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Author Topic:   Why do people believe what they believe?
Lammy
Member
Posts: 3607
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 46 of 51 (96381)
03-31-2004 2:59 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by secondlaw
03-31-2004 7:26 AM


Re: mathematical impossibility
I am not going to say much because others have already gone over what needs to be gone over.

One thing that have always bothered me, besides the fact that these creationists misrepresent science and then come up with a number through that mirepresentation, is the argument of probability itself. Mathematical probability only tells us how likely something will occur through random processes, not if it will occur at all or not.

Let us look at you, as a biological being. Just based on the chance of the moment your parents decided to "get it on" and the number of sperms being produced each minute and destroyed each minute AND the egg in your mother's overies that, by chance, happened to come out at the time for that particular conception, then technically you don't exist at all based on your argument.

Just because a probibility is small doesn't mean it can't happen. So, even if can take that probability of yours seriously, it still doesn't do crap to support the creationist view.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by secondlaw, posted 03-31-2004 7:26 AM secondlaw has not yet responded

    
compmage
Member (Idle past 3231 days)
Posts: 601
From: South Africa
Joined: 08-04-2005


Message 47 of 51 (96403)
03-31-2004 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Lammy
03-30-2004 8:08 PM


Lam writes:

I think you will find this site more to your liking.

I'm not that much of a TV or movie fan.


Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in
this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely
conceives it, wants it, and loves it.
- Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State, from The Columbian Dictionary of Quotations
This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Lammy, posted 03-30-2004 8:08 PM Lammy has not yet responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19757
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.9


Message 48 of 51 (96404)
03-31-2004 3:43 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by secondlaw
03-31-2004 7:26 AM


Re: mathematical possibility
Ah, the old improbable probability problem ...

The errors in this are multifold and pervasive


  • The calculation is a mathematical model of reality and not the reality itself. When a model fails to replicate reality it is not reality that is at fault but the mathematical model. When a hurricane prediction program crashes because it can't model the first hurricane on record in the South Atlantic, the meteorologists don't go out to the hurricane and say "you can't be here, our model does not allow you to be here" ... they fix the model by looking for and taking out the failed assumptions (ie - that all hurricanes are north of the equator).
  • The probability of winning a lottery by any one ticket is extremely low, but the probability that the lottery will be won is extremely high. How do you reconcile these two very disparate probabilities? By knowing that any one of the millions of tickets is a valid winner if picked. To show that this is not the case for the calculations mentioned (ie -- in order to say "1 out of") you have to show that no other combination works of all the other probabilities. This has not been done.
  • The calculation fails to account for the known pre-existing molecules used in the formation of life that are found throughout the universe, and this failure means the calculation with creation-all-at-once including these molecules is unnecessarily extended downward.
  • The calculation fails to account for combinations of groups of such molecules in smorgas board fashion instead of in assembly line fashion all at once all from nothing. And, all the "failed" experiments are still available to be cut and reassembled into new experiments without having to go through the preliminaries. It fails to account for actual combination process as used in natural assembly of large organic compounds. This failure means that all the ways to reach the final necessary combination are not included and thus it unnecessarily excludes possible combination methods.
  • The calculation fails to account for the fact that the first life need not be as complicated as a modern cell, that the minimum configuration is much simpler as shown by the LUCA studies. This failure means that the calculation is unnecessarily extended upward.
  • The improbability of a thing occurring is not proof of impossibility of it occurring. It could well be that this is the only planet in all the universe that has life on it because it is a very improbably event. And if you divide the surface of the planet into all the different types of environments and do the same for all the other planets and moons and asteroids in the solar system alone you will have billionsXbillions of little experimental crucibles for carrying out experiments and if that is carried out over several billion year periods (4.55 billion year old earth, in a 13.7+ billion year old universe) with multiple "experiments" in a {day?week?month?} time period, and do the same for all the billions of stellar systems throughout the universe it does not take long to create an equally mind boggling number that reduces 1e14billion to a definite probability. I'm at 1e36 already ...

