[ExI] Garbage In Garbage Out

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Mon May 25 17:31:22 UTC 2020

On Monday, May 25, 2020, 06:04:50 AM PDT, John Clark via extropy-chat  
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

On Sun, May 24, 2020 at 9:42 PM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat  
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

>> If the virus came about  because of random evolution in the wet  
>> market, then [...]

> Nobody thinks the viral mutation happened in the Wuhan market, they  
> think a mutation happened to a virus in a bat in the wild that  
> produced a virus similar to but not exactly the same as COVID-19.  
> And they think the bat then infected some other undetermined wild  
> animal where a second mutation occurred and COVID-19 was born. Then  
> this wild animal (most likely a pangolin but not certain) was  
> brought to the Wuhan wet market.

The theorem makes no claims to any mechanisms, only proximate cause  
need be considered. One hypothesis says it happened because Wuhan has  
a wet market. The other says it happened because Wuhan has a virus  
lab. The theorem doesn't tell us anything about the details. Pangolins  
or other wild animals could have been brought to any wet market in  
China. There is nothing special about the wet market in Wuhan.

>> There are 686 cities in China and therefore 686 wet markets.  That  
>> means that the probability that the outbreak happened in Wuhan   
>> given that the coronavirus came from a wet market is 1/686.

> I hit a golf ball 450 yards and it lands on one particular tuft of  
> grass. There are 686,686,686 tufts of grass the ball could have  
> landed on but it ignored all of them except for one. Therefore I  
> must have almost certainly been aiming at that particular tuft of  
> grass because the probability it was all random is only one chance  
> in 686,686,686. Or to put it in another simpler way, GIGO.

Your example is a different kind of problem and bears no relevance to  
the Chinese bullshit theorem. Cities, labs, and wet markets are  
discrete entities and I used the discrete distribution version of  
Bayes' theorem. For golf balls on grass you should use a continuous  
distribution version of Bayes theorem. So yes, your example is indeed  

> I'll give you another probability and I don't even need Bayes  
> theorem to calculate it; the probability that any large event in  
> modern human history will produce a crackpot conspiracy theory is  
> 100% .

Here is an amusing bit of historical irony for you. The verb conspire,  
from which the noun conspiracy derives, comes from the Latin con-  
("together with") and spirare ("to breathe"). So taken literally, to  
conspire is "to breathe together with" others. And since COVID-19 is a  
contagious respiratory disease, it literally spreads due to people  

Stuart LaForge

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