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Author Topic:   Chances as discrete entities
Suspended Member (Idle past 4141 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002

Message 1 of 5 (17228)
09-12-2002 4:06 AM

In his book "the Blind Watchmaker", Dawkins referenced an 18th or 19th century mathematician saying that it is impossible for a chance smaller then 1/10^250 or something (I can't remember the exact figure) to be realised.

So then this implies that chances (or realisable chances) are discrete entities. You could then say that a chance of say 20/100 then consists of (20/100)/(1/10e250)= a great many discrete chances.

What, if any, is the relationship to physical objects to these discrete chances? And how, if at all, do these discrete chances relate to one another.

I have read on talk.origins that things only exist on average. If I remember correctly this means that the existence of a thing is a chance event between the possible states of matter and anti-matter. I'm not to sure about the states being matter and anti-matter, but logically there should be the pairing of states of being realised and not being realised for any chance.

But on the other hand it seems that if chances have a smalles small, then it would be meaningless to for instance make predictions on a series of rolling the ball on the rouletteweel, or rolling dice beyond many times, beyond the smallest small chance.

I want to know this because I want to understand how the chance of reproduction relates to a generalised chance of existence. Darwinists confusingly often use the phrase "struggle for existence" which in literal interpretation is more or less suitable as a description of generalised chance, but not suitable as a description of chance of reproduction.

So... discrete chances? Bullshit, or not?

Mohammad Nor Syamsu

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Weyland, posted 09-17-2002 5:23 AM Syamsu has not yet responded
 Message 5 by Peter, posted 10-17-2002 8:10 AM Syamsu has not yet responded

Inactive Member

Message 2 of 5 (17575)
09-17-2002 5:23 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Syamsu
09-12-2002 4:06 AM

Well, the argument that an event with a probability of occurring of < 1E-250 cannot happen is trivially wrong IMHO.

An event with no probability of occurring has a probability of 0.
If an event's probability is >0 then it can occur, although it may be very unlikely.

Any event with a probability distribution over time T could have that distribution broken down into time intervals t where the probability of the even occurring in that time interval is less than some arbitrary value, and so by making t small enough you could demonstrate that the event could not happen.

So, if the idea of a minimum probability were true, then you could show that any event was impossible.

I'll have to go with the Bullshit camp I think.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Syamsu, posted 09-12-2002 4:06 AM Syamsu has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by nos482, posted 09-17-2002 7:59 AM Weyland has not yet responded

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Message 3 of 5 (17580)
09-17-2002 7:59 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Weyland
09-17-2002 5:23 AM

{Quotation of entire previous message deleted - Adminnemooseus}

I get the feeling that most Creationists don't understand how probability theory actually works. And than there are those who do and will misuse it instead.

[This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 10-17-2002]

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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3584 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001

Message 4 of 5 (19241)
10-07-2002 2:50 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by nos482
09-17-2002 7:59 AM

I tried to follow THREE posters in a row rather than just what substance I wanted to say in some particular sentence and I fail to find that this is even thinkable to creation as opposed to say "evolution". Stephen Wolfram *clearly* thinks and talks as if "chance" (randomness) IS discrete (all the way to quantum field theory). It is certainly true that one using say %MATHEMATICA% creates a theory of lexicographic orderings that excludes non-zero numbers as small enough to be a part of undecidable quatum mechanics for which a determinate answer is not yet or every will be availble; but again this has nothing as far as I can see to do with an "evolutionary" vs a "creationist" frame of mind.

So lets say I "misused" the intents of the past three posts? It is true that in Biology such a concept of Liebig's was that Law of the Minimum. That, this- organisms needed minimally certain things to exist and if one of these minimal things were taken away --SOME other minimal thing would take that somethings place-- Now instead of thinking in terms of protoplasm and chemicals imagine all things nanotechonogy computationaly built or is contemplating to build; apply it to the ecology of an acutal "niche"; AND at least in the resticted space of Biology there could be a maximum computatonal equivalence above which no Biology but some physics exists IN THIS MINIMUM such that any oscillation is continuously damped out by reality or say the 2nd law thermo (though WOlfram doesn think this exists in this sense either but all we need is the actual ecosystem dynamics that affect growth and reproduction of the hidden players etc) and since this is SMALLER than the chemisty of Leibig's day but could exist the chance of finding this is more disrete than some chemcial and yet even if bounded by EM could be said in a physical sense of the Leibig law THEORY that I would have rather more elaborted to NOT EXIST despite being non-zero. (IE little green men on the other side of black hole in a philosopher's paradise who thinks like a bat but is not could stil possible gain acces to the energy but not the chance entity that was discrete).

Sounds like fiction but such things COULD make the practice of actual science. But philosophically speaking obviously from the taxa's perspective if >0 it has to exist. But then again I ALSO do not believe in Wolfram "alien" intelligence. I prefer to recall grace.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by nos482, posted 09-17-2002 7:59 AM nos482 has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 30 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002

Message 5 of 5 (20093)
10-17-2002 8:10 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Syamsu
09-12-2002 4:06 AM

The struggle for existence (fight for survival?) is not
chance exactly. There may be some happy/unhappy circumstances
that throw a curve ball in, but it's all about how well
one critter's abilities match their habitat.

A critter's ability to survive is a strong variable in calculating
its chance of reproduction.

As to the rest ... if you can calculate a probablity then
the event can happen ... that's what porbabilities are for.


The chance of throwing a 1 on each of 100 dice is 6.5 * 10^77
or thereabouts ... doesn't mean you can't do it, but it's
unlikely it'll happen every time.

The chance of throwing a seven on a single standard die is
ZERO ... it cannot happen no matter how often yoy try.

For abiogenesis, for example, you only need it to happen once,
somewhere in the universe, sometime before approx. 3.5 billion years
ago. Creationists revel in generating finite probabilites for
this ... claiming it makes it impossible, when in fact
being able to apply a probability (no matter how low) actually
prooves that it is possible, if unlikely.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Syamsu, posted 09-12-2002 4:06 AM Syamsu has not yet responded

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