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Author Topic:   A point about probability
InGodITrust
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 53
From: Reno, Nevada, USA
Joined: 05-02-2009


Message 46 of 65 (520137)
08-19-2009 2:48 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by InGodITrust
08-19-2009 1:42 PM


Thanks Dwise1 for the your reply. So, I take it that even if someone could show that two simultaneous mutations would be necessary to achieve some modification to a species, it would by no means disprove Darwin. It would not be anywhere near so astronomically improbable that the scientific community would take any notice.

And I think I see how PaulK's point about probabilty traps could come into play in evolution. Just like the particular outcome of the string of coin tosses is improbable, a particular modification to a species is also improbable. But the coins had to turn out someway, and evolution might have to turn a species out some way, if not the way it did then another way that was advantageous and selected.

I take it the scientific community is not impressed with Behe. But what if it could be shown that simultaneous mutations had to occur routinly? Wouldn't that slow natural selection down to a point where it was questionable? Something that happens once in a thousand years now would happen once in a million years.


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 Message 51 by dwise1, posted 08-19-2009 8:30 PM InGodITrust has responded

    
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1138 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 47 of 65 (520139)
08-19-2009 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by InGodITrust
08-19-2009 2:48 PM


I take it the scientific community is not impressed with Behe. But what if it could be shown that simultaneous mutations had to occur routinly? Wouldn't that slow natural selection down to a point where it was questionable? Something that happens once in a thousand years now would happen once in a million years.

Wouldn't matter.

Whether life as we see it today is a 1 in 100 chance or 1 in 1,000,000, one chain of mutations is no more or less likely than others, and natural selection still works to weed out unsuccessful varieties.

Let's say you roll 100 dice simultaneously, 1000 times. The specific chain of results for each of the 100 dice over all 1000 iterations is so improbable as to be regarded as nearly impossible...but a result is inevitable. Whichever result you end with looks nearly impossible in hindsight, but is no more or less probable than any other result, and it did happen.

When you play the lottery, it's inevitable that eventually someone will win, even if that specific person winning on that specific day is astronomically improbable. If you include the specific history of all past lottery winners, the probability drops even further, but the fact is that the winners still won.

So too with mutations and evolution (except of course that natural selection prevents the system from being totally random). While the exact variety and history of life that we see looks massively improbable in hindsight, a result was inevitable. This happens to be the one that happened. If a different result had come about, that result would have been exactly as improbable as this one.

Improbability is not the same as impossibility, which is why Behe is commonly considered to be an idiot.


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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2667 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 48 of 65 (520143)
08-19-2009 3:08 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by InGodITrust
08-19-2009 2:48 PM


falsification
Hi IGT

The ToE is well defined, therefore, there are lots and lots of very simple things that could falsify the it. That none has yet to be discovered in spite of the great efforts being made to find one speaks to the credibility and viability of the theory.

Good luck in your search. Success will mean a Nobel Prize.


It's not the man that knows the most that has the most to say.
Anon

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onifre
Member (Idle past 902 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 49 of 65 (520154)
08-19-2009 4:02 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by InGodITrust
08-19-2009 2:48 PM


Something that happens once in a thousand years now would happen once in a million years.

Here's an improbabality, a poker hand occuring that the chances of it happening are 1 in 2.7 billion. Almost completely impossible, yet, it occured.

Improbabality serves no purpose in hindsight since the end result, whether it's 4 Aces being beaten by a Royal Flush or multiple mutations occuring, can be seen.

What are the odds of it happening again? The same as it happening the first time, yet it happened regardless of the improbabality.

- Oni

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.


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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5777
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005


Message 50 of 65 (520198)
08-19-2009 7:36 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by InGodITrust
08-19-2009 1:42 PM


Theodric, you asked if I was trying to find a way to disprove evolution by natural selection. Yes.

Do you realize that if you found ten things wrong with evolution it would not discredit the theory?

Also, even if TOE was totally proven wrong this would in no way make creationism or ID correct. No matter how much energy that is put into discrediting TOE, discrediting it will not help creationism or ID. They need to have some sort of evidence on their own. Proving TOE incorrect does not prove either of them correct.

This is a point that the vast majority of creos and IDers do not understand.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3192
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 51 of 65 (520201)
08-19-2009 8:30 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by InGodITrust
08-19-2009 2:48 PM


So, I take it that even if someone could show that two simultaneous mutations would be necessary to achieve some modification to a species, it would by no means disprove Darwin. It would not be anywhere near so astronomically improbable that the scientific community would take any notice.

You missed the point. The only way that the scientific community would take any notice of statements regarding probability would be only if they were based solidly on a valid mathematical model. A valid probability model and valid values for the probabilities being used.

