minutia press.
Occam's razor and choosing disciples

I was intrigued by the reasoning in this article, as to why the Catholic Church feels that its priest should be exclusively male. The argument is that since Jesus Christ picked men as his apostles that the Catholic priesthood should be comprised only of men.

Mathematically speaking, is gender the most probably property prevalent among the apostles?

Back in Jesus's time, and still true today, Jesus had two genders from which to choose: male and female. With two choices for each apostle, and assuming uncorrelated selection, we get 12 men with probability 2 to the 12th power, or 1 in 4096.

Back in Jesus' time, there were certainly more than two religious backgrounds from which to constitute apostles. At the very least, we had Jews, Islamists, and pagans; the choices were actually much larger, but this is all I need to make my point.

Thus, the probability of Jesus's apostles being all Jewish would be no greater than 1 in 3 to the 12th power, or 1 in 531,441.

In other words, the fact that the apostles were Jewish is a more selective criterion than was their gender.

And the next step is easy: if Jesus's criteria for choosing apostles is relevant to how the Catholic Church chooses priests, then they should be Jewish as well as male.


Maybe substitute Zoroastrianism for Islamism.

Posted by: anonymous at June 9, 2008 8:22 AM

Hilarious! I miss your wit . . .

Posted by: Dana at June 9, 2008 1:04 PM