NM fails to see what the fuss is all about:
I do not see anything wrong with the argument that Richard Dawkins has used as described in your article:
“If there are a billion billion planets and a one-in-a-billion chance of life spontaneously arising on a planet, then life must exist on a billion planets throughout the universe.”
I will only recommend adding the phrase “with high probability” at the end. It is not enough to say that the argument is wrong. You have to point out the fallacy in the argument.
This email just SCREAMS social autism. First, that’s not the argument, it’s part of the setup for the actual argument. Second, I wasn’t criticizing Dawkins for being incorrect, I was mocking him for getting so excited about pointing out the TOTALLY FREAKING OBVIOUS. This would probably have been more clear if I’d quoted the entire paragraph from TIA:
Schützenberger’s contempt for Dawkins’s mathematical abilities is well-founded, as it’s generally not considered to be a good idea to adopt a casual approach to mathematical probability, as Dawkins does with the “one in a billion” chance of something like DNA spontaneously arising which he invents ex nihilo, before reaching the shocking statistical conclusion that if there are a billion billion planets and a one in a billion chance of life spontaneously arising on a planet, then life must exist on a billion planets throughout the universe!
Dawkins is genuinely surprised by his astonishing discovery of mathematical division, so much so that he repeats it twice. Did you know that if there are four fours* of books and a one in four chance of a book being written by a New Atheist, then there must be four New Atheist books? Sweet St. Darwin of the Galapagos, is this really what passes for a public intellectual today?
* Or sixteen, as we non-dysnumeric individuals usually describe it.