a series of digits or coin tosses that <meets> a statistical test

< Previous | Next >


The word "meet" here is singular, what is its subject? "A series of"?

Thanks in advance
It is very difficult to grasp that tiny quantities of matter contain vast amounts of explosive energy, but the equations of physics—along with the destructive yield of our nuclear bombs—confirms
that this is so. Similarly, we know that most people cannot produce or even recognize a series of digits or coin tosses that meets a statistical test for randomness. But this has not
stopped us from understanding randomness mathematically—or from factoring our innate
blindness to randomness into our growing understanding of cognition and economic

-Sam Harris
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Got it.

    What remains unclear is that most people cannot produce a series of digits...

    Well, anyone can type digits on the screen...
    Yes, but that's not what the OP sentence says because you omitted a critical clause about randomness :( That means that you can type digits on the screen but they won't be truly random.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    A a statistical test for randomness is a very specific thing, based on serious mathematics. Just sitting down and saying 1, 8, 9, 2, 7 is not the same thing. It's casually random but it might not meet the mathematical test of randomness.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    If you tried to think of random digits you might type 1, 8, 9, 2, 7, as kentix just did. A good variety of numbers with no pattern to them. They look random. You are much less likely to type 1, 9, 9, 6, 3. Ack, repetition! And all those multiples of 3! But that sequence really is random: I used a program to pick random digits between 1 and 9, and those are the five that came up. I'm very impressed by how striking the difference is.

    A genuine random sequence (much longer than five, of course!) is very likely to have its fair share of repeated digits. Human beings are very unlikely to pick as many repetitions. So their sequence will not meet this statistical test.
    < Previous | Next >