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STAT 110 Professor Joe Blitzstein Uses “Symmetry” to Prove Existence of God

Joe Blitzstein
Blitzstein himself read the Bible at 1.6x speed.

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Harvard Professor Joe Blitzstein has shocked the world with what has been described as the “most elegant proof for the existence of God in human history.”

Famous among students for his friendly demeanor, for his tremendous appetite for chickens and eggs, and for having a particular bone to pick with city bus schedules, Blitzstein explained his proof of God’s existence at a press conference earlier this month. And after watching it online two weeks later, Satire V's staff has prepared a transcript of Blitzstein’s remarks (read at 1.6x speed):

“Well, I was taking the bus from Blissville to Blotchville, which of course arrives as a Poisson process at a rate of λ buses per minute, when suddenly it hit me: Isn’t the Bible just the greatest story proof of all time?”

[Editor’s Note: An interesting but highly irrelevant anecdote that took up the next 20 minutes of this press conference has been edited out for clarity.]

"OK, so God simply must exist! If He did not, that would be a category error, which -- I’ve been teaching this class for 10 years and students still keep making these category errors, how do they not see it after all these years? – would get you an automatic 0. Hopefully after going through the thousands of problems, hints, semi-hints, purposefully misleading hints, half-way-there-to-solution hints, and solutions that I've prepared for you, I won't be seeing this mistake on the final.

“Well, we all know that conditioning is the soul of statistics. But by the Universality of the Uniform, it follows that statistics is the soul itself, universal in its reach and uniform in its presence in each of us. This gives us a named distribution we’ve already studied, the Exponential, which by the Count-Time Duality is simply a Poisson process. Thus, the existence of God can, like every problem in STAT 110, simply be reduced to the story of the chicken-egg.

“And now, if you really think about it, we’re already done. We know that the probability of arranging the letters D, G, O into ‘GOD’ is equivalent to the probability of arranging them as ‘DOG’. By symmetry, we thus have that P(DOG) = P(GOD). And since dogs exist, we thus know that P(GOD) = P(DOG) = 1, thereby proving the existence of God.

“Alright, let’s take a five-minute break, then we’ll continue.”

[Five minutes later.]

"OK. Another easy way to see this is to recognize that Adam’s and Eve’s Laws are Genesis. We can use wishful thinking – I wish I knew whether God exists – and then just apply the law of total probability to see that God must exist. It’s a simple triple integral. I won’t solve it even though I’ve been building towards this proof for the last 45 minutes of lecture -- you should do it yourself; it’s good practice with LOTUS. That’s it for today. Thanks.”

Blitzstein, who received his B.S. in Mathematics from CalTech and earned a Ph.D. from Stanford for his work in “Changing Nouns but Keeping Verbs the Same,” received the Harvard Statistics department’s annual “Best Moment Generated” award for his achievement.

© 2017