# IF EVOLUTION FAILS

121 posts / 0 new

That is what I'm asking but not in the way you're putting it. I am asking for the probability of something occurring in the first place, not after its already occurred. That uncertainty needs to be based on what we know, and what we know is that life has only emerged a single time.

In order to calculate the probability of a coin flip, you need to know that both sides have a fair chance. I assume you do so by looking at previous trials. If I give you a coin that only lands heads, the probability isn't .5 anymore even if its still a coin. So you need to base probabilities on previous information. when it comes to life emerging, its an event that as far as we know has only happened once. If the universe is 13 billion years old, then we know life can only happen once every 13 billion years.

(I suppose the trials are independent. I but I don't care what the trials are, you can decide that for yourself. I'm saying that since its a single event, the more trials you add the less probable it becomes. You can pick your poison as to what your trial is).

Ah, okay I misread you then, I apologize (on my previous response.)

Okay, back to my John example.

I only know of one John for sure, so I then draw the conclusion: well 100 billion people humans with names lived and died. But I only know of one John, and so since I only know for sure of one John, The odds of another person being named John is 1 in 100 billion?

That seems rather faulty way to arrive at a conclusion to me.

You are right, we lack information. The only thing we know for sure beyond guesses is that earth has life. But to me then the conclusion should be. "we do not know" we lack information to draw a meaningful conclusion. It also most certainly means we can not draw other conclusions in the absence of information to try and explain the lack of information.

We can certainly speculate, based on available information to us, on the possibilities, but the way to go about that is to use the strongest available information to us. Information that we observed and can test etc.

We should not conclude: well since we only know of one John, we must explain this rarity of John name, that: there is this mysterious deity that decides all names of everyone and whispers that name into the parent's ears, oh, by the way should worship it, and this magical naming power is proof that this deity exists.

That's not a faulty conclusion. It only seems faulty to you because you already know there are more John's around. Replace John with a name like "%^&%*&^%*&^" and suddenly it makes sense. An event that occurs only once (and possibly never again) is the least probable event there is. Anything less than that and you have an event that can't occur at all.

"We can certainly speculate, based on available information to us, on the possibilities," -exactly, and that's what probabilities are.

"but the way to go about that is to use the strongest available information to us. Information that we observed and can test etc." -exactly, and what we have observed as far and wide as the eye can see, is that life only emerged once.

Lastly, I don't care how you explain the rarity. However, the probabilities we are talking about assume random chance. When you remove randomness, and replace it with intentionality, then the likelihood of life emerging goes up. A plane tearing down the Twin Towers is also an even that occurred only once, its also very improbable. However, there was intentionality behind it, not randomness.

John 6IX Breezy - That uncertainty needs to be based on what we know, and what we know is that life has only emerged a single time.

Clearly what you said is false.

It seems you want to determine the probability of a success empirically, by examining the outcomes of previous trials. But you don't know the number of trials or the number of successes, so your idea is doomed.

Your notion that increasing the number of trials decreases the probability of a success also depends on you knowing the number of successes and trials; again, you don't have that data.

edit: I guess while I was typing this, LogicForTW beat me to the punch :P

How is it false? Do you know of life emerging elsewhere at any other time? No? Then what we know is that life has only emerged a single time.

Put it this way. Given that Earth is the only place known to have life and possibly the only place that does:

Yellow- Planets with life.
Blue- Total number of planets

P(A) = Yellow/Blue

P(A) = 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000+

The denominator is a google guess of how many planets there are in the universe. The + is there because as more planets are found that don't show signs of life, that number grows.

You can do that with any other variable. Time:

P(A) = Years during which life emerged/Total number of years+

Again, we only know of one time during which life emerged, and it occurred some 3.5 billion years ago. Every year that passes, makes the denominator larger.

I forget how the theory of how life began goes, but lets just pretend it has to do with organic compounds.

P(A) = Number of times a change in a compound lead to life / Total number of changes that compounds undergo.

The list goes on.

John 6IX Breezy - Then what we know is that life has only emerged a single time.

LOL, you don't know that. You only know that life has emerged 1 or more times. You should really abandon this non-sense. This is not how probability is done, it is not how statistics is done. It is madness.
---------------------------------------

John 6IX Breezy - P(A) = Number of times a change in a compound lead to life / Total number of changes that compounds undergo.

Given that, the probability for life forming 1 or more times would be 1 - (1 - P(A))^n; where n is the number of compounds. In what you posted n = 1; which is exactly the mistake I was discussing earlier that apologists seem to be fond of.

Notice that as n increases, the probability of life forming increases. Worse still: no one knows how many compounds (or planets, or atoms, or the volume) are in the universe. All you can do it put a lower bound on it.

Me, "what we know is that life has only emerged a single time."
You, "You only know that life has emerged 1 or more times."

You're saying the same thing. But you don't know if it has emerged "or more times" no one does. That's why we are trying to ascribe a probability to it. We only know of one instance, that's it.

Secondly, what? Perhaps I'm forgetting my math, but I can't solve something that doesn't have an equal sign "1 - (1 - P(A))^n" so no I didn't notice that as n increases so does the probability. P(A) stays the same. Shouldn't that look like this at the very least:

P(A) = .05^n

It wouldn't hurt to explain what you just did.

I'll write it more explicitly:

• Given: the probability of a success on any given trial is P(a).
• The probability of getting 1 or more success on n trials is Q(P(a),n), where n is a natural number.
• Q(P(a),n) = 1 - (1 - P(a))^n
• As n increases, Q increases.

We are assuming that P(a) is finite positive and the trials are independent.

Looks like nonsense to me.

John 6IX Breezy - Looks like nonsense to me.