So far, the creationist community has not presented any valid probability model, but rather nothing more than BS. Claiming that evolution is like tossing a coin a million times in a row and come up heads each time (which I have seen them claim) is pure BS. Claiming that evolution is like a tornado in a junkyard assembling a 747 is pure BS. Claiming that a modern protein would have had to have come together in a single trial is pure BS. All creationist probability claims are good for is to deceive themselves and their audience.

That is why, if you are going to have any hope of using probability to argue against evolution, you will need to use a valid probability model for evolution, along with valid values for the probabilities involved. That was the main point I was presenting.

In order for you to do that, you will need to study evolution and learn as much about it as you possibly can. Rather than to requote Sun Tzu yet again, if you don't know your enemy nor yourself (and most creationists are abysmally ignorant of both), then you will have no hope of winning this fight. The only way you're going to have any credibility is if you have done your studying and you know what you're talking about. So far in nearly 30 years, I have yet to see a creationist who knew what he was talking about with regard to evolution or to other pertinent scientific subjects -- judging by their arguments; it's possible that some knew some science, but they were too willing to lie about it for that knowledge to come through.

The model that I presented is inadequate for the job you've laid before yourself. However, it illustrates the effects of a factor that you will need to incorporate into any valid model of evolution: populations. In fact, you might want to start out by looking into population genetics. One scientist described natural selection as being able to make the improbable inevitable.

You will also need to be very clear on what you mean by "mutation" -- in evolution, that refers primarily to genetic mutation, changes in the DNA, rather than to gross corporeal changes which most creationist references to "mutation" mean.

I noticed earlier that you described evolution as "chance". It is not, though it is stochastic. That is to say, there are so many factors involved that we cannot work it all out, but we can observe the outcomes and from those observations work out the probabilities of what outcomes to expect.

I've seen some attempts to reconcile the idea of miracles and the Laws of Nature. Some have tried to argue that God had inserted exceptions in those Laws in order allow the miracles He had already planned out. The best that I heard is that miracles are outcomes that are very highly improbable, virtually impossible, but not completely impossible (ie, p=0 is impossible, whereas p approaching zero is still possible, but so highly improbable as to be deemed virtually impossible). So a miracle is God letting the virtually impossible happen.

You cannot believe that God could have formed Man through evolution? You don't think He's capable of guiding the process? So He's not so omnipotent after all?

I've usually found that when our understanding of the world is at odds with how the world really is, then the problem must lie in our understanding of the world.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by InGodITrust, posted 08-19-2009 2:48 PM InGodITrust has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by InGodITrust, posted 08-22-2009 3:22 PM dwise1 has responded

    
InGodITrust
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 53
From: Reno, Nevada, USA
Joined: 05-02-2009


Message 52 of 65 (520604)
08-22-2009 2:35 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by Theodoric
08-19-2009 7:36 PM


Theodoric wrote:

Quote

Also, even if TOE was totally proven wrong this would in no way make creationism or ID correct. No matter how much energy that is put into discrediting TOE, discrediting it will not help creationism or ID. They need to have some sort of evidence on their own. Proving TOE incorrect does not prove either of them correct.

End Quote

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Acknowledged. But if the theory fell into doubt among scientist, I can envision more lay people giving the Lord a chance.

Edited by InGodITrust, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by Theodoric, posted 08-19-2009 7:36 PM Theodoric has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by Theodoric, posted 08-23-2009 1:09 PM InGodITrust has responded

    
InGodITrust
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 53
From: Reno, Nevada, USA
Joined: 05-02-2009


Message 53 of 65 (520613)
08-22-2009 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by dwise1
08-19-2009 8:30 PM


quote:

You cannot believe that God could have formed Man through evolution? You don't think He's capable of guiding the process? So He's not so omnipotent after all?


----------------------------------------------
I believe God had the power to do that if he chose. But I don't think natural selection allows for God to have guided the process. The word "natural" wouldn't fit.

Edited by InGodITrust, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by dwise1, posted 08-22-2009 4:15 PM InGodITrust has responded

    
InGodITrust
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 53
From: Reno, Nevada, USA
Joined: 05-02-2009


Message 54 of 65 (520621)
08-22-2009 4:00 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by InGodITrust
08-17-2009 1:28 AM


After Further Consideration
quote:

The odds of a single DNA mutation arising and getting selected is pretty slim, right? But for two mutations that go hand-in-hand-- and each depend upon the other for selection---to occur simultaneously would be astronomically improbable. Wouldn't it be so improbable that it would disprove evolution by natural selection?

Sooner or later someone may come across a pair like that.


-----------------------------------------------------

The quote above is from myownself in an earlier post here. After reading everyone's responses and rethinking this, I concede that there would be no damage to TOE from a single case of two simultaneous genetic mutations resulting in a modification that gets selected.

The only question remaining for me is if the theory can be damaged by routine cases of simultaneous genitic mutations. Many of you have answered that no, probability can do no damage to the theory. I'm not convinced, and still need to think it through (I'm kind of slow).

