3AM thought

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UniMatrix
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3AM thought

Postby UniMatrix » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:52 pm UTC

"The only two possible outcomes for the US elections were either Barack Obama winning or John McCain winning."


Use a technical "proof" to show that this is false.
Then, use a realistic "proof" to show that it is in fact, true.
Also, use a fatalist theory to once again prove it false.


My thoughts (note: it's spoilers for a reason):

Spoiler:
Technical proof:
Possible outcomes could be Obama, McCain, Clinton, etc.. Plenty of other candidates.

Realistic proof:
Had Hillary Clinton beaten Obama for the Democratic candidacy, McCain would most likely have won.

Fatalist proof:
Obama won, and that's the way it is.


Note: There are no right or wrong answers, at long as it's reasonable. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts.
Subnote: Yes, the elections are over, and I should just move on, but it's my 3AM thought and I'll post it if I wish.

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skeptical scientist
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Re: 3AM thought

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:37 am UTC

It depends on what time period you are speaking of. A year ago, Hillary Clinton was a viable candidate for president. Six months ago, there were only two viable candidates for president. On November 1, the 44th president was pretty well determined.
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Esquilax
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Re: 3AM thought

Postby Esquilax » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:26 am UTC

Spoiler:
Well, the fact is, any time before the election took place, if one (or both) of the candidates had died then different candidates would necessarily emerge.
Spoiler:
Image

GreedyAlgorithm
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Re: 3AM thought

Postby GreedyAlgorithm » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:45 am UTC

UniMatrix wrote:Note: There are no right or wrong answers, at long as it's reasonable.

Yes, there are wrong answers. For example, "Obama won, and that's the way it is." is a wrong answer. Either "the only two possible outcomes" in the original question has some coherent, useful meaning, in which case the "proof" is obviously ignoring something important (maybe the implementation of counterfactuals?), or it has no coherent, useful meaning (this may be the case under fatalism?) in which case the question is not well posed in the first place.
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william
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Re: 3AM thought

Postby william » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:01 pm UTC

Question: are my kids safe asleep?
SecondTalon wrote:A pile of shit can call itself a delicious pie, but that doesn't make it true.


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