What information do you have that you know it is this unlikely? I am assuming you are making assumptions on how unlikely an event may be due to your preconceptions. Am I correct?
What, that a storm can make a 747 or that a monkey can type out Shakespeare? I'll assume
that you are talking about the unlikliness of naturalism vis-a-vis abiogenesis, the cosmological constant, etc.
The answer to your question is "no." As I said before, I'm not a mathematician, nor a biologist. However, when Ph.D.'s in those fields provide the numbers we are talking about, I take it on good faith. If Hugh Ross says that the expansion of the universe is fine tuned to within one part in 10^120, I can believe that. And when paper after paper shows the chances of a "simple" self-replicator coming up by chance is one in a gazillion, I can accept that on good faith, too.
Here's the thing, BGood. EVERYONE recognizes the massive chance involved in this. Even Dawkin knows this, which is why he wrote The Blind Watchmaker
, in attempt to discredit this very argument. In chapter ONE ("Explaining the very improbable") launches on his mission by a discussion of "improbable" as it relates to "complex." His goal, which at least is logical, is to show that "complex" is NOT the same as "improbable." His mechanism, cumulative selection (p. 43ff), is a good place to start. But here's my point: he recognizes, and freely admits, that if it is improbable, it is to be discarded. Thus, he provides a mechanism to do away with the improbable! He goes so far as to say,
Dawkins wrote:Atkins assumes the evolution of complex things -- the subject matter of this book -- to be inevitable once the appropriate physical conditions have been set up.
THAT, BGood, is what the evolutionist has to prove. THAT is science. You can't work with "wildly improbable but by chance possible." That's the stuff of blind faith!
How do you reject this posibility?
I really hope that you are just asking questions to see if I know what I'm talking about rather than seeking honest answers . . . I suppose you are familiar with the Steady State model and the reasons it has been universally rejected. I suppose you are familiar with the evidence for a true beginning of our universe, just as I suppose that you are familiar with the evidence that we have not always existed.
So, I reject, post-riori
, the idea that we have always been here.
Scientifically we cannot conclude anything.
Sloppy, BGood . . . very sloppy. Shall I assume that you are a positivist? Scientifically, we cannot PROVE anything. That is very different from saying that we cannot conclude anything. We conclude things every day. Observation A plus Observation B lead to Theory C. We then test Theory C. If it's predictions come true, then we have a good, solid, tested theory. But, the conclusion doesn't come with the test. The conclusion comes with the theory itself. We concluded, based on our observations, that C must be the case. We then tested our conclusions.
Don't try to get away from solid answers, BGood. As a side note, did you watch the confirmation hearings of Alito? In it, he said something very interesting. The senators were asking him questions the whole time about abortion and executive priviledges . . . of course, he didn't answer. Finally, they started asking him really easy questions as it related to case prescedants. After a series of these, he said something to the affect of, "I can't answer these easier ones because it will place me on a slippery slope to answering the harder ones." I think that was to Graham.
You've already started down the slope, BGood. You've already admitted that we can conclude, for example, the in all probability our dice is rigged based on mathematical observation. The same is true here. Let's replace the concept of "dice" and "roll" with nature, God, evolution, etc. Let's keep this out of the real world for a moment and just do a thought experiment . . . keep on the slope, so to speak.
If scientific observation shows it is highly unlikely for something to come about by natural means, doesn't that imply design? *waits for BGood to try to slam on the breaks*
No because we don't know what the possibilities are. Nor do we know any of the variables to determine the odds.
You're jumping ahead of me, BGood. Look again at what I said verses your original answer. You're backtracking:
I wrote: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?
Now, notice your reply:
You wrote:At this point it would seem the dice are rigged.
So, you agree that there comes a point in time where we can logically conclude that, in all probability, the dice are rigged. We certainly can't PROVE it, but even opening the dice and finding weights wouldn't PROVE it. It would only make it that much more probable! Remember, we can't PROVE anything! Here's the key though: you admit that we can conclude it, logically, right here. Now,
I wrote:Yes, sir, I think we all would agree. So, can I fairly extrapolate from this admission, as well as your previous, that for something to be very unlikely to occur naturally, it can be reasonably concluded that design is in order?
This is nothing more than changing the wording to what you just agreed to. If the dice are rigged, then they were designed. You have agreed that it seems that the dice are rigged (designed). On what did you base that conclusion? On the extreme level of probability. So, you then must agree that high improbabilities can lead us to logically posit design. BUT now
You wrote:No because we don't know what the possibilities are. Nor do we know any of the variables to determine the odds.
So we went from agreeing the dice were rigged to rejecting it? Backtracking a bit, hmm? Now, we know exactly what the possibilities are. We know what the variables are. Don't jump ahead of me, BGood. Given our scenario, we CAN CONCLUDE that the dice are, in fact, designed to show up as a five. Or, to go back to your original illustration, if a predetermined order came up, even once, we could posit design in the order of the deck.
