Coping: Bayes Theorem as a Path to Spiritual Growth?

Since we didn’t go up to Shawnee this weekend as planned, and since most of my Sunday was spent cleaning my office and writing code for the “Big Secret Project” we had some time to discuss a new book that arrived:  Mathematics 1001: Absolutely Everything That Matters About Mathematics in 1001 Bite-Sized Explanations.

Elaine had opened the book to the page (2/3rd’s) of the way into the book in which a simple discussion of the Monty Hall Problem was being discussed among the finer points of Probability and Statistics.

The Wikipedia entry on the Monty Hall Problem runs down the set-up this way:

The Monty Hall problem is a brain teaser, in the form of a probability puzzle (Gruber, Krauss and others), loosely based on the American television game show Let’s Make a Deal and named after its original host, Monty Hall. The problem was originally posed in a letter by Steve Selvin to the American Statistician in 1975 (Selvin 1975a), (Selvin 1975b). It became famous as a question from a reader’s letter quoted in Marilyn vos Savant‘s “Ask Marilyn” column in Parade magazine in 1990 (vos Savant 1990a):

Suppose you’re on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, “Do you want to pick door No. 2?” Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

Vos Savant’s response was that the contestant should switch to the other door (vos Savant 1990a). Under the standard assumptions, contestants who switch have a 2/3 chance of winning the car, while contestants who stick to their choice have only a 1/3 chance.

However clear this application of Bayes Theory is, Elaine wasn’t buying it.

To her was of thinking, if the contestant on the television show can now pick either door out of a Universe of two doors, the odds are down to 50-50. 

Of course, that’s not right…switching doors will “win the car” 0.66 of the time.  Not the 50% which would be the case if the contestant just picked from an initial Universe of two doors. 

The contrast in probabilities, a 2/3rd’s chance of winning the car if you switch) versus a 50-50 chance if you look at the problem wrong, brings to light a fascinating aspect of Bayes theories that (extended out to infinity) have some really shocking spiritual implications.

At the core of it is something I can “event-chaining” in real-life.  The concept of “event-chaining” is already well known in computing, it’s just that most of humans are right on the front steps of computer science and haven’t grasped that computers are teaching us about some very subtle aspects of Reality, if we’d only be quiet long enough to pick up on it.

The difference between the host and contestant and two doors, two outcomes being a 50-50 and a host and contestant grappling with three doors is just this little matter of event-chaining which is not well-described in spiritual matters.

Chains matter immensely, however.

Accident chains, specifically:  And there’s a little form you can use to see how what people do results in “accidents” but this is almost always a series of chained events.  Which gets us back to the Monty Hall Problem in statistics.

Accident-chains are very big in aeronautics, too, by the way.

The usefulness of Bayes is that it views the world (even after Monty opens a door) as still being part of an event-chain.  The choice problem does not “reframe” just because it now looks like a two factor two-door choice.

So in addition to everything else you do this morning, on your way to work, see what happens when you go through the implications of this statement:

“If by opening a door, the Monty Hall Problem results in a pro-change shift of adds, does that mean that other factors in Life may be working the same way in my life?

Or, as I got to on Saturday…

“Am I facing a Bayes choice problem because I am fighting a Firewire from hell problem in my studio while I have the Secret Project still pending?  Is Universe trying to bias me (my activity choices) from my natural inclination to do one thing (fix the damn Firewire problem) before doing the other (finish the Secret Project Server mods)?”

I decided (since Universe wasn’t budging on the Firewire problem) that I’d move to the Linux problem (hairy Squid proxy issues related to mixing content from eth0 and wlan1 in a secure way.

I should know in a week, or less how this will work out, but in the meantime, it’s yet another one of those “off moments in Life of George” when I frame something up (Universe shoving me this way or that) and the next day, UPS has left us a book which we happen to open and which happens to frame the Monty Hall problem and that happens to deal with how this Universe pushes topic.

So the ponder is (if Elaine and my sensibilities about reframing aren’t correct) Just how many discrete chain-steps removed are we from the set-up for the game of Life?

And then (depending on how far back you can see Bayes at work) is there any probability or is Free Will really not more of an illusion that we previously have been led to believe.

Or (weirder still) is this just a further hint verging on mathematical evidence that Life is a Big Game and we are nothing more than The Bayesian Blind” not being able to see back up the causative chains far enough in real-time “play” to really grasp more personal control over the Outcome of the Game?


I wrote this on Sunday immediately before firing up the Linux server.  I’ll make a note in a few hours on how programming went (sparing you the details).  The question before me is “Is finishing the Linux project a key “event-chain” that needs to be done right now?


The answer?  (Many hours later):  No, everything has “failed to fall into place “just so” on the project.  But then again, I have gained much knowledge of what not to do.  So is an event-chain at work?  I will press again today in the same direction and see if there is….or not.

The larger mystery remains for me:  If an “invisible” event-chain bounds statistics in a way that defying common sense, as two discrete settings are inexorably linked, is it not possible then that if two discrete settings are “linked” by this goo, then could not three, four, or any number you choose?

Arguably, the answer is YES.  And it smashed “free will” and a whole lot of other assumptions made by folks on the rocks of mathematic and logic.

As noted a while back, we may indeed be nothing more than pawns in some kind of larger context (“The Game”) wherein we’re only here to act out event-chains toward some long-foretold End.

If so, then is an End Time of the kind reported by multiple prophetic Seers just a scam to sell their brands of Faith?  Or, is it in turn more supported by evidence, that event-chains are leading us down a bounded set of future “choices” to some inevitable result?

It’s a non-trivial question with “bittered waters” and with Ebola –  a pretty good First Horseman proxy – quite possibly riding about.

Did I mention the part where this Horseman rides a whole fleet of winged steeds that seems unlikely to be stopped in time?

Speed Demons vs. Ads Department

If you notice the main page of Urban is loading faster this morning it’s because I’ve decided to stop the Google ad on the right side of the page for a while.  Until I can run some tests on how fast a smaller ad is served.

The mechanics of the ad world on sites you visit is somewhat arcane:  You click onto a site but that site may be funded through revenue from an advertising network (Amazon, Google, Commission Junction, and so forth.

As the web site page you wanted loads, it “sends off” for a foreign page *(the little bit that contains the ad).  The process slows down the completion of your intended page load.  It might add a second or sometimes two or three…even five seconds.  It all depends on how busy the ad server (off yonder) is.

There is a trade-off, of course:  Namely, we give up about $200/month from the ad revenue that Google’s fine Adsense program provides.

On the plus side, though, page load speed (at least on a home page) is incredibly important and – consequently we focus on it – so if Google ads in various speed tests were costing a second or two, then multiply that times…what?  20,000 some page views in a day and that pencils out to 5.5 hours per day of people’s time.

Or to boils it down to a more personal level:  If you read UrbanSurvival 60 times, the eliminated ad just saved you a minute. Think of it as respecting your time.

Something to think about when you’re pondering whether our www.Peoplenomics.com premium service is worthwhile.  And no; No ads of any kind inside Peoplenomics.

More tomorrow, but do write when you break-even…

George  george@ure.net

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