## Use and abuse of statistics

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• In response to the statistical calculations made in the essay ... Odds in the millions can hardly be called astronomical, but are significant. The original
Message 1 of 8 , Jan 2, 2003
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In response to the statistical calculations made in the essay
"Signature of the Gods" (Post # 12599) Randall Hobart wrote:

> With regard to your statistics, the prior discussion of which I
> have excised from my response, all I'm going to say is that I
> maintain my position that they're complete rubbish. You find
> something that you consider significant, calculate the odds, and
> then call it statistically remarkable because the odds are
> astronomical.

Odds in the millions can hardly be called astronomical, but are
significant. The original work done with the Bible Codes by Jewish
scholars is claimed to defy odds in the millions; statisticians
disagreed with the odds, claiming the number is lower, while
understanding that odds in the millions *are* significant.

> Maybe you're calculating the odds correctly, and maybe you aren't
> -- I don't really care.

formulating an informed response to my work.

> The point is that extraordinary odds are meaningless in the context
> you're using them.

Your previous statement indicates a lack of qualification on your
part for determining whether the odds figures in question are
meaningless or not. You can remove your foot from your mouth whenever
it suits you.

There is a popular trend among skeptics in which statistical
calculations of all sorts are viewed as meaningless. For instance, in
the Skeptic's Dictionary, one argument used against the suitability
of odds for making valid determinations is the lottery. The claim is
that even though odds of winning the lottery are in the millions,
someone eventually wins, thereby demonstrating that odds in the
millions are meaningless. The fact is that if there 20 million sets
of numbers possible and 10 million tickets are sold, the odds of
someone winning the lottery are *even*.

> If one flips a coin 100 times, the odds of obtaining *any*
> particular sequence are equally astronomically unlikely, but the
> sequence one obtains is only remarkable if one predicted it
> beforehand. One is sure to get *one* of the bazillions of
> possible sequences. All of your odds are calculated after the fact.

Your analogy is simplistic and irrelevant to the work presented.
Here is a proper coin-toss analogy. Imagine 448 buckets grouped
together. Blindfolded and walking in a circle around the buckets, you
would have toss eight coins individually at random intervals at the
buckets and land three in one bucket in order to match the
statistical feat the alpha twins accomplish as documented in my
essay.

> Even if the odds are calculated accurately, it's a misapplication
> of the technique to say that because something had odds of 1 in 2
> billion of occurring, you've obtained an interesting or remarkable
> result.

You position is ludicrous. Ask a statistician.

> The outstanding feature of your work, in fact, is that you've
> devised many systems, all of which have produced these same kinds
> of odds.

Your assertion is demonstrably false. As a gematria system, the
Theban system has had several names, but is the same system I
introduced in alt.magick in September 1999, and the same system used
in my contributions to the Holycram archives, and the only system
that I've used in statistical calculations.

> The lesson to take from this is that you can find the same kinds of
> odds in *any* system if you keep looking, *especially* if you have
> a computer and can easily investigate all kinds of obscure textual
> features that you couldn't otherwise.

I had no gematria software available for use when I devised the
gematria system called the Theban system. Between 1982 and 1992 I
wrote a number of gematria programs on the original 8-bit machines.
When my last disk drive died so did all of my software. I scored my
first gematria system for the IBM computer I use now from Robin's
Mystical Internet in December Of 1999. Upon adding up the value of
the words to the left of the line drawn on the grid page and
discovering its enumeration to be 9797. I ran search for the
enumeration using Robin's 'Enuminator' program and discovered the
original alpha twin. In order to find the reest of them I had to write
M.A.G.I. Your inference that I've scanned the text for unusual
patterns for the purpose of claiming a remarkable discovery is also
demonstrably false.

You stated in a previous post that any pet system could equal the
results I've obtained with my system. I've designed my software to
prove whether this is true or not regardless of the outcome. I accept
your challenge or anyone else's. While the chances of another
system producing similar results to my system are very slim, I can
calculate the odds of any system being able to do so by having the
program tally the number of alpha twins present in the text using any
system.

