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# Evolutionists improbable becoming probable argument

Author Topic:   Evolutionists improbable becoming probable argument
mike the wiz
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 Message 1 of 98 (907196) 02-19-2023 8:12 AM

Evolutionists have classically argued that if something is not a matter of being intrinsically impossible that therefore it's a matter of probability and that no matter how improbable eventually the event will become probable. (A classic argument from probability) (given the numbers and time are there, OBVIOUSLY. Why should I say things that go without saying? To counter the trolls that look for you missing things! I don't miss them, I just don't type every thought out do I? Obvious really isn't it?)
However I question the conditional premise that, "if something is improbable eventually it will become probable given enough time and numbers".
Imagine there is a commode. It has a bucket underneath. It is locked so the chair can't be moved away from it. The bucket is sealed. Above it (for the sake of pretending) there is an ornament on a shelf. This is in a forest. The commode is made of brittle wooden material that rots real quick.
There is a padlock so the bucket can't be opened. It has a four digit pin. The chances of guessing it are 1 in 10,000. But also you must tap in the four digits within three seconds or the padlock will not open. Then you have to tap in another correct pin of again four digits, again within three seconds. 1 in 100 million.
What (specifically) are the chances of the pin being typed in randomly by some cause, whatever it is, and the ornament falling into the bucket once the bucket is loosed, again randomly?
Is it possible? Yes, it is not intrinsically impossible because there is nothing in physics preventing the scenario from happening.
The numbers are so large that basically the specifically stated scenario, will not ever happen.
Objection; it may happen given enough time and numbers.
Counter objection; the commode frame is made from brittle wooden material and will decay and collapse before that amount of time or numbers passes.
You object; then it's impossible.
Counter objection; no, it is not intrinsically impossible because physics doesn't prevent the scenario. It is possible to punch in the pins, and it is possible for the ornament to fall in the bucket, for all you need is the force necessary. It is not impossible in the sense of a square also being a circle or a six foot man being two foot at the same time as being six foot. (please dispense with the smart-ass pedantic equivocations such as, "maybe he's bent over in a chinese dragon costume". Sorry, just won't ever be impressed with transparent, predictable pseudo-retorts but one thing they do achieve is boring the dung out of me because I see them coming three miles away.)
The scenario is possible, and yet here is the point; even if it is improbable, it will not follow that it will become more probable. It is more probable the commode will rot. (it is guaranteed it will rot under the usual circumstances)
Much, much, much, much more probable. The kind of difference between comparing the chances of you winning the lottery jackpot five consecutive times and the chances of NOT winning it five consecutive times. No rational person would believe that the chances are even comparable given the gulf is so vast. It's 1 in 1 versus 1 in a bazillion. (I know it's not really 1 in 1. YAWN!!!!!)
Conclusion; improbable things, superbly improbable things, are more to be equated with FALSE things, when they reach a stage whereby more probable things will simply always prevent the chain from occurring because reality simply makes those things so probable as to be almost guaranteed such as the sun rising tomorrow.
Abiogenesis is one of those unreal things. Ergo, it reasonably didn't happen, ergo evolution reasonably didn't happen.
Imagine you had to get a heads on a coin toss one billion billion times consecutively. More probable events would be so much more abundant that even calling it an "improbability" only works in theory, not in practice. It's only really a technicality to call it improbable, in a practical way it's more that it's impossible even if not technically impossible. Perhaps we can call this, "reasonably impossible".
Remember, this example can't become more probable over time, for the commode would rot within say two years and even if a person was guessing the two consecutive combinations it might take them much longer but we are not including attempts to unlock it in terms of representing teleology since arguments for abiogenesis don't include intelligent agents.
This 100% proves you can have an improbable event NOT become more probable and to assume that you would have to REMOVE all abundantly probable things that stop that event from occurring. In other words; UNREALITY. In that sense some things are so staggeringly improbable it's more reasonable to call them, "false" or, "unreal" because we innately know reality simply won't allow them to occur.
Some things are so staggeringly improbable they're as good as impossible. How close to "0" do you need to get? How long does the "0.00000000001" have to be?
For example will there ever be born a man that wants to run for the presidency of the united states of America because he doesn't like the fact that Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley are living lesbians that live on pluto? Is that far enough up the 0.0000000001 scale?
No?
Then let us further ask, what are the chances of him also being a professional golfer that has hole-in-ones for every single three par he has ever played?
Think about how many things in the real world would have to not happen. A wrong bounce of the ball sending it off course so it misses the hole, a gust of wind never moving it from it's trajectory.
Just admit that the thoughts of such "improbable" things happening is a fairytale notion that doesn't belong to the real world.
Conclusion; Very greatly improbable things aren't really improbable if they can only theoretically happen but the real world would never enable them to occur. The commode analogy is a good example of something which is not impossible, nor is it really improbable, in that it's better described as simply an guaranteed-to-be-unreal, hypothetical scenario.
You can invent many such hypothetic scenarios that are way, way, way more fantastical. Abiogenesis is certainly a good example of one of the most fantastical examples of this.

