Saturday, September 09, 2006

Probability

This woman won a million dollars in the lottery twice. This is the second time Ive read about this happening and reminds me of 2 things: 1. I believe that life truly works different for different people & 2. just because something is highly improbable doesnt mean that it didn't happen.

My brother wins stuff. Just about every time theres a raffle, he wins. Once when I was 8 years old, I won 10 cents by twisting the cap off of a 20 oz soda. I remember that to this day since thats pretty much the only thing Ive ever won. Once I attended a banquet of around 300 people with my friend. There was a raffle in which everyone present had exactly one ticket (you received it at the door). They were about to call the winner and he leaned over to me and said "I'm going to win it" and wouldnt you know he did. Someone like me would never say that (because I never win). Did he win because he was positive? Or is he optimistic about it because he's used to winning. I find it quite hard to believe that there isnt such thing as luck. Some people are prone to win others arent. Call it whatever you want.

Secondly, many creationists (especially) like to use arguments based on the rationale "this occurance is so improbable that it couldnt have happened". But highly improbable things happen all the time. How often does a 1 in a million occurance happen? If you have one million numbers and pick a random number... what are the chances that you will pick 246? 1 in a million but the probability that you will make a 'one in a million pick' is 100%. According to the above article that woman's chances were 1 in 3,669,120,000,000. So if researches 100 years from now had nothing else to go on and were looking back through history to determine if this woman really won the lottery twice, one of the participants may very well say "Well the chances of her winning it twice are one in 3.7 trillion so we can safely say she didn't win it twice" but he would be wrong...she did win it twice.

With all that said, of course I do believe in Creation and I reject evolution but not on the basis of improbability (rather on what I see as impossibility combined with utter lack of evidence) but that is a different discussion altogether.

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