Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Random Selection

I read an interesting article in our local newspaper yesterday.  Coming from Associated Press, the title of the article was "Picking Perfect Bracket a Tough Numbers Game".  This is March Madness, when the NCAA basketball tournament dominates the news media for three weeks.This article quotes a math professor as pointing out that leaving some things to chance or random selection introduces incredible odds.

For instance, the article says, "If you were to stack the amount of paper it would take to fill in every bracket with every possibility among the 68 teams who will play 67 games over the next three weeks, it would not fit inside the universe.

"So says Michael Weimerskirch, a math professor at Augsburg College...But there's this small glimmer of hope.  Weimerskirch says you could simply start flipping coins.  The odds of finding perfection that way--by flipping a coin to pick the winner of every game:  1-in-100,000,000,000,000,000,000.  For those keeping score at home, that is 1-in-100 million trillion.

"Or, to put it another way:  You're just as likely to win Powerball three consecutive times as you are to picking a perfect bracket by flipping a coin."

Let me get this straight.  With 68 possibilities to start out with, the chance of ending up with the correct outcome by random selection is astronomically remote.  I would say impossible would be a realistic description of the chances.  It would not happen.

Yet, there are supposedly rational people out there who claim that the universe, the solar system, the biosphere, life, order, the miracle of conception and development and birth, and the emotion of human experience all came about by random selection.  That is a lot more than 68 elements from which the desired outcome is to be created.  So the real choices would be much, much slimmer than one in 100 million trillion.  Perhaps, as one wag put it, there really is more chance of a Boeing 747 coming out of an explosion in a junk yard, or all the dictionaries of every language coming from an explosion at a printing factory, than that this marvelous life we are living is the result of random selection.  Truly, the universe speaks of the handiwork of God.

Reason and plain old truth demand that we tell it like it really is.  The responsibility rests on those who don't want to give credit to some mysterious being out there in the ethersphere.  When God is not allowed to be part of the picture, then some other explanation must be devised.  Whatever explanation one comes up with, random selection is the most IRRATIONAL explanation possible.  Think about it.


  1. Ken, you've got a sharp mind and a great twist for expression. . .count me in as a steady visitor and I love the pictures. Gaye is always wonderful to see by your side. . .you get amazingly better looking with her there! lol
    Your friend and Rook partner, Doug

  2. Good job getting started Dad! Can't wait to read your thoughts!

  3. Dad, it's so nice to see your thoughts in words. I plan to read your blog regularly. Your photo in NY is awesome.

  4. I like this one. Those are pretty vivid statistics that show how crazy reason is (alone) for understanding our existence.