# Mathematical Digest

### Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics

in the Popular Press

"God's Number is Up," by Michael Shermer. *Scientific American*, July 2004, page46.

In the *The Probability of God,* author Stephen D. Unwin uses Bayes'Theorem and his "Divine Indicator Scale" to calculate the probability of God'sexistence. Unwin begins his calculations with a naive estimate of 1/2 for theprobability, and comes up with a probability of 2/3 that God exists. MichaelShermer, whose column is called "The Skeptic," also starts with 1/2 and usesBayes' Theorem, but assigns different values to the parameters in Unwin'sDivine Indicator Scale. Shermer determines that the probability of God'sexistence is 1/50. Shermer regards the calculations as little more than an"entertaining exercise in thinking," and concludes that "the question of God'sexistence is a scientifically insoluble one."

*--- Mike Breen*