"But there's still a chance, right?"


One of the chief morals of the mathematical analogy between thermodynamics and cognition is that the constraints of probability are inescapable; probability may be a subjective state of mind, but the laws of probability are harder than steel.

[…] Here's a little experiment: Smash an egg on the floor. The rule that says that the egg won't spontaneously reform and leap back into your hand is merely probabilistic. A suggestion, if you will.

[…] It may help to think of it this way—if you still have some lingering intuition that uncertain beliefs are not authoritative:

In reality, there may be a very small chance that the egg spontaneously reforms. But you cannot expect it to reform. You must expect it to smash. Your mandatory belief is that the egg's probability of spontaneous reformation is ~0. Probabilities are not certainties, but the laws of probability are theorems.

If you doubt this, try dropping the egg on the floor a few decillion times.


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Created (16 months ago)