Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Theory Of Interpersonal Matching

The theory is simple, and states "The closer a person's belief system to the truth, the higher are his chances to find an exact match".... Thats in a nutshell, the reasoning for this bold statement is what follows.

It might be obvious that since i used the word "chance" then the basis of this theory originates from studying probabilities. To make the thought clear lets create this mock experiment that would closely correspond (although with some limitation) to real life matchmaking. The experiment is a multiple choice exam; 20 Questions, with 4 choices for each question, where there is exactly 1 correct answer to each question. The mark of an exam is defined as the sum of correct answers, obviously the maximum mark is [20/20]. Once we visualize this experiment its time for the tests.

What is the probability that two students who obtained [20/20] to have identical answers to all questions?! The answer is simple: It is certain .ie. the probability is 100%!! Since the two students answered ALL questions correctly, this implies that ALL of their answers are identical.

But what is the probability that two students who obtained [19/20] to have identical answers to all questions (assuming that the students randomly answered the questions)?! The answer to this question is a little bit tricky. We know that they have for sure 18 identical answers. We also know that each student has made exactly one mistake. In addition, we can find that there are (20*3)=60 wrong answers on the exam paper. The chance that they both made the same mistake is (1/60)=1.7%!!

Wow, what a difference one mark makes! Two students with [20/20] mark have 100% chance of having identical answers to all questions, while two students with [19/20] mark have only 1.7% chance of having identical answers. What about two students with [18/20] marks?! I'll save you the calculations the final answer is (1/570)=0.2%...

If we define finding an exact match to mean that two people have identical answers to life's problems then we can see that people with numerous wrong answers are much less likely to find that as compared to those with the correct answers!! But there is another complication to this problem: While most questions have only one correct answer, there are usually an infinite number of wrong answers...

Consider one atheist person, and another theist. If two atheists meet and discuss the issue of the anthropomorphic God, they would reach an understanding that no such God exists. But take the two theists, while they might agree that an anthropomorphic God exists, they most probably wouldnt agree on which God exists. Theism could mean an Abrahamic God, or a Greek God (or Goddess)... It could mean one God, or numerous Gods... It could mean virtually anything! The point is, when people are given the chance to create a belief system based on random events, the results are very likely to diverge. On the other hand, when belief systems are created with concrete basis, the results are likely to converge.

Combining the above two ideas together leads to the conclusion that to for one person to have a significant probability to find an exact match, they need to base their beliefs on concrete theories that are likely to converge, and have answers as close to the reality as possible.


Bullshit said...

Very weak improbable argument.
Good effort though

Tala said...

Hey Zaid,
i didn't understand the base point of this post. it answered a question i posted before, but what i understood is that there are not any two people who could have the same result relying on probabilities unless the answer was the ulimate truth, which is ideal and not real. and this applies for everything since we dont interpret everything the same way.

a concrete base, I stopped at this point for sometime. how would you tell that a person's belief is concrete or not? i think it is something relative too. remember your cars post..

Devil's Mind said...

As a rule of the thumb -although not definitive- following the "scientific method" most likely leads to concrete theories.

By concrete, I mean verifiable and verified. Concrete theories don't necessarily lead to ultimate truths, just like how some scientific theories are not always 100% accurate.

For example, some people believe in ghosts simply because it can't be disproven!! Such view is not concrete because it doesnt follow positive conclusions. Its simply giving your mind the freedom to think of things that cannot be disproven, and later deciding to believe in those stuff your imagination came up with.

On the other hand, if you conduct either mental or physical experiments, and make inferences and conclusion based on the finding of that experiment or research then thats a more concrete hypothesis.

Yes, I understand the limitation that certain issues are highly relativistic. My personal view has some basic assumptions, one of which is that the closer to the truth you are the less there is space for personal interpretations. But try to keep the mental note that, although perception and\or interpretations of things might differ, the core of things are still the same, thats why the more objective searches are for answers, the more likely those inferences are likely to converge.

Tala said...

what are the other methods other than following the scientific menthod or experimenting?

Devil's Mind said...

Interesting question, but sadly my answer would be: I have no idea.

I think this is one of the deepest questions to ask, and I have some interest to dig there, but as i just said, I got no straight answer!!

If we try to classify theories, they fall into three categories: Logic premises, mathematical theories, scientific theories. Although there is strong evidence that the three are related, yet no scientist has been able to identify the link yet!!

Generally, logical premises and mathematical theories are pretty much unquestionable (except in extreme skeptic arguments).

The important thing is to understand the difference between positive conclusions (eg. inferences of an experiment) and negative conclusions (eg. belief in ghosts). All experimental methods has what we might call bias, even scientific method has what some people call systematic bias\error.

To make things simple to understand, imagine someone who is "collecting" evidence that 9/11 was related to the holocausts. Such person is highly likely to find pieces that might lead to that conclusion. The point is, if you look hard enough you might find pieces that relate things that are totally unrelated. Its because you are biased towards one conclusion, you are likely to find it. I'd say, being apathetic about the results is generally another good way to obtain limited objectivity.

Rania said...

Very, very interesting!

"If you look hard enough you might find pieces that relate things that are totally unrelated... I'd say, being apathetic about the results is generally another good way to obtain limited objectivity."

I agree. It's easier to make conclusions when you start with those conclusions and work backwards, and you can even come up with really strong arguments to support them. A wanderer without a destination is more likely to stumble upon "truth", if it exists.
But does it? When you say "right answers", I wonder how far one can generalize the term. Does it work the other way round? That is, does a 100% probability of getting identical answers imply that they're correct? You still picked out of a limited number of choices. If we assume that there is an unlimited number of wrong answers versus only a single correct one (though one can still question that), it is likely that all the then-available choices were wrong in the first place!

Devil's Mind said...

I guess there is what we might call truth or correct answers, but the tough question is whether humans can (at least hypothetically) obtain knowledge about it, especially considering that our senses and mental abilities are subject to errors. Objectivity is an unattainable goal I'd say.

Now to the other two interesting points Rania raises:
When you say "right answers", I wonder how far one can generalize the term. - I think the answer is highly connected to the view of determinism. I'd say, Laplace's Demon and similar entities are the only ones qualified to give comprehensive answer to your question. Unfortunately Laplace's Demon is a hypothetical being! [I hope my answer made sense.]

does a 100% probability of getting identical answers imply that they're correct? - Not necessarily. If we consider answers to be completely random, then 100% probability would imply all answers were correct. On the other hand, if we consider that answers might be psychologically (or otherwise) determined, then such implication is invalid. Consider two students who have agreed beforehand that they will answer all questions as "A". Those students have a 100% probability to get identical answers although their answers may be wrong.

I am not going into details of the nature of "common errors", but those types of errors might also increase the chances that certain incorrect answers are more likely than others.