Has the Doomsday Argument been refuted?

Randomness seems to confound us. For example, we have a tendency to infer non-randomness from apparent patterns in random events (witness the incorrigible optimists who spot trends in the spins of a roulette wheel or the ups and downs of the FT Share Index); at the same time, the history of statistics suggests that, when random samples are required, we often mistake the merely haphazard – or whatever happens to be near at hand – for the truly random. As I will show, the Doomsday Argument’s fundamental mistake is to rely on the intuitive but misguided notion that we can in general take ourselves to be typical humans, and thus, in effect, random samples of the species.

Here is the paper.  If you are familiar with the core argument, scroll down to p.9 "We are necessarily alive…" for the beginning of the bottom line.  I have never been persuaded by the Doomsday Argument, if only because it does not specify the appropriate reference class of self-observing agents.  I now see further reason to be skeptical.  Comments are open, and thanks again to the what-would-I-do-without-it www.politicaltheory.info for the pointer.


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