Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?

“I’m tryin’ ta think… but nuttin’ happens!”

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Over at Dean’s World, guest blogger Kevin D. fails to pass Logic 101 in spectacular fashion.

We know that in 1780 there were 300,000 aborigines living in Australia. Scientists believe they’ve been there for some 60,000 years.

Do the numbers add up?

Throughout recorded human history population growth has been pretty much 1% worldwide. Let’s assume for the moment that 60, 000 years ago 20 people arrived on Australia and began to reproduce. Let’s give them a population growth rate of not 1% but 0.28%. What number do we end up with 60,000 years later with a 0.28% population growth? Let’s just say the aborigines would be more numerous than the number atoms in our galaxy.

So, what gives?

Now, leaving aside everything else — the math, the “we know” without citation, everything — what’s wrong with his setup?

Put it this way — how many humans, total, were around 60,000 years ago? More than twenty, right? A lot more than twenty, in fact. And the population growth throughout recorded human history has been “pretty much 1% worldwide”, according to him. So the same problem he posits for the aboriginal population applies, in exponentially greater degree, to the entire population of the planet.

Which, in case you need it spelled out for you, means that he is proceeding from a seriously fu— uh, flawed premise.

(To his credit, Dean immediately questions Kevin, though he misses this rather obvious point.)

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Written by [IMH]

5 December 2006 at 9:04 am

Posted in Blogosphere

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