Care to play another game?
{{this was copied from Abiogenesis thread message #74}}

There is no point at which improbable becomes impossible.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by secondlaw, posted 03-31-2004 7:26 AM secondlaw has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by Loudmouth, posted 03-31-2004 3:57 PM RAZD has responded

  
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 49 of 51 (96415)
03-31-2004 3:57 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by RAZD
03-31-2004 3:43 PM


Re: mathematical possibility
quote:
The improbability of a thing occurring is not proof of impossibility of it occurring. It could well be that this is the only planet in all the universe that has life on it because it is a very improbably event. And if you divide the surface of the planet into all the different types of environments and do the same for all the other planets and moons and asteroids in the solar system alone you will have billionsXbillions of little experimental crucibles for carrying out experiments and if that is carried out over several billion year periods (4.55 billion year old earth, in a 13.7+ billion year old universe) with multiple "experiments" in a {day?week?month?} time period, and do the same for all the billions of stellar systems throughout the universe it does not take long to create an equally mind boggling number that reduces 1e14billion to a definite probability. I'm at 1e36 already ...

I think this is a very important point that many abiogenesis detractors miss. We have to divide the chances of life across all planets that have conditions conducive for life. Until they have this figure, they can not readily apply their distorted probabilities. Just for an analogy, if we assume that there are 1 million hospitals in the world (just a rough guess), the chances of each person being born in a particular hospital is astronomical. I could say that me being born in a particular place is one in million, so improbable that I shouldn't exist. If these are the types of distortions that creationists insist on using, then our little opposition on this site probably won't be needed. Education really is the key.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by RAZD, posted 03-31-2004 3:43 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by RAZD, posted 03-31-2004 5:40 PM Loudmouth has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19757
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.9


Message 50 of 51 (96440)
03-31-2004 5:40 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by Loudmouth
03-31-2004 3:57 PM


Re: mathematical possibility
It is like the Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) admonition:

(one version of many)
"when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

And as far as I can see no effort has been expended on eliminating the impossibles.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by Loudmouth, posted 03-31-2004 3:57 PM Loudmouth has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 51 by lfen, posted 06-27-2004 6:06 PM RAZD has not yet responded

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 2755 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 51 of 51 (119280)
06-27-2004 6:06 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by RAZD
03-31-2004 5:40 PM


Re: mathematical possibility
When we examine living organisms even the simplest single cell bacteria what we find are atoms and processes that occur elsewhere in the universe. There is no substance or energy that is unique. There are unique arrangements of atoms in molecules but clearly the universe contains all that is needed for living things to arise.

Forum members seem to be represented by Christians and more western scientific types and the debates often ignore other possibilities found especially from eastern sources.

My personal interest is in what is "consciousness". There is some very interesting work being done currently in science,I recommend any book by Antonio Damasio, to discover or explain consciousness as an emergent property of evolution. I myself tend to the more eastern position that consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe as are matter/energy and space/time. I suspect that the problems that fundamentalist are having has to do with consciousness more than the arrising of life itself.

I view the universe as a whole. It's not just that there is life on earth but that life depends on our sun and on molecules that can only be accounted for by the explosions of earlier stars. So it's easy for me to accept that life is a possiblity of this universe in the same way that stars, planets, galaxies etc are. Life is a part of the universe and uses light waves, gravity etc. For me that is the miracle, no special violations of the laws of nature are required for a sense of awe and wonder.

I do get irritated when priests and their followers claim a special right to monopolize the truth as represented by their chosen "revelations" and denigrate those who don't accept their pronouncements as being the servants of evil or whatever. The universe in all it's complexity and grandeur includes life and the great mystery for me is that it is to some extent conscious of itself.

To say well a super power person name XMRGFD or what ever name you wish to give it created it that way, simply begs the question. All peoples have origin stories. Civilized peoples developed priest classes to help police and control peoples behaviour. Their writings (scriptures) were just a further developement of this "religious legal" control. Of course they delivered these as being god's rules and encouraged the notion that even if the priests weren't present god was watching and waiting to punish them. This being the naive position of children it wasn't that difficult to maintain the same attitudes and emotions in many adults.

I'm not sure what death is. Matter and energy don't appear to be destroyed. The universe is in flux and various arrangements of matter and energy arises and subside. Organisms seek to protect themselves and replicate and often fail and the universe and the earth goes on. The ego will come to an end, memories will be lost and a particular pattern of an organism will be dispersed into other parts. Was consciousness dependent on the structures of that organism? Or is consciousness like matter/energy, something fundamental to the universe so it doesn't arise or subside?

"Why do people believe what they believe" is a very good question. It involved what Socrates called "knowing oneself". I don't think fundamentalist encourage that as the emphasis seems to be more on an acceptance of the pronouncements of authorities. I hope though we all ask ourselves "Why do I believe what I believe".

peace,
lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by RAZD, posted 03-31-2004 5:40 PM RAZD has not yet responded

  
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