Back in the day, a statistician (42% of whom are marginally attractive) named Pierre-Simon Laplace (100% French) considered the question, ‘What is the probability that the sun will rise tomorrow?’.

Like most French, Laplace wasn’t entirely ignorant. He knew all about the solar system and whatnot. What he was really getting at was, if you don’t know (or pretend not to know) the underlying probabilities of some phenomena, how do you figure out what those probabilities are?

He figured out that if you see something, that can happen in one of two ways, happen the same way N times in a row, then the probability that it will continue that pattern next time is (N + 1)/ (N + 2). There’s a generalization to this, but in the case of sunrises, it’s not needed. Laplace figured, if the Earth is 6 thousand years old (at the time Laplace was living, ‘young Earth creationist’ was essentially the same as ‘Christian’), then the probability that the sun would rise the next day was around 99.99995%.

One less worry.

Source: askamathematician.com

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Laplace And The Sunrise

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