Re: A word of appreciation

From: bivalve <bivalve@mail.davidson.alumlink.com>
Date: Fri Sep 24 2004 - 14:51:31 EDT

> (2) I asked for opinions about estimating the significance. <

A major difficulty is that this is an a posteriori observation. It would be just as interesting to have Genesis 1:1 generating e, the golden ratio, the square root of 2, the fine structure constant...

There is a 100 percent chance that the formula will generate a number based on a selected verse.

The chance that this number is interesting depends on the total number of interesting numbers, plus an allowance for the number of acceptably simple formulas.

Although the proof that every number is interesting is facetious, one can find interesting patters related to almost any number.

Similar difficulties often apply to probability claims regarding evolution. Until we know how many different possible ways there might be to make a functional equivalent, we cannot calculate the most relevant probabilities. For example, there are over 6 billion DNA sequences that have produced humans so far-still small relative to the total number of base pairs involved, but large relative to the probability of generating a single selected arrangement of bases that long.

Another difficulty is that pi can be generated by relatively simple formulas from other sources. For example, if I remember correctly, the probability of a stick of a certain length landing on a crack when tossed onto a regular grid is a function of pi. Similar logic could thus be used to conclude that divination using randomly tossed objects is an authoritative source of revelation.

Analagously, claimed evidence of design in nature fails to tell who the designer is. My invertebrate class lecture just covered some extremely complex and intricate systems that the text admitted are challenging to explain evolutionarily. However, these are the life cycles of flukes, and no ID advocate that I know of has claimed that an intelligent designer is responsible for the elaborate series of events necessary to get our guts infested with worms. Starting from that piece of "evidence", one might suggest a designer resembling a Hollywood mad scientist.

    Dr. David Campbell
    Old Seashells
    University of Alabama
    Biodiversity & Systematics
    Dept. Biological Sciences
    Box 870345
    Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA
    bivalve@mail.davidson.alumlink.com

That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at Droitgate Spa
Received on Fri Sep 24 15:24:53 2004

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