Again you are assuming we know the probabilities, we simply don't.
And, again, I'm working off of authority. When Dawkins himself admits to extreme improbability, I'm inclined to accept it. When Ian Musgrave, a staunch advocate for abiogenesis, accepts high improbablities, I'm inclined to accept them. The difference in these men and you is that they are trying to show the numbers aren't in fact, so improbable. Let's go back to our dice example.
I role five five's in a row. SHOCKING! The chances of that happening are one in 7,776. Ah, but now you find out that there are about eight thousand of us trying the same thing right now. Yeah, it's pretty cool that it happened to me, but for the other seven thousand, it probably didn't happen. In fact, we can say that it is PROBABLE that out of the eight thousand of us, the chances are that at least one of us will, in fact, roll five fives in a row! So, the number isn't so improbable after all.
Your argument, though, is totally different. "Hey, sure it's improbable! But that doesn't mean it's impossible!" :p
This is quite true, however we are basing this on one roll now aren't we? That is why this analogy is false.
Have I once argued that evolution only had once chance? I suspect that's why you want to use a lottery . . . and that's fine with me. The point is that you have to try to reduce the odds. And the base argument, BGood, is that YOU CAN'T REDUCE THEM ENOUGH TO MAKE IT PROBABLE. That is the very nature of the entire probability argument. That's why I keep saying, show me some chemical pathways that make abiogenesis probable, because right now, they don't exist.
In the meantime, you have to be intellectually honest enough to admit that the high improbability leads us to logically posit a designer until future evidence indicates the contrary.
No, sorry this is based on what we do not know right now.
No, sir, it is not based on what we do not know right now. It is based on what we KNOW. We KNOW that the cosmological constant is fine tuned to within one part in 10^120. We KNOW the basic amino acids required for certain cells. These are things we know, BGood.
Here's the problem with your argument at this particular juncture. I say that the theory of gravity should be rejected because it is based on what we DON'T KNOW. In fact, the real answer is that there are invisible elves holding everything together. We can't detect them YET, but one day, science will be able to. It's just a matter of time. I posit that they exist in the sixth dimension, so as soon as we can examine other dimensions, we will be able to test it. So, the theory of gravity is great, but it is based on what we don't know.
See how ludicrous that is? The idea of design is based soundly on actual knowledge. It is based on mathematical studies on the probabilities of certain physical entities coming up by certain proposed mechanisms. It is, at present, obvious to all that the CURRENT MECHANISMS provide a VERY LOW probability for producing what we have today.
Again scientifically there is no conclusions to be made.
I've already dealt with this, so be honest, BGood. Come on, you expect me to be honest with you. If you provide solid evidence, you expect me to admit it and see its implications, so you do the same. Again, I asked:
based on what we know RIGHT NOW, do you think it is MORE LIKELY that life came about by chance, or do current observations lead us to conclude reasonably that it was designed?
What do current observations lead us to conclude, BGood?
I am not here to make judgements. Science should let the facts stand for themselves.
Of course you are here to make judgments. That is what human beings do. We made a judgment on gravity and on the sun. Why? Because the evidence pointed us in that direction. Have you concluded that there is such a thing as gravity? Have you concluded that the earth is four billion years old? Have you concluded that evolution is correct? I've seen you assert that it is, so don't tell me you aren't here to make judgments. You are. Be honest, BGood.
You will, of course, admit that it is POSSIBLE that we find evidence to totally contradict the evolutionary model or the age of the earth or the theory of gravity itself. If you don't, you will be in effect claiming these theories are non-falsifiable and, by your own definition, not science. And yet, you still conclude that these are in all PROBABILITY true. That is, they represent reality well enough to be considered reflective of it until something else comes along to say the contrary. So, let's apply that SAME standard to our discussion, BGood. Make an honest judgement, as you have been all along on these boards, and answer my question. Again, I asked:
If someone blindly refuses to recognize the obvious rigging of the dice, what would you say to them?
After 5 successive attempts it is likely that the dice are rigged.
Again however how many times have we rolled the "dice" in what this example is supposed to be an analogy of?
Ah, look, a judgment
I believe I've already handled this question in the above. If, of course, we have rolled it 8,000 times then it is extremely likely that it is not rigged. In fact, we could conclude that it was NOT rigged.
But, your statement implicitly affirms what you have been denying. You conclude that the dice are rigged after 5 successive attempts, but this is predicated on the idea that we've only tried once and everything else is ligit. So, given the proper foundations, it IS possible to conclude design. Go ahead and admit that, BGood. So, I ask my question again:
Is it more likely in the real world that:
A) A person rolls a six sided dice twenty times, each time with the same number, and then, with absolutely zero changes in circumstances, rolls a second number, or
B) A person rolls a six sided dice twenty times, each time with the same number, and then, with absolutely zero changes in circumstances, rolls the same number five more times.
I'd like to see your reasoning as to how you answer as well.
I would like you to answer this and explain your answer.