 Replies to this message: Message 3 by nwr, posted 02-20-2023 9:03 AM mike the wiz has not replied Message 4 by Percy, posted 02-20-2023 10:13 AM mike the wiz has not replied Message 5 by AZPaul3, posted 02-20-2023 1:42 PM mike the wiz has not replied Message 6 by Tanypteryx, posted 02-20-2023 2:45 PM mike the wiz has not replied Message 12 by Stile, posted 02-21-2023 9:11 AM mike the wiz has not replied Message 13 by Taq, posted 02-21-2023 10:57 AM mike the wiz has not replied Message 71 by Parasomnium, posted 03-01-2023 6:14 PM mike the wiz has not replied Message 75 by Parasomnium, posted 03-02-2023 1:31 AM mike the wiz has not replied

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 Message 2 of 98 (907198) 02-20-2023 7:52 AM

Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Evolutionists improbable becoming probable argument thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

nwr
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 (3)
 Message 3 of 98 (907205) 02-20-2023 9:03 AM Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz02-19-2023 8:12 AM

However I question the conditional premise that, "if something is improbable eventually it will become probable given enough time and numbers".
Nobody is arguing that.
If you want to criticize what scientists say, then you need to first understand what they are saying. Otherwise you will only be attacking a ridiculous strawman.
Abiogenesis is one of those unreal things. Ergo, it reasonably didn't happen, ergo evolution reasonably didn't happen.
Evolution does not depend on whether abiogenesis happened. So this is another bad argument.
Genesis 2:7:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Your Bible describes abiogenesis -- life from non-life. Have you abandoned your religious beliefs?

--> -->Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity --> -->

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Percy
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 Message 4 of 98 (907207) 02-20-2023 10:13 AM Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz02-19-2023 8:12 AM

mike the wiz writes:
Evolutionists have classically argued that if something is not a matter of being intrinsically impossible that therefore it's a matter of probability and that no matter how improbable eventually the event will become probable.
I recognize the issue you're trying to describe, but as nwr said, that's not really what they're saying. For one thing, they're not over-generalizing the way you are to anything improbable.
But there are certain events in life that while individually improbable become probable under normal circumstances. For example, if last year an omicron virus needed a certain mutation in order that its spike protein better evade detection by the immune systems of humans, what are the odds that it will experience it? Very tiny. Let's call the odds one in a billion, which is .000000001 or 10-9.
But an infected person has between a billion (109) and a hundred billion (1011) covid viruses in his body, and at any given instant in time there's around a million covid cases worldwide (106), that would put the total number of covid viruses worldwide at any given instant in time at a minimum of 109 × 106 = 1015 and a maximum of 1011 × 106 = 1017.
Recall that assigned odds of this specific mutation occurring in a single covid virus at 10-9, so given the huge number of covid viruses in the world at any time, the odds of this mutation occurring in at least one of them are a minimum of 1-(1 - (10-9)1015 = .9999... or effectively 1. The maximum is a decimal point followed by even more 9's, also effectively 1. The odds of this mutation occurring in at least one covid virus are a virtual certainty.
If you make the odds of the mutation even less likely, say one in a trillion or 10-12 then the answer doesn't change. It's still effectively 1. There are just so many covid viruses worldwide that beneficial mutations (for them) become a virtual certainty.
If you make the odds of this mutation small enough, say one in a quadrillion or 10-15 then the odds finally become less than effectively 1, in this case .63.
I'm feeling particularly rusty at probability today. Someone might want to check my math.
You mentioned abiogenesis several times (and confused it with evolution yet again). What step or steps in the process of abiogenesis do you consider particularly unlikely?
--Percy

