In Money Matters, at Australia’s news.com, we learn that “Lottery numbers the same in consecutive draws in Bulgaria” (correspondents in Sofia, Agence France-Presse, September 16, 2009)
Here are the bullet points, and you can read the rest yourself.
- The numbers 4, 15, 23, 24, 35, and 42 were drawn two weeks in a row / File
- Same numbers picked in consecutive draws
- Review of the national lottery is ordered
- Probability is 4.2 million to one
Hmmmm. If these charges are true, I’m glad I am not in charge of that investigation. I would hardly want to hear all the lies people would probably try to tell me. Our Ontario premier, faced with a similar situation, fired the chair and the whole board of the lottery corporation and decided to start fixing the problem from scratch. I would recommend looking for statisticians and tough cops, not just anyone with the “power from behind” to sit through an endless board meeting.*
But here’s the question that this and other questionable lottery stories leave me with: The intelligent design theorists emphasize probability issues. Their chief knock against Darwinism is that it appears improbable. In the same way, an accidental origin of the fine-tuned values of our universe appears improbable. If I understand the matter correctly, the universe is assumed to be over 13 billion years old, or so, and Earth over 4 billion years old. (I assume these values for convenience as I believe them to be generally accepted.) So we can assume a basis for computing probability.
So, for a free copy of the Privileged Planet DVD, which addresses the fine tuning of the universe:
Uncommon Descent Contest Question 12: Can Darwinism beat the odds. If not, why not? If so, how?
You might want to look at Bill Dembski’s No Free Lunch.
(Note: Thanks to Ilion Troas for alerting me to this story.)
*One alternative: Don’t have a lottery at all. Lotteries attract vast moral hazard and corruption because they look like free money. I never supported the idea and don’t buy tickets, and think that worthy causes should be funded in the usual ways, through taxes, donations, memberships, sponsorships, premiums, etc. But this mini-editorial is unrelated to the point of the contest question.