B” should be correct, as only one is supposed to be correct. That would leave “C”, but then, the chances of a random choice having 60% chance of success is highly unlikely, seeing that in a random situation the probabilities even-out at 25% for each of 4 possibilities.

    I think what we have here is not adequately explained as a paradox, because a “paradox” is only what the human mind cannot wrap itself around. The accurate description would be “a short circuit”. Nature produces clear examples of short circuits. They are called Black Holes, where physics (and logic) break down.

    Therefore, this particular so-called “probability paradox” may be nothing more (or less) than a clue on how to create a black hole🙂

    • epanechnikov says:

      I agree that it looks like what you describe as a “a short circuit” (I really like your metaphor). However I think my answer here would be 0% (we don’t seem to be obliged to chose one of the four options as our answer). However we would definitely have a “a short circuit” if option C) was 0%.

      I am glad you liked this one. I may post some more probability paradoxes later one😉

    • thinks says:

      Indeed, the key is whether we assume the correct answer is one of the choices, absent a “non of the above” choice. If we were to assume that the correct answer is not necessarily there, then I agree with the 0%, provided we also agree that, were we to allow for decimals, there would be a higher than zero digit somewhere downstream -as the absolute zero would define the chance to be non-existent, which of course is not necessarily true🙂

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