Sunday, March 21, 2010

God and Randomness

In the last few months, my posts here have become less and less regular. This leads me to believe there are fewer and fewer of my readers still out there. (Hi mom!) However, even when I was posting 4-5 times a week, sometimes daily, I was never doing it for anyone but myself.

When I post now, it's for the same reasons: because I have some opinion to get off my chest or some half-baked idea I think might be interesting or some opinion or work of someone else that I think should get a slightly wider reading. Today's post is the latter. It's a brief column from Jonah Lehrer, a science writer for Wired and The New Yorker. He references a study from the University of Waterloo that addresses how people might deal with the random nature of existence by putting greater stock in a controlling hand of G-d. Being a big believer in randomness being responsible for pretty much everything about our existence, I found it interesting. Money quote:

"What this study really reminds me of is the stock market. On the one hand, it's a mostly accepted fact that the stock market is a random walk. (Some smart behavioral economists disagree.) Nevertheless, it's pretty clear that, for the vast majority of investors, it's safe to assume that the market is so efficient that it's effectively random. So how do we react to this information? Do we stop trying to outsmart the S&P 500 and instead sink our savings into a low cost index fund? Do we seek the safety of bonds? Not at all. Instead, we become day traders."

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