Small chance equals Impossible?

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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Small chance equals Impossible?

#1

Post by BGoodForGoodSake » Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:22 am

Many have proposed that a small chance of something occuring is the same as stating that the event occuring is impossible.

Lets demonstrate this.

I have a deck of the 101 dalmations. Now I shuffle this deck and lay out the cards one by one. What are the chances that the specific order of the cards will be dealt?

Well thats simply 101!
or
1 out of 9,425,947,759,838,359,420,851,623,124,482,936,749,562,312,794, 702,543,768,327,889,353,416,977,599,316,221,476,503,087,861, 591,808,346,911,623,490,003,549,599,583,369,706,302,603,264, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Or 1 out of 9*10^159

Every time I do this it's the same probability yet everytime I do this it does occur!

So in short small odds does not equate to impossibility.

Now the confusion may come from mathematicians making comparisons.
Let us suppose that there is only one red card in this deck.
The odds of the deal beginning with this red dalmation is small compared to this not occuring. In this case it is almost impossible that this will occur in comparison to the other possibility.

But as seen from the first example it is not impossible.
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#2

Post by IRQ Conflict » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:21 am

Ok, now put the deck down, what are the odds (without touching the cards) that will repeat itself?
Last edited by IRQ Conflict on Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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#3

Post by BGoodForGoodSake » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:25 am

IRQ Conflict wrote:Ok, now put the deck down, what are the odds (without touching the cards) that will repeat itself?
Your comparing life to an inanimate deck of cards?

Look at cell division for yourself, It appears to reproduce on it's own without any aid from an outside source.

So to keep the analogy accurate we'll shuffle the deck of cards and deal again.

Do you have a problem with this?
It is not length of life, but depth of life. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#4

Post by IRQ Conflict » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:29 am

You see, It isn't just the one small chance, but the cumulitave billions of 'small chances' that make the universe as we know it to be so improbable that we consider it quite impossible.
Look at cell division for yourself, It appears to reproduce on it's own without any aid from an outside source.
So, no information (reduction in entropy) dictating cell division /copying? is that it? I'm just asking as I don't know.
Last edited by IRQ Conflict on Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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#5

Post by BGoodForGoodSake » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:33 am

IRQ Conflict wrote:You see, It isn't just the one small chance, but the cumulitave billions of 'small chances' that make the universe as we know it to be so improbable that we consider it quite impossible.
I just can't put it any more simply.

lol

Beleive what you want to, but from my point of view you are misusing mathematical terms.
=)
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#6

Post by IRQ Conflict » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:37 am

I just can't put it any more simply.
Thats the problem. It really isn't that simple.
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#7

Post by IRQ Conflict » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:41 am

It's surprising what one finds on the internet these days
Chemical evolution, based on random activity of molecules, fails to adequately account for the origin of the proteins required for even the simplest known free-living organism, Mycoplasma genitalium. This bacteria has one chromosome, a cell membrane, but lacks a cell wall and has the smallest genome of any known self-replicating organism. It has 470 genes, which contain an average of 1,040 nucleotide base pairs (bp). This implies that the average size protein coded for by these genes contains about 347 amino acids. The probability of forming, by a random assembly method, one such average-size protein molecule containing the amino acid residues in a required sequence is only 1/10 451.
Last edited by IRQ Conflict on Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#8

Post by BGoodForGoodSake » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:47 am

IRQ Conflict wrote:
I just can't put it any more simply.
Thats the problem. It really isn't that simple.
You beleive that because there are so many variables that the chances of somthing occuring are close to nil.
So in order for this to make sence there must be some greater force.
And in order to support this you point to the small chance of something occuring.

Am I correct?

But the question is, is this because of your beleifs or because there is an intrinsic truth to your original assertion? Does a small chance mean something is impossible? Does it require a divine intervention for it to occur?

The truth is that no matter how small the chances that it is still a possibility.

Does this rule out divine intervention? No it does not, but neither does it prove it.

