
January 2nd, 2006
10:44 am  Organized Religion, Quantum Mechanics, and the Probability of Obtaining World of Warcraft Items I just got off the phone with my Mom. We started out discussing the decline of organized religion, and theorizing that it has become so caught up in the trappings of doctrine and so forth that it has forgotten what it's really about: i.e., mankind's relationship with an overall spiritual force in the universe. (Which you may call God/dess/es, "The Big Kahuna," "Om," or even "Jimbo," for short.) As so often happens, this led to a discussion of Quantum Mechanics. (Don't all your discussions of organized religion end up with Quantum Mechanics?)
Anyway, there are these particles, right? And they're so small, there's no real way to observe them other than by observing their effect on other particles that we can observe. And because of this, you can't really say "these thingies go this way," but rather, you have to say something like, "There's a three percent probability that these thingies go this way," which really doesn't tell you anything much of a practical nature because, let's face it: if there's a three percent probability that you'll hit a jackpot on a slot machine, you could play it eight thousand times and not win, and some other guy can walk up with a couple of bucks and hit it the first time.
Bastard. I knew I should have kept playing.
But I digress.
This led me to think of the formula by Biroboy on the World of Warcraft forums that explained how to determine the time needed to farm a World of Warcraft item based on the probability that an item would drop. There's even World of Warcraft item drop probability calculator that will crunch Biroboy's numbers and tell you how long you should farm to have an X% probability of getting that coolo WoW item.
The point of all this is that there are some things to which there is no yes/no answer, no black and white solution. As Niels Bohr, Nobel prize winner considered by some to be the father of quantum theory, is said to have remarked, "... anyone who thinks they can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy hasn't yet understood the first word about it." The same could be said for the study of spirituality or, if you will, God.
Perhaps this is where organized religion began to fail. In postulating an absolute understanding of the spiritual, they've tried to put in a box something that's far too big. People somehow have an innate sense that their theory doesn't quite work, and organized religion loses adherents, or fails to gain them in the first place.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play WoW. I need to spend 6 hours farming oily blackmouth at Baradin Bay to have a 99% probability of getting enough.
That's if some bastard doesn't come by and catch 'em all on the first try.
Jimbo bless you all.

Be glad I didn't say "binomial coefficient."
:) 
