Remember the earthquake in Japan? The one that led to a tsunami that caused problems with nuclear power plants?
Oh wait, that’s not quite over yet, is it?
I still remember what Glenn Beck had to say about the earthquake. It was just a little over a month ago circa March 15, 2011:
“I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes. Well — I’m not not saying that either. What God does is God’s business, I have no idea. But I’ll tell you this: whether you call it Gaia or whether you call it Jesus — there’s a message being sent. And that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”
I decided to try to think logically about the sneaky assertions in this statement. (I’ve already written about the snarkiness of phrasing crapola in the form of a question, unless one is playing Jeopardy.)
His little statement packs quite a wallop. I will try to break it down:
- There is a God
- God caused the earthquake
- The earthquake was a message
- The “messages” will continue until and unless we change our evil ways – the aforementioned “stuff we’re doing”
Remember, though, he presented most of this in the form of questions. We can stipulate he fervently believes the first one. Either that or he’s the best faker of all time, something decidedly not outside the realm of possibility.
The first assertion is one I ponder often. I tend to think of it in binary terms. It’s a true/false proposition. I believe it is something that is either true or false. To me, that seems fairly axiomatic.
One of my favorite lines of reasoning goes: “If there is no God then a lot of people are sure flaming assholes.” Mostly the ones who run around telling everyone else they are going to Hell, cashing in on religion, and stuff like that. On the other hand, there are a lot of devout and good people who truly believe, too. I can’t really find it in my heart to fault anyone for trying to live the best moral life they possibly can. Just as long as they aren’t flaming hypocrites about it, they’re fine with me.
No one can prove there is a God, nor can they prove there isn’t. Thus, I suggest we look at the probability of each possible outcome (true/false) as equally likely. (Personally, though, I’m certain there isn’t a God. But that’s just a belief.) So, in mathematical terms, the odds of each outcome is 50 percent. It’s just like flipping a coin.
Heads. There is a God. Tails. There is no God.
Let’s consider the next statement. God caused the earthquake. Again, I suggest we look at this as true/false, with each outcome equally likely. That means to get to Beck’s position that there is a God and God caused the earthquake we have to flip a coin and get heads twice in a row.
Next, we add another true/false condition for the earthquake being a message.
Lastly, we add on final true/false condition for the idea that the messages will continue unless we stop being evil. I assume this means stuff like fornication, homosexuality, etc. He’s a little vague about what “stuff” he’s talking about.
What we’re left with is a model a four true/false possibilities in a row. You can break down the odds of acheiving a particular chain of outcomes like this:
- 1 in 2
- 1 in 4
- 1 in 8
- 1 in 16
In other words, the odds of flipping a coin and getting heads four times in a row is 1 in 16.
This probability of this can be represented mathematically as: .5 x .5 x .5 x .5. That equals .0625 which is exactly what you get if you calculate 1 divided by 16.
If you look at it this way, there’s only a 6.25 percent chance this particular serpent’s statements are correct. In my book that’s what we call a long shot. Or maybe “snake oil” would be a better term.
This is my “T” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”