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AZPaul3
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 Message 5 of 98 (907215) 02-20-2023 1:42 PM Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz02-19-2023 8:12 AM

A long winded way of saying your personal incredulity and emotion, not reality, determine your conclusions.
Abiogenesis is one of those unreal things.
You seek to define it so. That does not make it so.
And since it happened, it was not impossible or improbable at all.

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Tanypteryx
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 Message 6 of 98 (907217) 02-20-2023 2:45 PM Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz02-19-2023 8:12 AM

Mike the Pisser writes:
However I question the conditional premise that, "if something is improbable eventually it will become probable given enough time and numbers".
Can you document anyone but you saying "if something is improbable eventually it will become probable given enough time and numbers"?

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq

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NosyNed
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 Message 7 of 98 (907223) 02-20-2023 11:54 PM Reply to: Message 6 by Tanypteryx02-20-2023 2:45 PM

Quotes
It's not exactly a quote but I'm sure a number here have said that. Without any qualifications you might find times it's not true but something like it I would say is true: "if something is not impossible then if you try often enough it'll happen" Of course, you can't "try" exactly the same way each time etc., etc. but it's true enough.

 This message is a reply to: Message 6 by Tanypteryx, posted 02-20-2023 2:45 PM Tanypteryx has replied

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nwr
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 Message 8 of 98 (907224) 02-21-2023 12:18 AM Reply to: Message 7 by NosyNed02-20-2023 11:54 PM

Re: Quotes
I would say is true: "if something is not impossible then if you try often enough it'll happen"
Yes, I agree with that. But it is not what mike the wiz said.
Here are two different probability problems:
• What is the probability that a specific event will occur?
• What is the probability that any one of many possible events (of the same kind) will occur?
These are two very different questions and they they need different analysis.
mike the wiz seems to have confused those two questions, and perhaps thought that they were the same question.

--> -->Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity --> -->

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Tanypteryx
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 (2)
 Message 9 of 98 (907225) 02-21-2023 2:55 AM Reply to: Message 7 by NosyNed02-20-2023 11:54 PM

Re: Quotes
"if something is not impossible then if you try often enough it'll happen"
OK, I agree with this but that wasn't what I was asking Mike to cite, because I think he is implying that we were being deceptive. And I think that would be odder to hear someone from our side say that.
Tanypteryx writes:
Mike the Pisser writes:
However I question the conditional premise that, "if something is improbable eventually it will become probable given enough time and numbers".
Can you document anyone but you saying "if something is improbable eventually it will become probable given enough time and numbers"?
To me these two sentences are not saying the same thing and I want to know the context, because mikey's whole post stinks of distortion of our supporting evidence with strawmen probability scenarios that supposedly are of equal probability of evolution or abiogenesis or something else happening.
I'm just sick of people misusing probability theory, 1 chance per million tries doesn't mean you have to try 999,999 times before you win. The 1st or twentieth, or fiftieth try has as high a probability of being the winner as any other number. The analogy of LIFE being the same as winning a bunch of high odds lotteries in a row is purely creationists misusing math and distorting science. Trillions upon quadrillions of atoms and molecules going through chemical reactions fueled by heat from the earth and energy from the sun for a billion years swamps and completely overwhelms their silly probability calculation of life or the Big Bang or what ever other silly BS they come up with![/RANT]
ABE: And if conditions change, then something that was improbable can indeed become probable and it's dishonest for Mikey to imply this is deceptive behavior by scientists to report.