And of course none of this matters unless someone can show simultaneous mutataions resulting in modifications even happen at all.

Edited by InGodITrust, : No reason given.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3192
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 55 of 65 (520622)
08-22-2009 4:15 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by InGodITrust
08-22-2009 3:22 PM


I believe God had the power to do that if he chose. But I don't think natural selection allows for God to have guided the process. The word "natural" wouldn't fit.

So you're telling us that you believe that your god is powerless in the face of Nature?

Well, that's certainly true of the god of creationists, which is better known as the "God of the Gaps", who can only exist within the gaps of our knowledge; that god gets diminished every time we discover a natural explanation of something. Rather, what I've heard from non-creationist Christians is that their God is "Sovereign over Nature" and as such is immune from the discoveries of science. Science presents constant danger to the "God of the Gaps", which is the creationists' chosen god, but it presents no danger at all to the "Sovereign over Nature".

Again, you had missed the point. Theology is the study of God. It is a fallible human attempt by fallible humans to understand the Infinite. It is very imperfect. Furthermore, nobody follows a specific theology that is taught them, but rather everybody creates his own theology based on his incomplete and imperfect understanding and on his misunderstanding of that and other theologies.

So, when one's theology demands that the world must be a particular way or else God does not exist, and the world fails to conform to those demands, then what's the more likely conclusion to be reached? That God does not exist, as his theology demands? Or that his theology is incorrect in those demands that it had placed on the world and what the world must be like?

And when he comes to realize that his theology is incorrect, then what? Since it was incorrect in those things that he could check, does he then continue to believe it and follow it's command that he stop believing in God? Or does he figure out that he cannot believe that part of it either?


This message is a reply to:
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InGodITrust
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 53
From: Reno, Nevada, USA
Joined: 05-02-2009


Message 56 of 65 (520623)
08-22-2009 4:29 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by onifre
08-19-2009 4:02 PM


Poker
quote:

Here's an improbabality, a poker hand occuring that the chances of it happening are 1 in 2.7 billion. Almost completely impossible, yet, it occured.


------------------------------------------------

Onifre, it a was a wild game of poker there. But I wonder what the odds of Ray Ramano and another player who folded were of getting the exact hands they got.

I would liken the two lousy, unremarkable poker hands to the many pairs of simultaneous genetic mutations that do not result in a selectable modification.

And I would of course liken the number of poker games played before this amazing one to population.


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InGodITrust
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 53
From: Reno, Nevada, USA
Joined: 05-02-2009


Message 57 of 65 (520625)
08-22-2009 5:01 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by dwise1
08-22-2009 4:15 PM


quote:

I believe God had the power to do that if he chose. But I don't think natural selection allows for God to have guided the process. The word "natural" wouldn't fit.

So you're telling us that you believe that your god is powerless in the face of Nature?


No, what I meant was that I thought "natural" in natural selection limited the theory to being driven by random genetic mutations. I didn't think scientst were open to the selections being made by God.

BTW Dwise1, I was going to respond this morning to a couple other points you made a few days ago, but I'm running out of time. I'll have to get back here later.

But I just wanted to comment that some people have written in this thread that there is no hope for using probability against TOE, but you wrote that there is some hope, if the models are sound and you do the math.

And one other point about probability is that it is most powerful when used over a large number of trials, right? Like a string of 10 coin tosses could easily give a 70 or 80% heads result. But a million tosses would give a 50/50 result. Works for casinos, that's for sure. So with natural selection, if probability is going to be brought to bear, it would be better to use it in that way.


This message is a reply to:
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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2667 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 58 of 65 (520631)
08-22-2009 5:53 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by InGodITrust
08-22-2009 4:29 PM


Re: Poker
But I wonder what the odds of Ray Ramano and another player who folded were of getting the exact hands they got.

That's the beauty of it. The odds of RR an AP getting those hand were exactly the same odds as the other two getting the hands that they got.


It's not the man that knows the most that has the most to say.
Anon

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Huntard
Member (Idle past 246 days)
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 59 of 65 (520632)
08-22-2009 6:05 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by lyx2no
08-22-2009 5:53 PM


Re: Poker
That's the beauty of it. The odds of RR an AP getting those hand were exactly the same odds as the other two getting the hands that they got.

Exactly, any combination of five cards is just as likely as any other. It's the significance that we assign to a particular combination that makes the occurrence so "special".


I hunt for the truth
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10237
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 60 of 65 (520633)
08-22-2009 6:08 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by Huntard
08-22-2009 6:05 PM


Re: Poker
Exactly, any combination of five cards is just as likely as any other. It's the significance that we assign to a particular combination that makes the occurrence so "special".

I remember once trying to convince someone that choosing the numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 in the lottery was as likely a combination of winning numbers as any other.

Even I barely believed myself


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