# Markov chains origins and how is Christianity involved

In a book called Advanced Data Analysis from an Elementary Point of View by Cosma Rohilla Shalizi, page 405, the first instance of "Markov process" is accompanied by a footnote which reads

After the Russian mathematician A. A. Markov, who introduced the theory of Markov processes in the course of a mathematical dispute with his arch-nemesis, to show that probability and statistics could apply to dependent events, and hence that Christianity was not necessarily true (I am not making this up: Basharin et al., 2004).

I found it curious, how could religion have anything to do with the fact that the law of large numbers can be extended to non iid variables (because that is what Nekrasov, Markov's "arch-nemesis", was wrong about, and that argument is at the origin of the chains. They are a counterexample of Nekrasov false claim that independence is necessary for a law of large numbers). But I did not find the answer is the references math/history paper by Basharin et al.

Why would the following be true:

[Law of large numbers holds $$\implies$$ independence] $$\implies$$ Christianity is true

And what do they mean by Christianity being true or not?

• Good question. If you can read Russian, the answer is here. Or, just use Google Translate. Commented Jul 25, 2021 at 17:09
• Just guessing: I suspect that the argument might go something like: We can observe the Law of Large Numbers applying in reality, and we know that requires independence, so that demonstrates that individuals independently make choices such as between good and evil, including whether to accept and work with God's grace as taught by the Orthodox Church in contrast to other ideas such as Calvinism's irresistible grace or some atheists' philosophy of mechanism.
– Henry
Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 1:42
• Should this perhaps go on HSM instead? Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 4:58
• It makes no sense to estimate probabilities for events that are completely outside of our scope , like "does god exist ?" We have not the slightest clue whether anything about the religion ideas human have has any basis.
– Peter
Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 14:59
• @Peter, my own estimate is that it's about 7% likely that "god exists". Also, whatever particular pattern of coin-flips one produces is very unlikely. "Ah, probability!" :) Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 0:45