Re: serious toast

W Ramsay (
Mon, 06 Nov 1995 09:13:37 +0000

>Robert Markley has brought up an interesting point, and the Weinberg book=
>sound like it's worth checking out. However, I wonder if there's something
>else going on when those of us who certainly understand a very basic
>probability problem (unless, of course, one uses a _lot_ of butter) still=
>some faith in the folk axiom of Murphy's Law. Could it be that this has
>smething to do with the Golden Section? As I understand it, the only=
>who truly view life as a crap shoot are those the medical model folks call
>clinically depressed. While not claiming to fully understand the Golden
>Section and all its ramifications, I did wonder about applying it to the
>buttered toast problem. If indeed we are "hardwired" or whatever, to=
>positive outcomes or confirmations more like 2/3 of the time, could it be=
>when faced with phenomema which conform to simple probabilty, we magnify he
>negative instances? Jack, if you're reading this, would you care to=
comment or
>set me straight if I'm off base here? Anyone else? Suzanne Huffman
This looks less like a Golden Section thing to me and more like a variation=
on Schr=F6dinger's Cat (which could be seen as the limiting case of the=20
Weinberg argument)in which we get a sample of one event, but only by opening=
the box. Anticipation is strictly irrelevant so long as the box remains=20
closed and redundant once it's opened. The toast problem reduces to the=20
Schr=F6dinger thought experiment if the toasted cat is dropped from an=20
indefinitely tall building - just as we may leave the Schr=F6dinger box=


Bill Ramsay,
Dept. of Educational Studies,
University of Strathclyde,
Jordanhill Campus,
G13 1PP,

'phone: +44 (0)141 950 3364
'fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367