It was our use of probability theory as logic that has enabled us to do so easily what was impossible for those who thought of probability as a physical phenomenon associated with "randomness". Quite the opposite; we have thought of probability distributions as carriers of information.
Edwin Thompson Jaynes
The Hartle-Hawking derivation of the unconditional probability of the existence of a universe of our sort is inconsistent with classical theism. The unconditional probability is very high, near to 1. For purposes of simplification, we are saying the probability is 99 percent; there is a 99 percent probability that a universe of our sort-I will call it a Hartle-Hawking universe-exists uncaused. The universe exists uncaused since the probability amplitude is determined by a summation or path integral over all possible histories of a finite universe. That is, the probability that a Hartle-Hawking universe exists follows directly from the natural-mathematical properties of possible finite universes; there is no need for a cause, probabilistic or otherwise, for there to be a 99 percent probability that a Hartle-Hawking universe will exist. This is not consistent with classical theism. According to classical theism, if a universe is to have any probability of existing, this probability is dependent on God's dispositions, beliefs, or choices. But the Hartle-Hawking probability is not dependent on any supernatural states or acts; Hartle and Hawking do not sum over anything supernatural in their path integral derivation of the probability amplitude. Furthermore, according to classical theism, the probability that a universe exist without divine causation is 0, and the probability that if a universe exists, it is divinely caused, is 1. Thus, the probabilities that are implied by classical theism are inconsistent with the probabilities implied by the Hartle-Hawking wave function of the universe.
A distinguished writer [Simeon Denis Poisson] has thus stated the fundamental definitions of the science: 'The probability of an event is the reason we have to believe that it has taken place, or that it will take place.' 'The measure of the probability of an event is the ratio of the number of cases favourable to that event, to the total number of cases favourable or contrary, and all equally possible' (equally like to happen). From these definitions it follows that the word probability, in its mathematical acceptation, has reference to the state of our knowledge of the circumstances under which an event may happen or fail. With the degree of information which we possess concerning the circumstances of an event, the reason we have to think that it will occur, or, to use a single term, our expectation of it, will vary. Probability is expectation founded upon partial knowledge. A perfect acquaintance with all the circumstances affecting the occurrence of an event would change expectation into certainty, and leave neither room nor demand for a theory of probabilities.
A realistic definition of risk recognizes the potential loss of capital through inflation and taxes, and would include at least the following two factors: The probability that the investment you chose will preserve your capital over the time you intend to invest your funds. The probability the investments you select will outperform alternative investments for this period.
Projects are usually undertaken to either solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. The probability that the project - even if precisely executed - will complete on time, on budget, and on performance is typically small. Project management is utilized to increase this probability. So in a sense, project management is risk management.
Among all the occurrences possible in the universe the a priori probability of any particular one of them verges upon zero. Yet the universe exists; particular events must take place in it, the probability of which (before the event) was infinitesimal. At the present time we have no legitimate grounds for either asserting or denying that life got off to but a single start on earth, and that, as a consequence, before it appeared its chances of occurring were next to nil. ... Destiny is written concurrently with the event, not prior to it.
It follows that the word probability, in its mathematical acceptance, has reference to the state of our knowledge of the circumstances under which an event may happen or fail. With the degree of information we possess concerning the circumstances of an event, the reason we have to think that it will occur, or, to use a single term, our expectation of it will vary. Probability is the expectation founded upon partial knowledge.
If you drop assumptions, and can anticipate the possibilities, you can master the art of strategy. However, if you can only manipulate probability, you can only create a path to victory. But remember, plans can break down. The future is always a step ahead of you. The key is being able to manipulate probability and plan for uncertainty. This way, you don't have to create a path to victory, but manipulate all options so that all paths lead to a victory.
A Resource-Based Economy is in the application of the methods of science with human concern and environmental concern. If we used the scientific method throughout the world, the probability of war drops to zero. The probability of human suffering disappears. Deprivation, poverty, crime - all those things tend to disappear because there's no basis. I'm strictly concerned with the environment that people are raised in and if that environment is altered, so will behaviors be altered.
The issue, as correctly emphasized by Carl Sagan, is the probability of the evolution of high intelligence and an electronic civilization on an inhabited world. Once we have life (and almost surely it will be very different from life on Earth), what is the probability of its developing a lineage with high intelligence? On Earth, among millions of lineages of organisms and perhaps 50 billion speciation events, only one led to high intelligence; this makes me believe in its utter improbability.
One of the recent arguments from design, that based on the so-called fine-tuning life of some fundamental physical constants, founders on the following objections: an extremely small prior probability merited by the God of theism in light - if that is the right word - of the Problem of Evil; the fact that it is not unreasonable to place a substantial probability on the hypothesis that a future theory will fix those values; and the sheer incoherence of computations of the 'chances' of fine-tuning were there no fine-tuner.
The probability of an event is the reason we have to believe that it has taken place, or that it will take place. The measure of the probability of an event is the ratio of the number of cases favourable to that event, to the total number of cases favourable or contrary, and all equally possible.
Simeon Denis Poisson
Among all the occurrences possible in the universe the a priori probability of any particular one of them verges upon zero. Yet the universe exists; particular events must take place in it, the probability of which (before the event) was infinitesimal. At the present time we have no legitimate grounds for either asserting or denying that life got off to but a single start on earth, and that, as a consequence, before it appeared its chances of occurring were next to nil... Destiny is written concurrently with the event, not prior to it... The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man. Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game. Is it surprising that, like the person who has just made a million at the casino, we should feel strange and a little unreal?
Today is an ephemeral ghost... A strange amazing day that comes only once every four years. For the rest of the time it does not "exist." In mundane terms, it marks a "leap" in time, when the calendar is adjusted to make up for extra seconds accumulated over the preceding three years due to the rotation of the earth. A day of temporal tune up! But this day holds another secret-it contains one of those truly rare moments of delightful transience and light uncertainty that only exist on the razor edge of things, along a buzzing plane of quantum probability... A day of unlocked potential. Will you or won't you? Should you or shouldn't you? Use this day to do something daring, extraordinary and unlike yourself. Take a chance and shape a different pattern in your personal cloud of probability!