Your analysis is a classic example of circular reasoning.
B because of A.
And A because of B.
It is not length of life, but depth of life. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#9

Post by IRQ Conflict » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:52 am

With a problem this great in forming one gene, imagine the problem of forming the 470 specific genes found in the one chromosome containing 580,070 bp: M. genitalium. Michael Behe, in his 1996 book Darwin's Black Box, uses the term “irreducible complexity” to refer to such situations where all conditions must be met simultaneously in order for the organism to survive.
Does this rule out divine intervention? No it does not, but neither does it prove it.
Believe what you will. But a word of advice, stay away from Vegas ;)
Hellfire

1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
1Ti 6:21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain

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#10

Post by BGoodForGoodSake » Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:06 pm

IRQ Conflict wrote:
With a problem this great in forming one gene, imagine the problem of forming the 470 specific genes found in the one chromosome containing 580,070 bp: M. genitalium. Michael Behe, in his 1996 book Darwin's Black Box, uses the term “irreducible complexity” to refer to such situations where all conditions must be met simultaneously in order for the organism to survive.
Does this rule out divine intervention? No it does not, but neither does it prove it.
Believe what you will. But a word of advice, stay away from Vegas ;)
The problem with this type of analysis it that it assumes function came before form.

As you can see, probability is a mathematical construct not a scientific tool to reach a physical poroof.
It is not length of life, but depth of life. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#11

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:18 pm

BGood,

I must be missing you somewhere. When you said, "Every time I do this it's the same probability yet everytime I do this it does occur!", did you mean that every time you deal out the cards that chance is fulfilled? If so, you are really off base here. The chance that the cards will come up in any possible order is 1:1. However, if I give you a predetermined order, THEN the chances of meeting that particular order, randomly, are as you put it.

So, let's bring your analogy over. Suppose you have a gun to your head. You have a deck in front of you. If a predetermined order is not laid out by simply dealing the cards, with only one try, the gun goes off. Result: you die.

Of course, is it IMPOSSIBLE that you will deal the predetermined order? No, but the chances are so small it is practically zero. You would do well to take almost any other survival options rather than this one.

But, suppose you did lay out the cards and it met the order that is determined was necessary. Probably, we could assume that the deck was somehow set, either by you or someone else!

Suppose, for example, you and I make a bet. I'm going to roll a six sided dice. If I roll anything except a 5, I owe you ten dollars. If I do, you owe me ten. Now, I roll, and sure enough, I roll a five. Hey, ten bucks for me. We roll again. Ten more bucks for me. And again, ten more bucks for me. I continue to do this until I have rolled ten fives in a row! You owe me 100 bucks. If you are smart, you are going to want to see the dice. I agree, and you roll it . . . another 5! And again, another 5!

What is the obvious answer? The dice was rigged. But is it IMPOSSIBLE tha we roll 12 5's in a row? No, of course it isn't, but design is evident. The practical chances are, in fact, zero.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#12

Post by BGoodForGoodSake » Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:32 pm

Jac3510 wrote:BGood,

I must be missing you somewhere. When you said, "Every time I do this it's the same probability yet everytime I do this it does occur!", did you mean that every time you deal out the cards that chance is fulfilled? If so, you are really off base here. The chance that the cards will come up in any possible order is 1:1. However, if I give you a predetermined order, THEN the chances of meeting that particular order, randomly, are as you put it.
I am talking about the chance of it being in that particular order of course.
Jac3510 wrote:So, let's bring your analogy over. Suppose you have a gun to your head. You have a deck in front of you. If a predetermined order is not laid out by simply dealing the cards, with only one try, the gun goes off. Result: you die.
There is only one chance here.
Jac3510 wrote:Of course, is it IMPOSSIBLE that you will deal the predetermined order? No, but the chances are so small it is practically zero. You would do well to take almost any other survival options rather than this one.
Not a good analogy at all, a better example would be a lottery.
Jac3510 wrote:But, suppose you did lay out the cards and it met the order that is determined was necessary. Probably, we could assume that the deck was somehow set, either by you or someone else!
Again we are not talking about one trial here are we?
Jac3510 wrote:Suppose, for example, you and I make a bet. I'm going to roll a six sided dice. If I roll anything except a 5, I owe you ten dollars. If I do, you owe me ten. Now, I roll, and sure enough, I roll a five. Hey, ten bucks for me. We roll again. Ten more bucks for me. And again, ten more bucks for me. I continue to do this until I have rolled ten fives in a row! You owe me 100 bucks. If you are smart, you are going to want to see the dice. I agree, and you roll it . . . another 5! And again, another 5!

