However, I use the line as the connector to Paul's recent post.
Paul has been discussing both statistics (shocker) and 'the zone'. I have one brief comment about the latter, and that is to say that the question of the 'the zone' really should be dissociated from questions of statistics and statistically anomolies. There is the question of 'being hot' or 'being due' that can be sorted out through statistics, but being 'in the zone' should not be reduced to being 'on a streak'. 'The zone' ought to refer not just to doing 'better than the odds' would predict beforehand, but to a mental and physical state as well. It's a state in which one is not only excelling in one's performance, but one knows that one will excel, and one also has the sense that this success is coming from...somewhere else.
But what I really wanted to get at was Paul's conclusion, where he asks the question to my answer:
So what is it about things that, while they have in fact occurred, somehow seem unlikely to have occurred? It's the only thing that's keeping the Creationists going at this point, for instance. It seems to point to a hole in our model of history, of how events transpire, of how we got from there to here.It does point to a hole in our model of history. Or, put otherwise, it reveals the progressivism and linearity that underlies that model. We both demand and presume a sort of linear causality in which all events are explained by their source causes. The question 'what are the odds of that' - the question Paul hammers on so relentlessly - implies that most of the time 'the odds of that' should not be unreasonable, that any event should have a simple, causal explanation. But that's not how history works; it's not how time works; it's not how the world works. We only get those sorts of explanations post hoc. The process of history itself, as its going on, is filled with randomness. It's our resistance to that randmoness that makes 'intelligent design' sound like something other than a sham to many Americans (according to my students, it still sounds only like a sham to the Brits).