Love, chance, and flipping the coin

Recently, I’ve been studying methods of statistical analysis.  I have gravitated toward baseball analysis since it provides a good laboratory for applying statistical methods to learn about what counts as ability and what counts as chance.  Much of which we care about learning should be related to discovering what counts as ability versus chance.

I’ve been thinking about how love and romance might be amenable to statistical analysis.  One must first define love and romance appropriately so that one can attach numbers to it.  I suspect even those who have had hundreds of sexual partners can narrow their number of romances and trues loves to less than a dozen.  Lets take a person who has fallen deeply in love  four times in their life.  Lets say all those loves failed.  What can we say about that person’s ability to achieve love and happiness?  Not much unless we possess some numbers to validate or invalidate our hypotheses.

Flip a fair coin four times and count the number of heads.  What is the chance that you will get four heads in a row?  It’s 1 out of 16 times giving a .0625 probability.  Let’s say each time a person falls in love they have a 50-50 chance of it being a success.  Fall in love four times and you have a 93.75% chance of one those being a success.  If the success rate of romance it 50% you’d expect a lot of satisfied souls roam the earth.  Such does not seem to be the case.

The romance coin might be biased in favor of failure.  The chances of all failures in four tries might be much higher than 6.25%.  Yet observing a person who has failed at love four out four times, one still wonders how much of that is due to innate inability to achieve a lasting love or chance alone.

In my own case, zero successes out of however many tries doesn’t seem as daunting when looked at from a statistical point of view.  I don’t know the population mean and standard deviation regarding the random variable love.  I have done no sampling to estimate those parameters.  Maybe, my failures are closer to the mean than I think.  Bad luck might plague me as it does many others.

If success at romances are independent events, then past failures mean nothing with the next flip of the coin.  I’m not ready to flip it.  Probably never will flip it again.  I have a feeling the mathematical expectation is negative.  It’s like betting on sports against your bookie.  Play the game long enough and you will eventually lose all your whip out cash.

Frumpy indolence charms me more than romance these days.

Published in: on July 13, 2009 at 10:19 am  Leave a Comment  

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