What is the obvious answer? The dice was rigged. But is it IMPOSSIBLE tha we roll 12 5's in a row? No, of course it isn't, but design is evident. The practical chances are, in fact, zero.
How do you know, is there evidence that the "dice" are rigged? Can we roll them again to see if the outcome is the same?

Again the possibility of either conclusion exists. Yet you choose to rule out one of them.
It is not length of life, but depth of life. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#13

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:13 pm

BGood wrote:Again we are not talking about one trial here are we?
We must be talking about different things . . . of course I am only talking about one trial. You could, I suppose, offer more trials, but unless you are offered 9*10^159 chances, we can expect that you won't survive the day!

So, I'm not sure why the lottery is any better or worse of an analogy. I was using your analogy, not one I made up, and bringing its implications into the world of evolution/abiogenesis, more generally, philosophical naturalism.
BGood wrote:How do you know, is there evidence that the "dice" are rigged? Can we roll them again to see if the outcome is the same?

Again the possibility of either conclusion exists. Yet you choose to rule out one of them.
Is there evidence the dice was rigged?!? BGood, have you ever played Yahtzee? How often do you role a yahtzee? Not too often, right? If you were playing with someone and they rolled yahtzee after yahtzee, wouldn't you think something was a bit odd?

Now, let's look at our particular example. Given a six sided dice, what is the chance I will role a five twelve times in a row? The answer? 6^12, or 1 in 2,176,782,336. That's one in two billion, BGood. I suppose you could role the dice again . . . and again . . . and again . . . but at what point do you stop and go, "Hmm. I bet this dice is weighted!" Probably long before the twelfth role! I suspect it would go something like this:

First roll: Ah, he actually rolled a five. I lose ten bucks . . .
Second roll: Hey, he did it again. That is so not cool . . .
Third roll: AGAIN?!? Holy cow, talk about the luck!
Forth roll: Hmm . . . this seems a bit odd . . .
Fifth roll: OK, something is definitely up.
Sixth roll: OK, I want to see those dice!

At that point, you are only at 1 in 46,656. That's an awful lot better chance than one in two billion!

Now, is it impossible to roll a six sided dice so that the number five comes up six times in a row? No, by definition, it is possible. It's just very unlikely. But, here's the kicker, BGood. It is unlikely that you will roll a five one time in a row. In fact, you are five times more likely to roll any of the other five numbers. But, you may beat the odds. You may even do it a second time. And given about two hundred rolls, statistically speaking, you should be able to do it three times in a row. But it is FAR more likely that you will roll a five twice in a row then you will roll it three times in a row. Just so, it is ridiculously more likely that you roll a five six times in a row than twelve times in a row!

We are not dealing with possibility, but probability. So, if I roll a six sided dice so that the number five comes up twelve times in a row, what is the most likely possibility? A) I'm that lucky, B) the dice was rigged.

If you say (A), then I fear for the scientific community . . .

Now, if you say (B), as you logically have to, then I have this question for you:

What would you say to the person who decided that the dice was not rigged? He rolls three more times, each time coming up with fives. Not satisfied, he rolls it five more times . . . all fives. We now have twenty fives in a row! That's 1 in 1,248,045,400,617,354,801,086,805,835,776. One in two billion looked good, hmm? And yet, this person says, "No, it is still possible it is only chance. We can't say for sure the dice is rigged." BGood, at what point do you concede the dice is, in fact, rigged? How many rolls? And what do you say to the person who refuses to concede, regardless of the number of rolls, that it is rigged? And yet further, once you have rolled a five twenty times in a row, are you surprised that the 21st roll is a five, even when that should lessen the chances SIGNIFICANTLY?
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#14

