# Re: Small probabilities/detecting design

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Sun Nov 13 2005 - 18:08:14 EST

>
> --- Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > A simpler lo-tech solution than calling a random number generator is to
> toss
> > a coin 500 times, or throw a die 200 times and concatenate the values.
> Both
> > of these will generate events with probability < 10^-150. But as I said
> > earlier that's no big deal. It's a big deal when a pre-specified event
> of
> > very small probability occurs because then there are a limited number of
> > outcomes, as opposed to a vast number. Randy's example of getting the
> same
> > deal in a pack of cards twice in a row is an example of this. Or if I
> tossed
> > a coin 500 times and you tossed a coin 500 times and we compared notes
> later
> > and found we'd got exactly the same sequence. In the case of a single
> 500
> > coin toss sequence, there are 10^150 possible outcomes, each with
> > probability 10^-150, so there is no big deal. For the second coin-toss
> > sequence to match, there is only ONE outcome that achieves this, so it
> then
> > becomes remarkable that this specified event of probability 1e-150 has
> > occurred.
>
> Agreed. Is this what Bill Dembski means by "specified complexity"?

I think that's a part of it. Specified complexity is not a term in general
use, though Dembski uses it. However, the idea of description length (see my
earlier post in response to the idea bout the repeated deals of a deck of
cards), is a very widely used concept.

Iain
Received on Sun Nov 13 18:11:48 2005

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