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Jos Gibbons's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Jos Gibbons

On the 6.9 recurring issue, in non-standard analysis (of which I think even many mathematicians haven't heard) you can have a quantity infinitesimally less than 7 that can be thought of as 6.9 recurring in the sense it exceeds anything with finitely many 9s after the 6. This is the same form of analysis that can distinguish between infinitely improbable and impossible events by only assigning the latter a probability of zero. However, since this uses non-standard analysis and not, say, the theory of real numbers, I can see why it seems such an awkward choice of phrase. But remember that no infinitely improbable theism could be represented with a real number under 7. Of course, this raises the question, does Professor Dawkins (or the man that he spoke to) think the probability of a god existing is a real number > 0 (i.e. "it's 10 the minus a lot") or an infinitely small quantity that can be distinguished from 0 only if we introduce non-real values?

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 22:22:40 UTC | #922231