Post by BGoodForGoodSake » Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:36 pm

Jac3510 wrote:
BGood wrote:Again we are not talking about one trial here are we?
We must be talking about different things . . . of course I am only talking about one trial. You could, I suppose, offer more trials, but unless you are offered 9*10^159 chances, we can expect that you won't survive the day!
Suppose they had however? What are you basing these chances on?
Jac3510 wrote:So, I'm not sure why the lottery is any better or worse of an analogy. I was using your analogy, not one I made up, and bringing its implications into the world of evolution/abiogenesis, more generally, philosophical naturalism.
So are you saying that for eukaryotic life to have occurred there was only one chance? Not countless bacteria and viruses interacting over millions of years? I disagree.
Jac3510 wrote:
BGood wrote:How do you know, is there evidence that the "dice" are rigged? Can we roll them again to see if the outcome is the same?

Again the possibility of either conclusion exists. Yet you choose to rule out one of them.
Is there evidence the dice was rigged?!?
I am talking about the metaphysical dice.
lol
Jac3510 wrote:BGood, have you ever played Yahtzee? How often do you role a yahtzee? Not too often, right? If you were playing with someone and they rolled yahtzee after yahtzee, wouldn't you think something was a bit odd?
Yes but unless I examined the dice myself to see how they were rigged the posibility remains that it was due to chance.
Jac3510 wrote:How many rolls? And what do you say to the person who refuses to concede, regardless of the number of rolls, that it is rigged? And yet further, once you have rolled a five twenty times in a row, are you surprised that the 21st roll is a five, even when that should lessen the chances SIGNIFICANTLY?
This is all fine, however how does this relate to the natural world? We were talking about nature and not dice right?
How do we determine that the dice were weighted? Can we roll the dice again? Can we examine the dice? And do we know all the variables? And what are the limits of the variables?

Without even knowing this how do you know what the chances are?
It is not length of life, but depth of life. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#15

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:48 pm

BGood . . . not that this should surprise you, but I'm not a mathematician nor a microbiologist. I have no way of knowing what the chances are that life could have come up spontaneously . . .

However, this is what I do know, and this is how it should be brought over:

1. The "simplest" form of life, so defined by way of self-replication, is extremely complex, mathematically speaking.

2. The numbers from (1) are so high it would take a large concentration of prebiotic material and an extended period of time (consider these two "chances") to produce life naturally.

3. In other words, life coming about naturally would require lots of "chances."

Now, it's up to you to provide chemical pathways. What I know is that the current pathways do NOT adequately explain the EXTREMELY low probability of life forming spontaneously. And, for the record, this is only on the evolution of life side of the argument. Have you considered the design argument as it relates to cosmology? The rate of expansion of the univeres is a great example, with a "fine tuning" of 1 to the 10^120 degree!

The point: until you provide chemical pathways that remove the extreme chances from the natural evolution of life (or the universe for that matter), it is decidely MORE PROBABLE that it was designed. The dice example illustrates this perfectly.

For the record, I notice you didnt answer my questions, other than to say, "This is all fine, however how does this relate to the natural world?" Now, I really do want answers for these, as the answers will say a lot about how to apply this further to the natural world. For your quoting convenience, here they are again:

1. What would you say to the person who decided that the dice was not rigged?

2. He rolls three more times, each time coming up with fives. Not satisfied, he rolls it five more times . . . all fives. We now have twenty fives in a row! That's 1 in 1,248,045,400,617,354,801,086,805,835,776. One in two billion looked good, hmm? And yet, this person says, "No, it is still possible it is only chance. We can't say for sure the dice is rigged." BGood, at what point do you concede the dice is, in fact, rigged?

3. How many rolls [does it take to concede the dice is rigged]?

4. And what do you say to the person who refuses to concede, regardless of the number of rolls, that it is rigged?

5. And yet further, once you have rolled a five twenty times in a row, are you surprised that the 21st roll is a five, even when that should lessen the chances SIGNIFICANTLY?
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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