From: Richard Fischer <dickfischer@earthlink.net>

Date: Sat Nov 26 2005 - 12:56:13 EST

Date: Sat Nov 26 2005 - 12:56:13 EST

Wayne wrote:

People use probability theory all the time, and the issue should be which model is to be used and how accurately it reflects what we observe in the world.

And abuse it. I think the misapplication and misunderstanding of probability theory is rampant in this (ID) issue.

Let’s say you had a Super Bowl game in a stadium that had 100,000 seats. Those tickets were sold over a two-week period and sent all over the world, resold on Ebay, scalped by tour agents, hawked at the stadium, etc. Then let’s say all the ticket holders filed past one security checkpoint and turned in their tickets when they arrived at the stadium. All the tickets were collected in the sequence in which they were turned in.

Assuming no manipulation of the tickets, what are the odds that the tickets would be turned in and collected in perfect sequential order from 1 to 100,000. (Don’t look at me, I can’t calculate it.) Let’s just say the probability is infinitesimally low that a perfect sequence of numbers would result.

But now let’s say that the sequence of tickets collected has a series of numbers more like what we would expect: 11,791; 37; 96,301; 72,345; etc. Whatever that sequence ends up being has the same degree of probability as the sequence 1 to 100,000 – in theory! But a significant resultant number, or a perfect number, looks to be impossible. A number with the appearance of randomness is what we would expect. But probability theory makes no such distinction. Any sequence is equally improbable.

But the conclusion is where the misapplication occurs: Whatever the sequence was, it is so improbable, therefore, there could not have been a Super Bowl!

This is the kind of probability theory abuse creationists invoke as “proof” that evolution did not occur. In essence, they are confusing probability with predictability. If the sequence could have been predicted, then the odds are so low that it would have been a miracle had the sequence of numbers been seen beforehand.

What are the odds that you would be born? Well, how many sperm cells set out on their mission to conceive you? Some 30,000,000 as I recall. Only one ended up being you. What are the odds that your mother would meet your father? What are the odds your grandparents would meet, and your great grandparents would meet, etc, all the way back through 3 billion years of life on earth. Pretty low, huh?

In fact, the odds are so low that you guys exist; I don’t know why I waste my time explaining this to you.

Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association

Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History

www.genesisproclaimed.org

Received on Sat Nov 26 12:56:57 2005

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