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Never Tell Me The Odds

Christian apologists really have no understanding of statistics. They are always making claims like, “The chance of the Earth being in just the right spot for life as we know it to exist are…” Unless that number is 100% they are wrong.

John Allen Paulos has a great book on this called, Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up. In it, he talks about how the odds change after the fact. After you win the lottery, the odds of you winning the lottery go up quite considerably.

But Christians use this trick all the time. They are making claims and assigning probability to them that just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes they will leave out key pieces of data to make the statistic look more ridiculous too. For example, they will say things like, “The odds of humans evolving from a single celled organism are…” They might even use some sort of analogy like, “It would be like a plane randomly coming together.” Here they leave out the process of natural selection which changes those odds and invalidates their analogy.

Christians like to confuse people with numbers and odds. They know that most people aren’t good with numbers and if they word the math problem in such a way, people will be fooled. But we can play that game too. If you look at all the possible gods that could exist, the odds for the existence of their god in particular is pretty low. Not as low as some of the claims they make about other things mind you, but still pretty low.

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