142 (2012 January) to 148 (2013 January)
THE RAPTURE A NON-EVENT
In #139 John H Williams reported: "Saturday 21/5/2011 brought no
rapturous joy to fundamentalists…" (p31)
The Harold Camping ministry had predicted May 21 for the "rapture" when
all good Christians get whisked off this planet by the angels, leaving
everyone else behind to suffer "the great tribulation".
Harold Camping supporters handed out pamphlets all over America and
When events proved Camping wrong he set a new date — October 21.
Williams was unconvinced: “If only those who were taken in about being
taken up could have somehow developed a modicum of scepticism. Some
will go through it all again on October 22nd."
Camping was again wrong, and Williams again correct.
Investigator readers were introduced to Bayes’ Theorem in #133
in connection with calculating the probability that miracles have
A book about the Theorem was published in 2011 titled The Theory That Would Not Die
(Sharon Bertsch McGrayne, Yale University Press).
A review of the book in The Weekend
Australian Magazine states that Bayes’ Rule is: "the one-line
theorem that says by updating initial beliefs with objective new
information, a new and improved belief emerges. It makes such intuitive
sense it’s hard to imagine that … statisticians dismissed the rule as
subjective rubbish for 150 years… The rule works everywhere
probabilistic reasoning is important, from decoding DNA to filtering
spam." (November 26-27, 2011, p. 25)
A more formal explanation appears in A
Dictionary of Philosophy (1979):
The theorem published
posthumously in 1763 by Thomas Bayes (1702-61), giving an expression
for the probability of a hypothesis, h, if some evidence, e, is added
to antecedent knowledge, a. The theorem states that the probability of
h relative to e & a is equal to the probability of h relative to a
multiplied by the probability of e relative to h & a, and divided
by the probability of e relative to a. This means that evidence
improbable antecedently, but likely to obtain if the hypothesis is
true, raises the probability of a hypothesis most. The application of
the theorem can be controversial, since it is often unclear how
assignments of antecedent probabilities are justified. (p. 36)
GREAT WALL FROM SPACE
The claim is still heard that the Great Wall of China is visible from
Space. Last century it was even sometimes claimed that the Great Wall
is the only man-made structure visible to the naked eye from the Moon.
New Scientist, however,
reports that most of the Great Wall is only 3 metres wide and "the
naked eye can only spot a 10-square-metre object up to 36 kilometres
away." (2012, March 17, p16) Google satellite pictures of Earth’s
surface confirm that from a great height the Great Wall cannot be seen.
Therefore if you want see the Great Wall don't go to Space, go to China.
CHRISTIANITY — THE TOP TEN
Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey, author of 37 books, has now
written A Short History of
Christianity (2011). A report about Blainey and his latest book
in The Weekend Australian
(2011 October 29-30) included a list of the “Top Ten Christian
The Top Ten of Everything 2006
(2005) by Russell Ash has a similar list of “Top 10 Largest Christian
Here are the two lists with Christian-population estimates to the
|The Top Ten
||Dem. Rep. Congo
|Dem. Rep. Congo