Cascade Of Insights

Personal Site of Adam Gordon Bell - Software Engineer

Creeping Determinism

Let’s say that you won the lottery. That would be great, wouldn’t it? Now you’re rich because of this lottery ticket and i ask you: was a good idea for you to buy the ticket?

Answer is no. No it was not a good idea for you to buy that ticket. The expected value of a lottery ticket is negative. It is a waste of money!

Lottery tickets are a bad investment. Even though you won that does not mean it was a good idea for you to get the lottery ticket. This is an example of the creeping determinism. It is related to Hindsight bias, but it is distinct.

“the sense that grows upon us, in retrospect, that what has happened was actually inevitable”

You were not destined to win the lottery. There is no fate. You took a gamble, but just because it pays off does not mean that it was good gamble.

The Generic Case:

Just because something happened, doesn’t mean it was destined to happen. Life involves a lot of random elements. Just because things went this way does not mean that they were destined to go that way.

Creeping determinism means that we pay less attention than we should to the things that don’t happen. But we also pay too little attention to most of what does happen. We notice when we just miss the train, but not all the times when it arrives shortly after we do.

This is covered in the book “everything is obvious” as well as by Gladwell in the new yorker. They all have much better examples than I. Also this was dictated into an Iphone, so hopefully it makes sense.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/9/1