Squares & Sharps, Suckers & Sharks: The Science, Psychology & Philosophy of Gambling

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God Does Play Dice

Albert Einstein once famously said that God does not play dice, expressing his contempt for the idea that the universe is governed by probability and believing instead that everything is causally deterministic. According to 19th century determinism, if someone could know the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe, their past and future values for any given time could then be calculated from the laws of classical mechanics. Laplace’s Demon, as this thought experiment became known, has provided the beacon of hope to all gamblers that it is fundamentally possible to predict the future. Sadly, quantum mechanics, the science of the 20th century, demonstrated that both Einstein and Laplace were wrong. Not only does God play dice, but he doesn’t know what the outcome will be.

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