## Friday, July 23, 2010

### What are the odds?

Some people claim that 2 + 2 = 4 in base 10 math. But think about this for a moment. Someone could claim that 2 + 2 = 5. Or that 2 + 2 = 7,380,934. Now here’s the thing about that. Those people who would say the answer to 2 + 2 is some particular answer or another are typically those people who fit into a certain demographic (i.e., those who come up with counterarguments to poor reasoning may be culturally biased toward stating 2 + 2 = 5). So we can use the OTF to examine whether it is right in treating any answer to 2 + 2 as valid.

Now there are essentially an infinite number of answers you could claim satisfy 2 + 2. Yet certain mathematicians will insist that 2 + 2 = 4 in all cases in base 10 math. Even facing the OTF, they insist their answer could be the only correct one.

Fine. I understand this and I grant it. Even though their particular brand of mathematical solution has a low probability to it they could still have the correct answer after all. At this point though, they are talking about possibilities. Their answer could still be true even though the odds are their answer is wrong. This is sort of like winning the lottery when there are an infinite number of mathematical tickets to draw out of a barrel. The odds are 1 in infinity but that doesn't give any one of them pause. Even if we pare the possible solutions down to positive whole numbers, acknowledging the rest are negatives or fractions or even irrational numbers, this still doesn't change much of anything, nor would it give them any pause. Why? Because they have done a dance that I now call The Delusional Sidestep (TDS). Since the consequences of the demographic data are quickly recognized by them to require the OTF they make a quick sidestep to avoid it by claiming they could still be right despite the odds. Wait just a minute!? What about the odds? Ahhh, just ignore them we're told. There is nothing to see here. Move along. We prefer our delusion to the actual probabilities.

Remember, it doesn’t matter that someone can provide actual reasons why one answer is valid and another isn’t. WE MUST NOT IGNORE THE ODDS! Why, any statistician would agree with me here. What are the odds the Roman Empire was located in present-day Italy? Well, there are 195 countries in the world now, so the answer is 1 in 195. Obviously, therefore, it is not at all likely that the Roman Empire was located in present-day Italy. What are the odds that Obama is president of the United States? Well, the population of the United States is 307,006,550, so the answer is 1 in 307,006,550. Obviously, therefore, it is not at all likely that Obama is president of the United States.

It’s obvious to any intelligent person that there are far more ways for a factual question to be answered incorrectly than correctly, and therefore the odds that any particular answer is actually true is quite low. Therefore, if you make a factual claim, the OTF says you’re talking bunk so I don’t have to listen to a single thing you say. Only a non-scholar could possibly disagree with my brilliance.

1. Wow. This is a brilliant piece of satire :) Awesome...

-h.

2. Only a non-scholar could possibly disagree with my brilliance.

I'm not too sure about the odds of this statement being correct. How many are in the set of possible disagreement?

:)

In Him,
CD

3. Well Said. :)

4. Peter Pike: "It’s obvious to any intelligent person that there are far more ways for a factual question to be answered incorrectly than correctly, and therefore the odds that any particular answer is actually true is quite low."

It's not obvious to the folks who wrote "The Christian Delusion."

Are they not intelligent then?