Fairy tales for adults (long)

Björn Lindberg d95-bli at nada.kth.se
Fri Feb 14 04:08:58 PST 2003

Jeremy Larner <jeremy.larner at dunelm.org.uk> writes:

> > The point as I see it is not that there are a lot of things to doubt
> > about science, as you are trying to point out -- the point is that
> > compared to science, the Genesis simply (i) don't have any evidence
> > for it, and (ii) is much more unlikely. Someone believeing in the
> > Genesis as a literal account cannot be well-educated, intelligent and
> > /acting rationally/ (I'm adding this extra qualifier, since a
> > person can still be well-educated and intelligent and make an
> > irrational choice of beliefs, eg based on faith), IMO.
> > Björn
> >
> That really does depend.  Are you allowing well-educated, intelligent
> and 'acting rationally' people to believe in God?  Because if you are
> that seriously skews Genesis vs. theory of origins.  According to the
> theory of origins model, the probability of the universe ending up the
> way it is has been estimated at 1 in 10^229.  Now I'm not a scientist,
> but I do have some understanding of economics.  If you came to me and
> told me you had invented a model which perfectly predicted the
> movements in the stock market over the last twenty years, I'd be very
> impressed. But if you told me it only worked one in every 10^229
> times, I'd tell you to go back to the drawing board.

You misunderstand what that figure really means. The figure says that
the development of the universe culd have been such that the universe
now existed in one of 10^229 different states. Obviously the universe
cannot exists in more than one state (to our perception), so no matter
how the universe would look like the chance of it being that way would
still only be one in 10^229. That probability only says something
about the size of the universe and nothing about the 'uniqueness' of


War on Iraq, expected # of killed Civilians:
Iraq            500,000
USA                   0
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