Re: Laws of Mathematical Probablilities -The Old Testament contains over three hundred prophecies or references to the coming of the
- From: "Deadrat" <ephemera1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 04:12:58 GMT
"Richard Dawkins" <Dawkins@xxxxxxxx> wrote in message news:a6Tbf.40$aR2.4921@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Laws of
> Mathematical Probablilities
> Mathematicians generally consider any event with a probability of less than
> 1 chance in 10 to the 50th power (a 1 with 50 zeros after it) as having a
> zero probability (it is impossible). According to the French expert on
> probability, Emile Borel, his "single law of chance" (1 chance in 10 to the
> 50th power) beyond which things never occur, "carries with it a certainty of
> another nature than mathematical certainty.it is comparable even to the
> certainty with which we attribute to the existence of the external world."
> As you read these next few pages remember that any event that has a
> probability of greater than 1 in 10 to the 50th power will never have
> occurred and/or never will occur.
> 1. The Old Testament contains over three hundred prophecies or references to
> the coming of the
> Messiah. Forty-eight of these prophecies refer specifically to the life,
> death, and resurrection of Jesus. All of the more than 300 prophecies were
> published during an eleven hundred -year period that ended four centuries
> before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Professor Peter Stoner, using the laws
> and science of mathematical probabilities confirmed and supported by H.
> Harold Hartzler of the American Scientific Affiliation looked at the
> probability of 8 prophecies, and 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one
> person; Jesus Christ.
> The eight prophecies are as follows:
> 1. The place of birth Micah 5:2
> 2. Time of birth Daniel 9:25; Genesis 49:10
> 3. Manner of birth Isaiah 7:14
> 4. Betrayal
> 5. Manner of death Psalms 22:16
> 6. People's reactions (mocking, spitting, staring, etc.)
> 7. Piercing
> 8. Burial
> Peter Stoner found that the chance that any man might have lived down to
> the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies in 1 in 10 to the 17th
> power (100,000,000,000,000,000). So just how big a number is this? If we
> take 10 to the 17th silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas they
> will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver
> dollars and stir the whole mass of silver dollars thoroughly. Blindfold a
> person and tell them that they can travel as far as they want but they must
> pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. This is the
> same chance that the prophets had of writing these eight prophecies and
> having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present
> time, providing they wrote them in their words. I think it is very safe to
> say they had guidance.
> Peter Stoner then looked at 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one man. The
> odds of this happening turned out to be 1 in 10 to the 157th power.
<snip the rest of the post which has probability 0.00 of making sense>
I expect that we'll see responses to the Jesus probabilities that point out that
the passages you quote don't mean what you claim, and that the calculations
you make are entirely bogus. I, for one, would like to see the probabilities
based on the chapter and verse. Thus:
> 1. The place of birth Micah 5:2
would place the odds against Jesus' birthplace at two and a half to one against.
But this is quibbling, and what I'd rather do is adopt your odds in telling the
Parable of the Wholly Gambler.
Suppose one day a trusted friend tells you that he knows about the Luckiest
Gambler in History, a man who can beat all odds, the Wholly Gambler. Your
friend tell you that the WG once intentionally rolled snake eyes 101 times in a
row. "Wow!" you say. "The odds of that happening are 1 in 10 to 157th power."
Your friend is collecting money to bankroll the WG for a trip to Las Vegas, and
of course, the backers will get a prodigious return on their investment. You decide
to check it out. You find all sorts of reports of the WG. They all tell encouraging
stories, although disconcertingly, they differ in some details -- some say it wasn't
snake eyes that he rolled 101 times in a row, but boxcars; others say it was eight
the hard way. But you can't find any eyewitnesses. What are you going to tell
Before I propose an answer, let me note that I could make the parable more
apt if I chose. I could say that the WG is reportedly 2000 years old, that he died
in his thirties, but rose from the dead. I could add that your friend wants you to
invest now, but you don't get paid off until you die. I could say that not only do
none of the reports came from eyewitnesses, but that all of them came years after the
101 rolls was supposed to have occurred. I could include the history of the WG's
followers, detailing how they carefully culled and edited the reports (which, by the
way, are in languages you don't read), how they exterminated anyone who had
different accounts or didn't believe the reports at all, and so on.
But back to your friend. What do you tell him? Two reasonable responses come to
mind. The first is that at 1 in 10 to 157th power, the story is simply false: there is no
WG. The second is that the WG is real, but the odds aren't. In other words, the fix
was in; the dice were loaded.
Let's transpose back to the real world. Do you reject the story? No. You're a believer.
Do you reject the odds, figuring that the story tellers jiggered their accounts to jibe with
the Old Testament or that they combed the Old Testament to find material to jigger? No.
You're a believer.
The odds are 1 in 10 to the 157th power by your own reckoning, and you've swallowed
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