Category Archives: Theodicy

Will you choose the cake or the fruit?

  

Call it “choice” or call it “free will,” we struggle daily when trying to figure out why people do bad things. Most of us go through our day thinking we are in control of our own choices, and we assume that others are as well. We can’t even entertain the thought that perhaps some other force if affecting how we… Read more »

Wait for it…wait for it…

  

If you were a horse soldier in the Prussian Army in the late 1800s, you were obviously not at any risk of dying in an automobile accident, but there was a persistent, yet low-risk, problem with soldiers dying from being kicked by their horses. Polish/Russian statistician Ladislaus Bortkiewicz famously found that these “random” deaths did indeed form a pattern, in this… Read more »

Cancer, probability, normality and theodicy – part 4

  

Said no one at any funeral ever: “I figured out the probability for why he died.” [1] Part Two and Part Three of this series of posts looked why the statistics for cancer, automobile accidents and other unfortunate life events are often so rigidly probabilistic in narrow ranges in aggregate. In other words, we can often predict “How many?” down… Read more »

Remembering Lenore and George Romney

  

With Mitt Romney possibly returning to politics to run for U.S. Senator from Utah, and with his niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel as current Chair of the Republican National Committee (although she has now dropped the “Romney” at the President’s behest), I decided to engage in a little remembrance as a demonstration on how political positions can change 180 degrees, and… Read more »

You are a lottery winner!

  

In an earlier post I described why you are probably not a big lottery winner, but there is one case in which you already are one. The mathematical odds in favor of YOU being here to read this were incredibly low. Yet Poisson’s Law of Large Numbers presented in that earlier post, paired with an understanding of birth rates and… Read more »

Taraji P. Henson meets Gottfried Leibniz

  

The excellent 2016 film Hidden Figures starred Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer, and was based on the women “computers” (that is what they were called) who worked behind the scenes to calculate trajectories for the first U. S. manned rocket flights. What you were seeing written on the chalkboards in that film was mostly the mathematics of differential and… Read more »