Prophet 718
• ... you ... I was rushed when I started this thread and had no time to review the post. The correct number of buckets in the coin-toss analogy is 112, not 448.
Message 2 of 8 , Jan 2, 2003
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>
> Your analogy is simplistic and irrelevant to the work presented.
> Here is a proper coin-toss analogy. Imagine 448 buckets grouped
> together. Blindfolded and walking in a circle around the buckets,
you
> would have toss eight coins individually at random intervals at the
> buckets and land three in one bucket in order to match the
> statistical feat the alpha twins accomplish as documented in my
> essay.

I was rushed when I started this thread and had no time to review
the post. The correct number of buckets in the coin-toss analogy is
112, not 448. The chances of successfully landing three coins in one
bucket is about one in 4000. For those who do not believe odds in the
thousands are meaningful, you should try the coin toss. Only one
attempt is allowed.

The odds calculations presented in "Signature of the Gods" are
valid, but not the ultimate evidence of my claims. The ultimate
evidence to be presented is the sweep of *all* of the cryptic verses
in the book by presenting *objective* explanations for them,
including a precise explanation of verses II: 15 - 16 and the
perplexing reference to The Empress & the Hierophant.

Prophet 718
• 93! ... You only think so because you re too obtuse to grasp the point I m making. The magnitude of the odds is irrelevant. They could be in the thousands or
Message 3 of 8 , Jan 2, 2003
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93!

> > Maybe you're calculating the odds correctly, and maybe you aren't
> > -- I don't really care.
>
> formulating an informed response to my work.

You only think so because you're too obtuse to grasp the point I'm
making. The magnitude of the odds is irrelevant. They could be in the
thousands or in the trillions, but if you're abusing the technique in the
first place it doesn't matter. My objection isn't to the precise odds you
find -- they could be perfectly correct and it wouldn't make them any more
relevant to the issue of statistical significance. I have no interest in
checking your arithmetic when the calculations you're doing aren't even
applicable to what you're trying to demonstrate.

> There is a popular trend among skeptics in which statistical
> calculations of all sorts are viewed as meaningless. For instance, in
> the Skeptic's Dictionary, one argument used against the suitability
> of odds for making valid determinations is the lottery. The claim is
> that even though odds of winning the lottery are in the millions,
> someone eventually wins, thereby demonstrating that odds in the
> millions are meaningless. The fact is that if there 20 million sets
> of numbers possible and 10 million tickets are sold, the odds of
> someone winning the lottery are *even*.

Odds of one particular person winning are irrelevant to the odds of
*someone* winning. If you correctly predict that one particular person --
Joe Smith in Provo, Utah -- will win the lottery, you've done something
pretty remarkable. If you correctly predict that *someone* -- without
specifying who -- will win the lottery, it's not at all remarkable because
we know that someone will win eventually. The odds of the first happening
say nothing about the odds of the second happening. The problem is, people
conflate the two. You'd like to think that your calculations are like the
first example, when they're really more like the second. It's easy to find
*some* event with odds that would be fantastic had you predicted the same
precise event.

> > If one flips a coin 100 times, the odds of obtaining *any*
> > particular sequence are equally astronomically unlikely, but the
> > sequence one obtains is only remarkable if one predicted it
> > beforehand. One is sure to get *one* of the bazillions of
> > possible sequences. All of your odds are calculated after the fact.
>
> Your analogy is simplistic and irrelevant to the work presented.
> Here is a proper coin-toss analogy. Imagine 448 buckets grouped
> together. Blindfolded and walking in a circle around the buckets, you
> would have toss eight coins individually at random intervals at the
> buckets and land three in one bucket in order to match the
> statistical feat the alpha twins accomplish as documented in my
> essay.

The task as presented here is *fundamentally* different from the case
of your "accomplishment." In the case you present above, you specify
beforehand a particular domain and the precise outcome that one must
achieve. In fact, all one would have to do is find *some* circumstance with
the same odds, not the exact one that you specify. That's *much* easier. I'm
sure there are enough circumstances in Liber AL with 1 in 4000 odds and
greater, using whatever gematria system you care to choose, that anyone
could find a few given a little time and facility with numbers -- it just
depends on what kind of number relationships you decide are important (which
of course you are free to specify arbitrarily after the fact, invent new
ones, etc.).

