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View Diary: Marine Life Series: Paul the Octopus is a Fraud (117 comments)

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  •  coincidence (0+ / 0-)

    Not so gratuitous, see my very first point.

    •  Not sure what you consider to be your (0+ / 0-)

      very first point, but these three:

        1.  Statistics. We're not taking about an awful lot of trials here. Flip a coin ten times and the chances of coming up heads 80% of the time (Paul's numbers) aren't all that bad. Toss the coin a thousand times and, well, not so much. Plus, Germany's not really a very bad team. They're going to win a few games even without a cephalopod's help.

        2. Hans Effect. Like the horse that could count, add and multiply, an intelligent animal can pick up on subtle cues from its owner that we can't even detect. If you own a dog you've seen this happen a hundred times.

        3. Bias. Without even realizing it, we can influence an outcome based on our own biases and wishes. Expecting, or hoping for, a certain result can influence how we perceive the results.

      all weigh against the assertion of Fraud as an unnecessary complication, especially number 1.  Numbers 2 and 3, though weighing against the scientific credibility of the event, are problematic, because they presume that the octopus' handler had the predictive success that is claimed for the octopus.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

      by enhydra lutris on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 09:39:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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