Recently, there's been a discussion on yahoo answers regarding logic and the chances of a sports team winning a game:

Here is the last post:

I said that in a sporting event between two teams, players, opponents etc. that the chances of one team winning and one team losing is 50-50. Matt, your example with the pencil does not work because using prior knowledge everyone knows that the pencil will never float correct? so there is not a two possible outcome scenario. In an effort to try and say one team is better then another you have to look at other variables. However, just because one person's stats are better then someone else's does not mean that they have a higher chance of winning, and here's why. Whenever you pull these stats you are using them for only a certain time period, are you not? and in doing so are you not neglecting prior stats to those. If you are then why is it that you are able to use some stats in your analysis whilst others are not good enough for you. Therefore, all stats must be thrown out unless you have the stats for their entire lives. that is the only way to evaluate them on equal grounds because all variables change everyday. Since stats are no longer able to be used in your pregame analysis, let's move on to some more things that someone might use to analyze a game. Practice. Practice is arbitrary and cannot be considered since you can not quantify what practice does to someone. People spend hours upon hours in a gym and nothing happens, while someone can spend just one hour and be infinitely better. So you cannot evaluate who is going to win by their quality of practice and the length of their practice. How about health? How can you say how much a sickness or injury is going to affect someone? you can't. So you cannot evaluate who is going to win by their health. Since you have no basis to evaluate the two on they at the moment of the game are equal, regardless of whether or not one is pro or one is amateur at the beginning of the game their stats for the game are all the same, the score is the same and so on. So each team has a 50-50 chance of winning the game.

Who's right here? I maintain the position that in a sporting event, there is not necessarily a 50-50 chance of winning. Based off many variables, including skill level, health, etc. one team can have a higher chance of winning than another team.

My ten cents.
I agree with "Fool" about there only being a 50-50 chance of winning, even what he said about the stats and all that, because in the end the team/ a team will either win or lose.

It could also be 33.3333... percent chance of winning as the game could result in a tie.

This is the same as when you toss a coin, it could be heads, tails or on it's side.
My post could be considered being that of a fence sitter but hey thats just me.

Are you kidding me?
If I bring a team of big hardbacked men vs some skinny fourteen year old girls to play NFL football -- well, you get the point.

My example seems extreme until you consider that it's just one of an advantage, just like other teams would have over their opponents. I'm not saying that advantages like better skill, more athletic ability, age etc etc will simply give them the game, but the odds are definitely not 50 - 50.

You're on to something here Josh -- it's called common sense!

But isnt it still win or lose then? I mean anything/everything in life is 50 - 50 chance, something will happen or it wont.
But its the probability that it will or wont.
Example: There are 10 apples on a table and 10 people, each one can have one apple if they chose to.
Now circumstance are not predictable, there could be one or many fat and hungry people who each choose to eat more than one apple, there could also be more than one skinny person who arent hungry.

Now if you were there with them and say you talked to one of them or even knew one of them you maybe be able to predict what they are going to do.(probability)

For the example lets say there is one skinny and one fat person in this group of people, and that you also knew them both.

Now there circumstances out of our control(the human mind) so we dont know how it will react.
What are the chance that the skinny person wont eat and the fat one will eat both apples.

And what are the probabilities that (A. skinny No eat. )(B.fat one eat two apples regardless of skinny one.) (C. both eat one) (D the skinny and fatty dont eat at all.) or (E. skinny one no eat but fatty still eat one)

And from that I can conclude that is doesnt matter which of the five options happen but that it will happen or it wont.

After reading some of the replies from the original question.(pencil one)
All I can say is that there is still a 50-50 percent chance that it will fall and hit the ground.
It will or wont.
CIRCUMSTANCES! there might be a huge wind that blows the pencil away.(you never know)(chance)
But is this propable?. Not likely but still not impossible.

Taken from dictionary.com
Propable: Likely to happen or to be true: War seemed probable in 1938. The home team, far ahead, is the probable winner.

Chance: 1. The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause.
2. A force assumed to cause events that cannot be foreseen or controlled; luck: Chance will determine the outcome.

Im done.

Oh my. How can somebody talk about probability and say that everything is life is an absolute 50/50 shot within the space of just a few words? Please go back to math class. Your logic is flawed. If everything *was* 50/50, then there would be no need for probability.

Right now I say there's a 60/40 chance that I'm smarter than you.

Wow... is Impi serious? That avatar must be a real picture of him..

Just because there are two possible outcomes, that DOES NOT mean that each is weighted the same. As scru said, take a professional football team and have them play a group of teenage girls you rounded up. What's the probability that the professional team will win the game? According to your logic.. it's a 50-50 chance. Now this is just absurd. Do you see that? Do you understand that you don't make any sense? A small group of girls have absolutely NO chance at all of beating a professional football team (Assuming both play to their full potential). If you don't believe me, then conduct the experiment. Report back what the statistical analysis was.