>
> > Even if the odds are calculated accurately, it's a misapplication
> > of the technique to say that because something had odds of 1 in 2
> > billion of occurring, you've obtained an interesting or remarkable
> > result.
>
> You position is ludicrous. Ask a statistician.

I've taught statistics, including the kinds of odds calculations you use, at
the university level and never got less than an "A" grade in my own graduate
level statistics classes. How many statisticians have endorsed your methods
and conclusions?

>
> > The outstanding feature of your work, in fact, is that you've
> > devised many systems, all of which have produced these same kinds
> > of odds.
>
> Your assertion is demonstrably false. As a gematria system, the
> Theban system has had several names, but is the same system I
> introduced in alt.magick in September 1999, and the same system used
> in my contributions to the Holycram archives, and the only system
> that I've used in statistical calculations.

Granted. How inconvenient of you to keep changing the name ;-) In any
case, I think that if you tried using another system, you'd find that you'd
see the same odds. It wouldn't necessarily be with "alpha twins," but you'd
find something.

> You stated in a previous post that any pet system could equal the
> results I've obtained with my system. I've designed my software to
> prove whether this is true or not regardless of the outcome.
> I accept your challenge or anyone else's. While the chances of another
> system producing similar results to my system are very slim, I can
> calculate the odds of any system being able to do so by having the
> program tally the number of alpha twins present in the text using any
> system.

But again, one would not have to do this to equal your so-called
accomplishment. All they would have to do is find *some* feature of the text
that had a 1 in 4000 chance of occurring randomly. You're constraining the
conditions of "success" in a way that you yourself weren't constrained in
your initial search. Here's another analogy. Say you dial a random phone
number, and that the person who answers the phone happens to be a 6'2" tall
blond woman wearing a green mohair sweater and posessing a mole 2.4
centimeters from her hairline above her left eye. You can't say that you're
special or that something earthshattering has happened because no other
person is likely to get the same result in a lifetime of making random
calls. The odds against that *particular* result were perhaps 6 billion to
one, but that's irrelevant to the odds of reaching an unique individual,
which anyone would have done.

93 93/93
RIKB
http://www.horusset.com/RIKB
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• ... 6 2 tall ... You could tell all that over the phone? Egad Holmes, how do you do it?!
Message 4 of 8 , Jan 3, 2003
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> Here's another analogy. Say you dial a random phone
> number, and that the person who answers the phone happens to be a
6'2" tall
> blond woman wearing a green mohair sweater and posessing a mole 2.4
> centimeters from her hairline above her left eye.

You could tell all that over the phone? Egad Holmes, how do you do
it?!
• On Fri, 03 Jan 2003 15:53:17 -0000, paulrhume wrote ... LOL. This would be assuming, of course, that one asked questions of the person on the other end of the
Message 5 of 8 , Jan 3, 2003
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On Fri, 03 Jan 2003 15:53:17 -0000, paulrhume wrote
> > Here's another analogy. Say you dial a random phone
> > number, and that the person who answers the phone happens to be a
> 6'2" tall
> > blond woman wearing a green mohair sweater and posessing a mole 2.4
> > centimeters from her hairline above her left eye.
>
> You could tell all that over the phone? Egad Holmes, how do you do
> it?!

LOL. This would be assuming, of course, that one asked questions of the
person on the other end of the line, as one would "ask questions" of a text
by investigating numerical patterns. But this does point up an important
aspect of the issue. One is perfectly free to ask any question whatsoever, so
between common sense and trial and error, one is likely to find a small set
of attributes rather quickly that designate the person as very uncommon if
not unique, in *some* sense. One of the reasons the Bible Codes have been
firmly consigned to the trash heap of millenial silliness is that skeptics
were able to demonstrate the relative ease with which one could get very "low-
probability results" from any text of sufficient length by massaging the data
and asking their "questions" in a variety of ways (altering spelling for
example, which is quite variable in Hebrew anyway, adding or taking away
articles and prepositions, etc), and then showing that Bible Code proponents
had done the same thing in order to get their results.

I should mention, since I am making myself out to be the bastard skeptic of
the hour, that I do not deny the value or utility of doing literal-qabalistic
work -- I quite often engage in it myself. I am only making the case that its
value and utility are not due to the degree of statistical improbability one
can calculate for one's results.

