An assumption is made to take some independent statistics as dependent. If you flip five coins, each flip is independent from each other. The flip before the next flip does not affect the statistics of the next flip. Each coin flip is always 50/50 chance. Same thing with rolling dice. Each roll of the dice is a 1/6 chance. Each flip’s chance cannot be determined by flips before it and every roll’s chance cannot be determined by rolls before it. Unfortunately, there are not many arguments that would commit this fallacy. People have accused the fine-tuning argument of this fallacy, but that will be dwelt with in the article “Dealing with the Top Ten Objections to the Fine-Tuning Argument.” However, this fallacy can be misused in certain situations. You could make predictions of odds or calculations based on final results of all flips and rolls.
Example #1: There have been 9 coin flips, two heads and seven tails. It’s most likely that the next flip will not be heads. Therefore, the next flip will most likely be tails.
This commits the gamblers fallacy because it’s prediction is based on passed results of the last coin flips. Of course, common sense would say to assume it would be tails next, but there is no logical way to make that judgement. It’s based on being accustomed to seeing tail over heads in the previous flips. This commits the gambler’s fallacy.
Example #2: If I choose 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 1, and 7, then I will most likely win the lottery since these numbers have not been used.
This commits the gambler’s fallacy because they assume that specific numbers that have not been chosen will increase their chances of winning the lottery. There is no logical connection between any specific number and the likely hood of winning. However, the more lottery tickets you buy out of the whole will increase your likely hood of winning. There is only one ticket chosen for the first place prize, so the more tickets, the better chances you have winner the grand prize. The number you choose does not affect your likely hood of winning, so this commits the gambler’s fallacy.
Example #3: The number of planets show that it’s inevitable that we get a planet like earth. Therefore, it’s not designed for life.
The first problem with this argument is the fact that it assumes the universe is set up like a lottery, which is not the case. The universe could have been different and could have failed to exist as well. Physical necessity is not the most viable option for the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, if you want see why, then check out my Fine-Tuning Article here:
This would refute the lottery argument right off the bat, but there’s more. The number of planets will not affect the known conditions for life to exist on this planet. Especially, when you take the three types of galaxies within in the universe. Here’s an excerpt from my Fine-Tuning article that talks about these galaxies. “The three types of galaxies are elliptical, irregular, and spiral galaxies. Both elliptical and irregular galaxies cannot support life as we know. Elliptical galaxies lack heavy elements that are needed for life to exist. Irregular galaxies contain to many supernovas (Stars blowing up) for life to exist in them. Spiral galaxies are the only galaxies that can support life, but even then we have to exist in the right spot in the milky way to exist. Mainly due to black holes and radiation in spiral galaxies. Our solar system just happens to exist in the right spiral galaxy at the right time.”
When we have galaxies in which life cannot exist, then the odds go down since there’s a specific galaxy we have to be in. Of course, now you have to push the goal posts to how many galaxies there are and what are the odds specific galaxies existing. This would still commit the same gambler fallacy as well, but even if we accept the faulty premise given before, it’s still a non-sequitur. This is the case because you now have to worry about the number of galaxies, which leads you away from the original claims of planets. Spiral galaxies are the only galaxies that allow for the possibility of life, which is still not a guarantee like the lottery analogies.
For the sake of argument, we will accept that there are billions of planets that would exist in the same galaxy and ignore those conditions needed. Some will argue that each planet will add on to the odds of life existing, but that is not true. You could just have two planets and the probability would be 50/50 according to the logic of the argument. This commits the gambler fallacy because it assumes the number of things will affect the odds of the chances for a specific type of planet. This argument ignores the outside factors for a planet like Earth to exist. You need the specific type of galaxy, sun, other planets, atmosphere, water distribution, etc. To demonstrate my point, let’s replace planets with jumps. The odds of me jumping 1,000 feet in the air would be the equivalent to the odds of earth being here. Impossible without the right conditions. If I jumped a billions of times, then by the logic of the argument, I would have to jump a 1,000 feet during these billions of jumps. Obviously, there are specific factors that are needed in order for me to jump a 1,000 feet in the air like specific gravitational force and so on. This argument seems to ignore the fallacy that it commits and people still promote this argument against the planetary system.
The gambler’s fallacy is a fallacy that gambler’s typically commit in their gambling. Most philosophical arguments do not contain a gambler’s fallacy because it’s easy to avoid. The only arguments that seem to commit this fallacy are those that are not thought out to well. I bet that is the case, but perhaps that is the gamblers fallacy as well.