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq

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dwise1
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 Message 10 of 98 (907226) 02-21-2023 3:22 AM Reply to: Message 8 by nwr02-21-2023 12:18 AM

Re: Quotes
He's also confused on another point, the same one that Kleinman, Legend in His Own Mind, also can never understand:
He thinks that evolution works on individuals, not on populations, in that his "model" is of one single individual winning the lottery multiple times in a row. That includes the very first lottery win -- that is that we would be picking out some individual in advance to run through this probability "model". I'll have to go back and try to parse his word salad, but the usual creationist false model is to disallow any intermediate failures at winning (eg, getting heads on a fair coin flip five times in a row without getting tails at any time).
Instead, a much better model would be for any individual in the population winning the lottery, after which a population of its descendants who had inherited that lottery prize would win subsequent lotteries.

Again working with California's SuperLotto game (refer to my message, Message 868), the probability of some arbitrary individual, such as me, winning the lottery in one in some arbitrary drawing would be one in 41.4 million (2.414515×10-8). I've read somewhere that there's a much better chance of getting hit by lightning.
But that has nothing at all to do with how evolution works. Instead, we need to work out the probability of some individual, any individual in the population, winning the lottery. Choosing the population size of California to be our population size (39,000,000 is close enough -- people tend to buy more than a single ticket per drawing), that probability that someone will win the lottery in that drawing becomes about 60% (0.61), six chances out of ten, better odds than calling a single coin flip. It's about 2.5 million times more probable that what The Wiz (as in urinating) would have it.
What mike has posted has nothing to do with how evolution works, nor how life works, nor how just about anything works.
So what good is it?
At the very least he could bail sensei out by providing us with the definition of evolutionist. But he's too experienced a creationist to reveal any of their deep dark secrets, like what their terms mean or what they think evolution is or how it works, etc. Which is why they can never answer our simple questions of what the hell they're talking about. Though for some creationists, they can't answer that question because they're too stupid to even know what the answer is, not just that they're not stupid enough to expose their deception.

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NosyNed
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 Message 11 of 98 (907232) 02-21-2023 8:54 AM Reply to: Message 9 by Tanypteryx02-21-2023 2:55 AM

improbable -> probable
Ah I do see one big difference. A very low probability event that finally happens after a huge number of trails doesn't become "probable" it "happens". The particular event is still low probability but the chance of it occurring in the large number of trails becomes near one.

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Stile
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 Message 12 of 98 (907236) 02-21-2023 9:11 AM Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz02-19-2023 8:12 AM

mike the wiz writes:
Abiogenesis is one of those unreal things.
You should have spent your time making this connection.
Because this connection doesn't exist. Abiogenesis, in fact, is not one of those things.
There's nothing about Abiogenesis that makes it seem unlikely or improbable. It's basically "if a bunch of early life materials are in the same place, and energy is added - early life begins."
We know that life didn't exist at some point.
We know that a bunch of early life materials were on Earth before life existed.
We know that energy was added.
We know that life existed at a later point.
That doesn't improbable. It sounds quite likely.