--
93 93/93
RIKB
http://www.horusset.com/RIKB
• ... aren t ... Ad Hominem. ... The magnitude of odds is irrelevant to probability calculations? You re making no sense. Certainly one can calculate fantastic
Message 6 of 8 , Jan 5, 2003
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--- In thelema93-l@yahoogroups.com, "Rikb" <rikb@h...> wrote:
> 93!
>
> > > Maybe you're calculating the odds correctly, and maybe you
aren't
> > > -- I don't really care.
> >
> > formulating an informed response to my work.
>
> You only think so because you're too obtuse to grasp the point
> I'm making.

> The magnitude of the odds is irrelevant.

The magnitude of odds is irrelevant to probability calculations?
You're making no sense. Certainly one can calculate fantastic and
meaningless odds using events and factors that are unrelated, which
is the nature of the criticisms you're directing at my work, and in
error at that. The odds are calculated much like lottery odds are and
are applied to English sentences that are a single and continous
construct that express the idea that secrets are hidden within them.

There is a chance the numeric sequences noted are random, but the
probability calculations indicate they are probabably not random.

snipped.

> In fact, all one would have to do is find *some* circumstance with
> the same odds, not the exact one that you specify. That's *much*
> easier. I'm sure there are enough circumstances in Liber AL with 1
> in 4000 odds and greater, using whatever gematria system you care
> to choose, that anyone could find a few given a little time and
> facility with numbers -- it just depends on what kind of number
> relationships you decide are important (which of course you are
free
> to specify arbitrarily after the fact, invent new ones, etc.).

There are no other circumstances that can be demonstrated through
gematria provided the application is typical and used in conjunction
with continuous sequences of words. If you choose to change the
inherent specifications of the exercise then you can disprove
anything. I would like to know what other exercises there are in
gematria usage that can produce similar results. It's easy enough to
claim my data is meaningless, but until you can disprove it (I've
against myself. Name a scenario that you think can compete with the
numbers I've generated and I'll pursue it and provide the results.

Prophet 718
• 93! ... The magnitude of odds is irrelevant if you re calculating the *wrong* odds. I couldn t put it more clearly than in my last example -- the one you have
Message 7 of 8 , Jan 5, 2003
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93!

>
> > The magnitude of the odds is irrelevant.
>
> The magnitude of odds is irrelevant to probability calculations?
> You're making no sense.

The magnitude of odds is irrelevant if you're calculating the *wrong*
odds. I couldn't put it more clearly than in my last example -- the one you
have chosen to ignore commenting on.

> Certainly one can calculate fantastic and
> meaningless odds using events and factors that are unrelated, which
> is the nature of the criticisms you're directing at my work, and in
> error at that.

I don't know where you're getting that. The nature of my criticism is
just that you're confused about how to interpret odds calculations.

> > In fact, all one would have to do is find *some* circumstance with
> > the same odds, not the exact one that you specify. That's *much*
> > easier. I'm sure there are enough circumstances in Liber AL with 1
> > in 4000 odds and greater, using whatever gematria system you care
> > to choose, that anyone could find a few given a little time and
> > facility with numbers -- it just depends on what kind of number
> > relationships you decide are important (which of course you are
> free
> > to specify arbitrarily after the fact, invent new ones, etc.).
>
> It's easy enough to
> claim my data is meaningless, but until you can disprove it (I've

There's nothing to disprove if you've drawn your conclusion through the
misuse of statistics. If you can find a professional statistician who is
willing to state that I'm wrong, and that the way you've used statistics is
valid and your conclusions justified given those statistics, then I'll

93 93/93
RIKB
http://www.horusset.com/RIKB

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• Do what you want. There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics. Mark Twain Want what you do. Bliss: Alamantra What do you want? ... From:
Message 8 of 8 , Jan 5, 2003
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Do what you want.

"There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics." Mark Twain

Want what you do.

Bliss:
Alamantra

What do you want?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rikb" <rikb@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003 15:37:00 -0500
To: <thelema93-l@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: RE: [t93] Use and abuse of statistics

> 93!
>
> >
> > > The magnitude of the odds is irrelevant.

--
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