Infinite Monkey Theorem: How Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa Made It Into The New York Times Discovered
Pull up a seat and let me tell you a little bit about a former
Joaquin Valley neighbor of mine, once an illegal alien but
now a prominent Johns Hopkins School of Medicine neurosurgeon
MainStream Media darling.
our Brenda Walker already introduced you to Dr.
Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, who is also an
oncology professor, the director of the hospital`s neurosurgery
clinic director, and research head at its brain tumor lab.
Where Quiñones-Hinojosa`s finds himself today is a long way from
his earlier life as a
vendor and a fish/sulfur lard loader—whatever that may be. [A
Surgeon`s Path from Migrant Fields to Operating Room, by
Claudia Dreifus, New York Times, May 13, 2008]
I`m curious about Dr. Q—as he is so lovingly referred to by the
New York Times, CBS, etc— for other than the
obvious reason that he`s an alien success story and therefore
the subject of endless media fawning.
As it happens, Quiñones and I arrived in
at virtually the same time—but under dramatically different
spoke no English, it`s possible that he was a pupil in one
of my classes. I had hundreds of
farm worker students, especially during the years when
Reagan`s infamous amnesty was pending and one of the
program`s conditions mandated 40 hours of language instruction.
But Quiñones claims that he learned English at
San Joaquin Delta College
where he paid his own way.
You may find it remarkable that a non-English speaking alien
no high school diploma can enroll in a community college.
But, alas, because of
various taxpayer-funded programs tailored to that specific
demographic, it is not only possible but also easily and
As for “paying his own way,” that too is possible…but
highly unlikely. Why pay your own freight—especially if you`re
earning next to nothing picking vegetables— when so many grants,
assorted perks are available?
I`ve known many kids who attended
Americans shell-out the token per credit minimum fee; the rest
pay even less, if anything at all.
Anyway…I`m mulling over
entire former student body to see if I can identify one who
may have risen to the same professional ranks as the adored Dr.
I calculate that during my twenty-two year adult ESL career, I
may have had as many as 20,000 students.
That`s an astonishing number, I agree. But for years, I taught
as many as three daily sections—morning, afternoon and evening.
Some of the classes, held with the assistance of teaching aides,
had more than
100 in attendance.
And—importantly when considering my aggregate two-decade plus
total—many of the students stayed only a day or two, then moved
on to be replaced by
another transient. So an average daily enrollment might be
35 students but most of those 35 turned over every week. The
students I had in the class at the end of the week were not the
same as those at the week`s beginning.
The exceptional student was the one who enrolled on the
semester`s first day and remained until the year`s end.
I can recall only a handful who fit that profile.
And, not surprisingly, I can`t think of a single one who might
have had the makings of a brain surgeon.
In fact, the typical student was a 30ish woman, with
a few kids, who today is probably out there somewhere in
California barely getting by with either direct (welfare) or
indirect public assistance (K-12 education for
her children and
medical care for herself and her family.)
In the 21-years since Quiñones arrived illegally in
aliens (using the conservative estimate of 300,000 annually)
have followed him into the state. One—and only one—of six
million illegal aliens then (0.000000000166667) has become a
If you really want to go crazy with the calculations, you can
further assume that since Quiñones 1987
fence jumping, more than 14 million additional aliens have
come to the other 49 states. Or, going back even further, 40
million aliens since the
Immigration Act with still only the one brain surgeon to
show for it.
How then does it happen that the
Times found Dr. Q, a needle in the multimillion alien
haystack if ever there was one?
The answer is simple: the
infinite monkey theorem.
According to the IMT, if a random group of chimpanzees sit at a
typewriter to type all day for an infinite amount of time, one
of them will “almost surely” eventually type the complete
word for word text, in order, of
The chance of it actually occurring during a span of time of the
order of the
age of the universe is
minuscule. But not zero—just like discovering brain
surgeons among a pool of aliens.
IMT is not some screwball concept either. It has a
Stay with me here.
If two events are
statistically independent, (i.e. neither affects the outcome
of the other), then the
probability of both happening equals the product of the
probabilities of each one happening independently.
An example used by statisticians is that if the chance of rain
chance of an earthquake in
on that exact day is 0.008, then the chance of both happening on
that same day is 0.3 × 0.008 = 0.0024.
Instead of King Lear, let`s assign the more reasonable
goal for our monkeys: to type
typewriter has 50 keys. Typing at random, the chance that
the first letter typed is b is 1/50, and the chance that
the second letter typed is a is also 1/50, and so on,
because events are independent. So the chance of the first six
letters matching banana is
(1/50) × (1/50) × (1/50) × (1/50) × (1/50) × (1/50) = (1/50)6.
The same applies to Quiñones relationship
to illegal immigration`s merits. Although the
New York Times
wants its readers to conclude that more aliens
means more brain surgeons, statistically the two are linked only
A much more revealing figure would be the correlation between
illegal immigration and the aggregate incidents of drug
drunk driving fatalities,
identity theft, etc that have occurred since their arrival.
The resulting ratio of those negatives as measured per 40
million aliens to the positive of brain surgeons graduated (one)
makes the VDARE.COM argument
overwhelmingly —that illegal immigration is
devastatingly bad for America.
You don`t have to be an ace at math to draw that conclusion.
But apparently it`s beyond the
editors of the New York
him] is a California native
who recently fled the state because of over-immigration,
over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He
has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the
growth rate stable. A
long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the