RE: Bad Bayesian - no biscuit! (was A New Year's gift for Bayesians)

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Jan 19 2005 - 14:39:20 MST

Eli wrote:
> Occasionally I tread on the futile task of trying to persuade
> people not to
> buy lottery tickets, and they say something along the line of
> "Someone has
> to win!" or "You can't win if you don't play!"

When I have this conversation with intelligent lottery players, the usual
answer is "Yes, but it's fun to try."

Most lottery players know the expected value of a lottery ticket is less
than the price they pay for the ticket, but they play anyway because they
like the psychological drama of it.

In this case, you are underestimating both the intelligence and the
psychological perversity of the average human, it would seem...

-- Ben G

p.s. In case you were wondering, I have never purchased a lottery ticket.
However, I have played casino games in Las Vegas from time to time, knowing
the odds were against me (I lived in Vegas for 4 years in the early 90's,
when I was on the faculty of UNLV. I always did so in a group, with friends
who liked gambling, so my essential motivation was social. But I did enjoy
the psychological drama of it anyway, a little bit, even though I knew the
odds were against me.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:50 MDT