Re: When something impossible happens

From: Thomas McCabe (
Date: Tue Jan 22 2008 - 20:31:44 MST

On Jan 22, 2008 12:47 PM, Gordon Worley <> wrote:
> I wrote the following thinking it might be a post for Overcoming
> Bias. Instead, I think it's more appropriate for SL4.
> What would you do if something impossible happened? Not "impossible"
> like when something unlikely happens and you say "Wow, that was
> impossible!" but something that has so little chance of happening that
> it shouldn't happen. The following story presents one possible
> scenario.

Recheck your probabilities. Consider the possibility of a Third
Alternative you may have missed. You really, really have to see a lot
before you're not surprised by how weird the world is.

Fun experiment: What would you think if this, or something similar,
actually happened? Suppose that tomorrow you saw something really,
really weird. You Google and nobody else has seen something similar.
What odds would you place on:

- You simply hallucinated the whole thing.
- You saw correctly, but what you thought happened didn't happen
(misinterpretation of evidence), and there's actually a mundane
- You've discovered something unknown to science and the books need to
be appended.
- You've discovered something which violates existing science and the
books need to be rewritten.

How would these change if your observations were repeatable and
verifiable? Are there any possibilities I've overlooked?

 - Tom

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