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Probability Quotes

Quotes tagged as "probability" Showing 1-30 of 154
Bertrand Russell
“I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.”
Bertrand Russell , Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

Thomas Jefferson
“4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion... shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine therefore candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis as the earth does, should have stopped, should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth's motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second by exile, or death in fureâ.

...Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you... In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it... I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost...

[Letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, advising him in matters of religion, 1787]”
Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Lord Byron
“I know that two and two make four - and should be glad to prove it too if I could - though I must say if by any sort of process I could convert 2 and 2 into five it would give me much greater pleasure.”
Lord George Gordon Byron

Andy Rooney
“The 50-50-90 rule: anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.”
Andy Rooney

Baruch Spinoza
“In practical life we are compelled to follow what is most probable ; in speculative thought we are compelled to follow truth.”
Baruch Spinoza, The Letters

“You were born a winner, a warrior, one who defied the odds by surviving the most gruesome battle of them all - the race to the egg. And now that you are a giant, why do you even doubt victory against smaller numbers and wider margins? The only walls that exist are those you have placed in your mind. And whatever obstacles you conceive, exist only because you have forgotten what you have already achieved.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Ilyas Kassam
“If nature has taught us anything it is that the impossible is probable”
Ilyas Kassam

Vera Nazarian
“Today is an ephemeral ghost...

A strange amazing day that comes only once every four years. For the rest of the time it does not "exist."

In mundane terms, it marks a "leap" in time, when the calendar is adjusted to make up for extra seconds accumulated over the preceding three years due to the rotation of the earth. A day of temporal tune up!

But this day holds another secret—it contains one of those truly rare moments of delightful transience and light uncertainty that only exist on the razor edge of things, along a buzzing plane of quantum probability...

A day of unlocked potential.

Will you or won't you? Should you or shouldn't you?

Use this day to do something daring, extraordinary and unlike yourself. Take a chance and shape a different pattern in your personal cloud of probability!”
Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

James D. Watson
“Every time you understand something, religion becomes less likely. Only with the discovery of the double helix and the ensuing genetic revolution have we had grounds for thinking that the powers held traditionally to be the exclusive property of the gods might one day be ours. . . .”
James D. Watson

Nenia Campbell
“All statistics have outliers.”
Nenia Campbell, Terrorscape

Ashly Lorenzana
“Anything at all is possible. Some things are unlikely. Some things will never happen. But they always could, at any time.”
Ashly Lorenzana

Christiaan Huygens
“I believe that we do not know anything for certain, but everything probably.”
Christiaan Huygens, Oeuvres Completes

China Miéville
“For every action, there's an infinity of outcomes. Countless trillions are possible, many milliards are likely, millions might be considered probable, several occur as possibilities to us as observers - and one comes true.”
China Miéville, The Scar

Aristotle
“A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility. The story should never be made up of improbable incidents; there should be nothing of the sort in it.”
Aristotle, Poetics

Leonard Mlodinow
“Another mistaken notion connected with the law of large numbers is the idea that an event is more or less likely to occur because it has or has not happened recently. The idea that the odds of an event with a fixed probability increase or decrease depending on recent occurrences of the event is called the gambler's fallacy. For example, if Kerrich landed, say, 44 heads in the first 100 tosses, the coin would not develop a bias towards the tails in order to catch up! That's what is at the root of such ideas as "her luck has run out" and "He is due." That does not happen. For what it's worth, a good streak doesn't jinx you, and a bad one, unfortunately , does not mean better luck is in store.”
Leonard Mlodinow, The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

George Eliot
“Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities.”
George Eliot, Daniel Deronda

Lewis Thomas
“Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that the mere fact of our existence should keep us all in a state of contented dazzlement.”
Lewis Thomas

Jacques Monod
“Among all the occurrences possible in the universe the a priori probability of any particular one of them verges upon zero. Yet the universe exists; particular events must take place in it, the probability of which (before the event) was infinitesimal. At the present time we have no legitimate grounds for either asserting or denying that life got off to but a single start on earth, and that, as a consequence, before it appeared its chances of occurring were next to nil. ... Destiny is written concurrently with the event, not prior to it... The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man. Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game. Is it surprising that, like the person who has just made a million at the casino, we should feel strange and a little unreal?”
Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology

James  Jones
“He could not believe that any of them might actually hit somebody. If one did, what a nowhere way to go: killed by accident; slain not as an individual but by sheer statistical probability, by the calculated chance of searching fire, even as he himself might be at any moment. Mathematics! Mathematics! Algebra! Geometry! When 1st and 3d Squads came diving and tumbling back over the tiny crest, Bell was content to throw himself prone, press his cheek to the earth, shut his eyes, and lie there. God, oh, God! Why am I here? Why am I here? After a moment's thought, he decided he better change it to: why are we here. That way, no agency of retribution could exact payment from him for being selfish.”
James Jones, The Thin Red Line

Richelle E. Goodrich
“Statistics, likelihoods, and probabilities mean everything to men, nothing to God.”
Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, and Grumblings for Every Day of the Year

Frank Herbert
“She thought of the boy's features as an exquisite distillation out of random patterns-endless queues of happenstance meeting at this nexus.”
Frank Herbert, Dune

Hans Jonas
“Blind nature will nearly always select the most probable, but man can let the most improbable become actual.”
Hans Jonas

B.F. Skinner
“The consequences of an act affect the probability of its occurring again.”
B.F. Skinner

Osamu Tezuka
“Coincidence doesn't happen a third time.”
Osamu Tezuka

Ben Marcus
“Oh, don’t worry, I am perfectly aware of the fantasy involved here, but what we want is almost never exempt from the impossible. That barrier has very little meaning for me these days. Given what’s happened, the impossible is just a blind spot that dissolves if we move our heads fast enough. History seems to show that the impossible is probably the most likely thing of all.”
Ben Marcus, The Flame Alphabet

Dejan Stojanovic
“Based on the law of probability
Everything is possible because
The sheer existence of possibility
Confirms the existence
Of impossibility.”
Dejan Stojanovic

“There is no such thing as political science, but there are tenancies so strong that they might as well be called laws of nature.”
Jeff Greenfield, Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan

“The combination of Bayes and Markov Chain Monte Carlo has been called "arguably the most powerful mechanism ever created for processing data and knowledge."
Almost instantaneously MCMC and Gibbs sampling changed statisticians' entire method of attacking problems. In the words of Thomas Kuhn, it was a paradigm shift. MCMC solved real problems, used computer algorithms instead of theorems, and led statisticians and scientists into a worked where "exact" meant "simulated" and repetitive computer operations replaced mathematical equations. It was a quantum leap in statistics.”
Sharon Bertsch McGrayne, The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy

Alasdair Gray
“You, dear reader, have now two accounts to choose between and there can be no doubt which is most probable.”
Alasdair Gray, Poor Things

“Probability of helping someone with your tongue is low”
Fathima Fabeela

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