Again, with Russian Roulette: Assume you put a bullet in one of the six barrels. Then you spin it randomly, point the gun at yourself.. and shoot. What is the probability that you will be shot? Is it a 50% chance? Based on your logic, there would be a 50% chance of being shot... Umm.. Any child could tell you that there is a 1/6 chance of being shot.

Also, consider the situation where you do not know how many of the six barrels are loaded. However, I tell you that at least four will be loaded. What are your chances of being shot? 50-50?

What if I fill the gun with 5/6? You still have a 50-50 chance of being shot?

What if I fill the gun with 5/6? You still have a 50-50 chance of being shot?

On the first pull of the trigger, there's indeed a 50% chance. There's either a bullet there or there's not. Of course depending on the gun the chance of getting shot might be 100% as some guns have a mechanism that skips empty chambers :)
On the second pull, there's be a 100% chance of being shot if you weren't shot the first time.

On the first pull of the trigger, there's indeed a 50% chance. There's either a bullet there or there's not. Of course depending on the gun the chance of getting shot might be 100% as some guns have a mechanism that skips empty chambers :)
On the second pull, there's be a 100% chance of being shot if you weren't shot the first time.

I think you've got that too simplistic. There's 5 out of 6 chances there's a bullet in that chamber, not good odds.

Line up 100 people, hand them all a 6 round pistol with 5 in the cylinder. They each spin and pull the trigger once. You think only 50 will hear a loud noise?

So every airplane that takes off will either crash, or not, 50-50% chance? Damn, I'm lucky to have survived the hundreds of flights I've been on.

What Im trying to say is that this is my way of thinking and my point of view.
If I wanted a whole pie there is a 50-50 chance I will get a whole pie(Factors out of my control like example: the building collapsed, the car wont start or im just too lazy). Meaning that I will get the pie or I wont.
But if I go there and the place is still standing(example) and only half a pie is left that means that I only got half of what I wanted therefor I either won or lost.Making this like the 3rd side of the coin type of thing.

*Josh2*

Again, with Russian Roulette: Assume you put a bullet in one of the six barrels. Then you spin it randomly, point the gun at yourself.. and shoot. What is the probability that you will be shot? Is it a 50% chance? Based on your logic, there would be a 50% chance of being shot... Umm.. Any child could tell you that there is a 1/6 chance of being shot.

*Josh2*

Yes there is a 1/6 chance you will get shot but in that 1 chance the bullet might fire or not(miss fire).
This is the way I think and I dont really care what anyone else thinks.(Im VERY optimistic).

What Im trying to say is that this is my way of thinking and my point of view.
If I wanted a whole pie there is a 50-50 chance I will get a whole pie(Factors out of my control like example: the building collapsed, the car wont start or im just too lazy). Meaning that I will get the pie or I wont.
But if I go there and the place is still standing(example) and only half a pie is left that means that I only got half of what I wanted therefor I either won or lost.Making this like the 3rd side of the coin type of thing.

*Josh2*

Again, with Russian Roulette: Assume you put a bullet in one of the six barrels. Then you spin it randomly, point the gun at yourself.. and shoot. What is the probability that you will be shot? Is it a 50% chance? Based on your logic, there would be a 50% chance of being shot... Umm.. Any child could tell you that there is a 1/6 chance of being shot.

*Josh2*

Yes there is a 1/6 chance you will get shot but in that 1 chance the bullet might fire or not(miss fire).
This is the way I think and I dont really care what anyone else thinks.(Im VERY optimistic).

You overanalyze the situation. You don't actually take EVERY possible event into consideration.. We could all die tomorrow of a nuclear attack or a meteorite or a bank robbery or a bombed building or an elevator breaks while we are in it or a building falls on us... etc. Come on now, I figured daniweb would have more logical members than this.. this is just pathetic..

Look I can see where your coming from. Im not stupid. You asked a question and I answered it the way I know how.
I also worked with chances/propabilities/possibilities in the past.
It might not be correct to your way of thinking, but this is my way of thinking.
But trying too say in not so many words that Im stupid and thereby degrading me, is going a little to far.

The reason why I take this stand/opinion is because I have left a lot of things to chance and possibilities and propablities in the past. A most of the time it failed. So I changed my philosophy if thats what you want to call it and so far it worked for me. I dont get my hopes up and Im not disappointed. But when I do get something right Im grateful for it.

So...you're trying re-define Maths and Probability because the world screwed you over?

So be it if it's your way of thinking. It just makes no sense.