Reformist Muslim

Exploring possibilities for the future of Islam and other thoughts

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Friday, September 16, 2005

Monty Hall Problem Answer

This is slightly delayed, but I thought that I'd mention that S Abdul Halim has the right answer on the Monty Hall problem about the goats and cars here .

The essential point is that although you might end up with a choice between a car and a goat, the probability of the first pick being either a car or a goat means that it no longer remains a 50/50 choice.

Anyway, the thing I got from the puzzle is how intuition can get things so horribly wrong. Almost everyone that you give this problem too will immediately say that it makes no difference which door you pick.

For many, even showing the mathematic logic will not leave them convinced. When Marilyn vos Savant initially gave the correct answer, she was inundated with responses by respected academics who criticised her for among other things threatening maths education in America.

Intuition is important - many decisions that we take have to be made at an internal intuitive level. However, we must also recognise logic and reason and this is especially true when states as opposed to individuals are making decisions and that irrationality has to be fought.

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