Joseph Beres
Posts: 7 Joined: Feb. 2006

Beervolcano:
I did catch his comment about 1/10^150 being "almost infinitely smaller" than 1/10^3. Funny stuff. I guess Engineers have a different definition of infinity than mathematicians.
There are a couple more laughs in the same article: Davescot starts with "Suppose there is a state lottery and each month for 12 consecutive months 10 million tickets are sold and one winning ticket is drawn at random." Then later says "The odds of any particular set of 12 people winning the lottery are 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000." Actually, if each person buys only one ticket (this seems be be what he's implying) then the probability of any particular set of 12 people winning is (1/10,000,000)^12 = 1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000. His main point (assuming he has one) is that the chances of 12 family members, none of whom buy more than one ticket, winning all 12 monthly drawings is remote under the given requirements (duh). So if we assume that only 12 members of the family are playing the lottery, and each family member stops playing after they win (I'm being generous) then I get odds of 1 in 12!/10,000,000^12 which is approximately 4.79*10^76 which is well below the "universal probability bound" of 1*10^150 (if I've made any mistakes feel free to point them out). The point that Davescot and other ID'ers miss is that examples like his have nothing to do with biological systems (as Beervolcano already pointed out). Artificiality is decided on a casebycase basis, frequently by nothing more than common sense and/or experience with the understanding that in all but obvious cases we could be wrong (pulsars were thought to possibly be signals from extraterrestrials when they were first detected). There is no calculation that will show that Mt. Rushmore is artificial, or that the first 100 prime numbers, in sequence, detected from space are evidence of intelligence (not that SETI even looks for such things) and there never will be. Yet I have no difficulty in identifing Mt. Rushmore as artificial.
Just my two cents...
