Saturday, June 27, 2009

The God of Probabilities: How voting fraud in Iran demonstrates the existence of God

Is the title of this piece a jest? Am I kidding? What possible relationship could there be between voting fraud and the issue of God’s existence. Well there is, at least metaphorically; but it will take some explanation. Bear with me. You may actually find a pay-off here.

When I was but seven years old, I began catechism class in the Catholic Church. Once a week we were “released” two hours early from public school so that we could go to our local churches for religious instructions. As I recall, the very first lesson we learned from our blue-covered Baltimore Catechism was that we could never understand God because he was immortal, had always existed and his ways were beyond human comprehension. Having taught me at age seven that God was incomprehensible, the Church has spent the last 65 years explaining God to me. I think there’s a incongruity there.

I transferred from public school to Catholic school for grammar school and high school. I won a gold medal for science and although I didn’t pursue science as a career, it has always been an interest of mine. So to has been my religion for which I also won a gold medal.

It is a fact of history that science and religion have been at best uneasy intellectual partners in the quest for meaning of the human condition. Many things that were thought to be divine and supernatural in earlier times have yielded to scientific explanation. The supernatural became the natural. Early gods included fire, wind, the oceans, volcanoes, star, planets, comets, the moon, and the sun, among other phenomena we now explain blithely in scientific terms.

Twenty or so years ago, I suffered a mild crisis of faith. I had been become familiar with a smattering of chaos theory and quantum analysis. I was startled to learn that atoms were not like miniature solar systems. The popular conception was a nucleus of protons and neutrons around which electrons orbited. Rather, this basic structure of all matter was chaotic and the location of “particle” of it unknowable at any given moment. It seemed that all of existence, at its most basic level was governed by the “Law of Probability.”

That’s a tough thing for a person of religious bent to digest. Is all of existence merely the result of a cosmic coin flips? But then another thought took hold. If there is a “Law” of “Probability” whose law is it? Why should the chaos of quantum existence ever be ordered by anything?

Concurrent with the scientific thought that all existence was chaos ordered only by the Law of Probability, has been scientific investigations into the issue of human consciousness and, as is claimed by some, the interaction of human consciousness with a greater consciousness which some claim to have observed. Piere Teilhard Chardin and others have discerned a “noosphere” of intertwined human consciousness that has evolved from interactions that lower level of consciousness are incapable of joining. Freud’s heretical protégé, Carl Jung, postulated a “collective unconsciousness” which might be better described as collective consciousness.

Ironically, perhaps, scientific experiments designed to explore the issue of collective consciousness rely primarily on the applications of the law of probability. Among the most accessible is that of The Global Consciousness Project: Meaningful Correlations in Random Data whose work is explained at

The purpose of the project is “”to examine subtle correlations that may reflect the presence and activity of consciousness in the world.” It’s principal activity is to “collect data continuously from a global network of physical random number generators located in 65 host sites around the world.” The issue is whether major events that effect the psyche or consciousness of large masses of people distort the results of the random number generators into more than standard deviations from the norm. In sum, the scientist involved in this project believe they do, and their data demonstrates they do.

There are a number of other projects of a similar vein described by journalist Lynn McTaggart in The Field, (Harpers, New York Updated Edition 2008). Among the experiments she describes are coordinated remote prayer. The Field has an extensive bibliography if you are interested. The results reported by Ms. McTaggert all show consciousness interactions that distort results beyond those expected from standard deviations of the law of probabilities.

So how does election fraud in Iran relate to the issue of God’s existence?

On June 20, 2009, the Washington Post, published a study by Bernd Beber and Alexandra Scacco, Ph.D. candidates in political science at Columbia University. They analyzed the results of the Iranian elections. Their thesis was that given the length of the numbers reported in the results, that the last digits, irrespective of their original authenticity, should have reflected the law probabilities. In sum, there are ten digits, 0 to 9, and in the absence of consciousness intervention by humans attempting to jiggle the results, there ten digits should have been distributed relative evenly in the last column (i.e. each digit approximately 10% of the time). This was of course subject to standard deviations which depend on the size of the sample and in this case the length of the numbers preceding the last digit.

The point of the authors was that the variations were not in accord with the law of probabilities and well beyond standard deviations. They also used a second neutral analysis (the number of non-adjacent digits in the last two columns). That also exceeded standard deviations.

Their conclusion was that the probabilities of the election results not being manipulated was one in two hundred. By applying the law of probabilities we learn that there has been conscious intervention. This is not the same thing as the Global Consciousness Project, but it is at least a metaphor about the interplay of probabilities and consciousness on a cosmic level. But then, even St. Augustine recognized the Genesis was not history but a metaphor for deeper truths - truths that have now been overtaken by science in the “Big Bang” theory and evolution.

So existence is governed by the law of probability, but deviations from law are evidence, at least in some cases, for conscious intervention. In Iran, the conscious intervention was by the operatives of a corrupt regime engineering a fraudulent election. But, in the chaos of quantum existence, the evidence of conscious intervention leads ultimately to a consciousness beyond just humanity, beyond just this universe, but inclusive of all the infinite number of universes that may exist.

All hail the God of Probabilities who creates the law and then lights the way to move beyond it. I believe that way is love. But that’s another story. See