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Taq
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 Message 13 of 98 (907241) 02-21-2023 10:57 AM Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz02-19-2023 8:12 AM

mike the wiz writes:
Imagine you had to get a heads on a coin toss one billion billion times consecutively. More probable events would be so much more abundant that even calling it an "improbability" only works in theory, not in practice.
Another example of ID/creationists not understanding probability.
Let's flip a coin 4 times in multiple trials.
First try: H, H, T, T
Second: T, T, T, T
Now, which is more improbable? Guess what, they are both equally probable. Any combination of H and T is going to have the same probability. For 4 flips the odds of the specific order of results is going to be 1 in 2^4, or 1 in 16. This will be true for every single trial you flip coins 4 times.
What if we flip the coins 100 times in each trial. ANY order of flips is going to have a probability of 1 in 2^100 or 1 in 1.26x10^30. All you have to do to get a result that has a probability of 1 in 1.26x10^30 is to flip a coin 100 times and record the outcome. The very fact that events occur guarantees a highly improbably outcome.
The ID/creationist trick is the Sharpshooter fallacy. This is where a shooter shoots at the broad side of a barn and then draws bulls eyes around all of the bullet holes, trying to claim that he is a great sharpshooter.
This is done all of the time in ID/creationist literature. They point to a specific genetic sequence and then calculate the odds of that sequence occurring. They paint the bulls eye around the bullet hole. Instead, they should calculate the probability of any beneficial adaptation occurring, but they never do that.
Conclusion; improbable things, superbly improbable things, are more to be equated with FALSE things, when they reach a stage whereby more probable things will simply always prevent the chain from occurring because reality simply makes those things so probable as to be almost guaranteed such as the sun rising tomorrow.
Then I shouldn't be able to flip a coin 100 times or shuffle a deck of cards according to ID/creationist logic. Both result in superbly improbable things.

 This message is a reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz, posted 02-19-2023 8:12 AM mike the wiz has not replied

 Replies to this message: Message 14 by sensei, posted 02-27-2023 7:55 PM Taq has replied

sensei
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 Message 14 of 98 (907703) 02-27-2023 7:55 PM Reply to: Message 13 by Taq02-21-2023 10:57 AM

There may be many bulls eyes, but in the large space of all possible sequencies of genes, it's really nothing. Genes have a few hundred upto two million bases.
For 100 bases, there are already more than 10^60 possible sequences. How many of these would be usefull?
And this is for the low count. For 200 bases, the number of possible sequences is already more than the estimated number of atoms in the entire universe.
For larger genes, the space grows exponentially. Do you think the number of useful sequences grows just as fast? Very unlikely, I'd say.
With 400 bases, the space is already as large as if every atom was a universe itself. And we are still at the very low end of short genes.
If anybody is not understanding probability, it's evolutionists. Do the math and evolutionists are playing a losing game.

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 Replies to this message: Message 15 by AZPaul3, posted 02-27-2023 8:05 PM sensei has replied Message 26 by PaulK, posted 02-28-2023 7:11 AM sensei has replied Message 27 by Percy, posted 02-28-2023 9:42 AM sensei has replied Message 29 by Taq, posted 02-28-2023 10:52 AM sensei has replied

AZPaul3
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 Message 15 of 98 (907704) 02-27-2023 8:05 PM Reply to: Message 14 by sensei02-27-2023 7:55 PM

quote:
However, the back-of-the-envelope probability arguments that have appeared in the creationist-intelligent design literature do not help unravel these profound questions, because these arguments are riddled with severe errors that would disqualify them from rigorously peer-reviewed journals in the evolutionary biology field, not because of their implication for evolution (pro or con), but instead because such reasoning is well-known to be invalid in numerous other contexts. These difficulties include:
1. Presuming an utterly unrealistic and patently false probability model, such as presuming that all instances of a 141-long amino acid sequence are equally likely to occur in a real organism, so that the probability of any particular instance is merely the reciprocal of the total number of theoretical possibilities. Such reckonings, based on enumerating theoretical possibilities rather than real empirical data, have no credibility.
I told you at the start that this forum has a lot of experience with refuted creationists arguments. The whole slate of creationist probability fantasies are part of that. This paragraph is just about one. There are many more listed as fallacious in the body of the article. You should read it.
Do probability arguments refute evolution? « Math Scholar

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