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Response to Bucky (Reply #15)

Thu Jan 14, 2021, 06:17 PM

55. If you're fighting fire with fire, try The Birthday Paradox:

Probability and the Birthday Paradox

Introduction
Have you ever noticed how sometimes what seems logical turns out to be proved false with a little math? For instance, how many people do you think it would take to survey, on average, to find two people who share the same birthday? Due to probability, sometimes an event is more likely to occur than we believe it to. In this case, if you survey a random group of just 23 people there is actually about a 50–50 chance that two of them will have the same birthday. This is known as the birthday paradox. Don't believe it's true? You can test it and see mathematical probability in action!

Background
The birthday paradox, also known as the birthday problem, states that in a random group of 23 people, there is about a 50 percent chance that two people have the same birthday. Is this really true? There are multiple reasons why this seems like a paradox. One is that when in a room with 22 other people, if a person compares his or her birthday with the birthdays of the other people it would make for only 22 comparisons—only 22 chances for people to share the same birthday.

But when all 23 birthdays are compared against each other, it makes for much more than 22 comparisons. How much more? Well, the first person has 22 comparisons to make, but the second person was already compared to the first person, so there are only 21 comparisons to make. The third person then has 20 comparisons, the fourth person has 19 and so on. If you add up all possible comparisons (22 + 21 + 20 + 19 + … +1) the sum is 253 comparisons, or combinations. Consequently, each group of 23 people involves 253 comparisons, or 253 chances for matching birthdays.
...
As mentioned before, in a group of 23 people, there are 253 comparisons, or combinations, that can be made. So, we're not looking at just one comparison, but at 253 comparisons. Every one of the 253 combinations has the same odds, 99.726027 percent, of not being a match. If you multiply 99.726027 percent by 99.726027 253 times, or calculate (364/365)^253, you'll find there's a 49.952 percent chance that all 253 comparisons contain no matches. Consequently, the odds that there is a birthday match in those 253 comparisons is 1 – 49.952 percent = 50.048 percent, or just over half! The more trials you run, the closer the actual probability should approach 50 percent.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bring-science-home-probability-birthday-paradox/


The calculations will obviously be different as you're arguing with someone about a few days of a month (i.e. one of 28/30/31 days), not a whole year. That will give a result even more in your argument's favour.

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