1. Given: P(a) is the probability of a success in any given trial.
2. The compliment of the line above is 1 - P(a); and is the probability there will not be a success in a given trial
3. If there are two trials, the probability there are 0 successes is [1 - P(a)] * [1 - P(a)]
4. We can rewrite the above line as [1 - P(a)]^2
5. If there are five trials, the probability there are 0 successes is [1 - P(a)] * [1 - P(a)] * [1 - P(a)] * [1 - P(a)] * [1 - P(a)]
6. We can rewrite the above line as [1 - P(a)]^5
7. Therefore, if there are n trials, the probability there are 0 successes is [1 - P(a)]^n
8. The compliment of the line above is 1 - [1 - P(a)]^n; and is the probability of not getting 0 successes in n trials.
9. The above line can be rephrased as: the probability of getting one or more successes in n trials.

edit: Which step is the step you are having trouble with?

What's the purpose of finding the compliment, and then finding the compliment of the compliment?

John 6IX Breezy - What's the purpose of finding the compliment, and then finding the compliment of the compliment?

It's a common trick when finding the probability of something is difficult. Often finding the complement is easier, then just take the complement of the complement to get the value of what you originally wanted.

So basically 1 - [1 - P(a)]^n is the same saying P(a)^n

The only problem I have with this, is that I've been using the trials themselves to find the probability. So P(a) = 1/n
Where the number of years, number of planets, number of compounds, can represent a trial (n).

Otherwise what your formula is saying, would need to invoke multiple universes. Where each universe is a new trial in the conventional sense. Since I'm treating the known universe as whole to be a dice, and our planet as one side of that dice.

John 6IX Breezy - So basically 1 - [1 - P(a)]^n is the same saying P(a)^n

No, that is wrong. Consider the following simple case where n = 2:
---------------------------
1 - [1 - P(a)]^n:

• n = 2 --->>> 2P(a) - [P(a)]^2

---------------------------
P(a)^n:

• n = 2 --->>> [P(a)]^2

---------------------------
They are clearly not the same. Also [P(a)]^n is the probability of have n successes in n trials. Which is not what we are looking for.

Right, but this is because you added n trials to the compliment, and then took the compliment of that. Let's add numbers, and base it off two trials

P(a) = .8
P(a)^2 = .64

Right? So the compliment of .8 is .2

[1 - P(a)] = [1 - (.8)] = .2

The probability of the compliment after two trials is where it stops making sense to me.

[1 - (.8)]^2 = .04

The compliment of that should be back to the original .64 but it isn't. Its .96

1 - [1 - (.8)]^2 = 1 - (.2)^2 = 1 - .04 = .96

It only makes sense if you take the compliment of the compliment after you've accounted for trials.

1 - {1- [P(a)^2]} = 1 - [1 - (.8^2)] = 1 - (1 - .64) = 1 - .36 = .64

OK I'll translate what you wrote into English and we'll see how it goes:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

John 6IX Breezy - P(a) = .8

OK for the sake of argument we are starting with the probability of success on any given trial being .8 (or 80%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

John 6IX Breezy - P(a)^2 = .64

Therefore the probability of 2 successes in 2 trials is 0.64 (64%).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

John 6IX Breezy - [1 - P(a)] = [1 - (.8)] = .2

The probability of 0 successes in 1 trial is .2 (20%).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

John 6IX Breezy - [1 - (.8)]^2 = .04

The probability of 0 successes in 2 trials is 0.04 (4%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

John 6IX Breezy - 1 - [1 - (.8)]^2 = 1 - (.2)^2 = 1 - .04 = .96

The probability of NOT getting 0 successes in 2 trials is .96 (96%). Re-phased: the probability of getting 1 or MORE successes in 2 trials is 0.96 (96%). Notice this is a different statement than the probability of getting 2 successes in 2 trials mentioned earlier.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
So to sum it up:

1. The probability of getting 1 or more successes on 2 trials is 0.96
2. The probability of getting 2 successes on 2 trials is 0.64
3. The probability of getting 0 successes on 2 trials is 0.04

John 6IX Breezy - I've been using the trials themselves to find the probability. So P(a) = 1/n

It would be P(a) = x/n. When you plugged in 1 for x you are making shit up. You are fabricating data, which is a form of academic dishonesty. Luckily this isn't a University, as you would have just torpedoed your career.

"When you plugged in 1 for x you are making shit up."

You have to plug 1 for x because we only know of 1 instance in which life occurred, and it may very well be the only instance there is. Feel free to plug 2 for x the moment you find life elsewhere in the universe.

P(a) = (1 + x) / n is probably a better formula. Where x may very well be 0

John 6IX Breezy - You have to plug 1 for x because we only know of 1 instance in which life occurred

There is nothing else I can say on the issue without just flaming you. What you have said is the most incorrect thing I've seen in weeks. It is asinine; pure madness. Stop the insanity.

And yet that is what probabilities are: an inference into an unperformed experiment. To make matters worse, ever day that goes by, and every new inch of the universe we uncover (the performed experiments) validates that that x = 1.

In a way, yeah. But when you don't have a value, you need to leave it as a variable; which is kind of what makes the subject difficult. What you don't do is just make up data you don't have.

Right, but its not making up data, its using the available data. We know we're here and we're alive. If you said there's ten planets with life or zero that would be making up data.

However, the probability I'm giving is sort of a default, baseline number. That probability decreases with each passing hour, and each new planet that doesn't have life. But it also has the potential to increase with every planet discovered to have life.

My conclusion since the beginning have been:

1. So far the (assumed) probability is as low as it can possibly get; because in an entire universe we only know of one instance of life.
2. That probability is decreasing with each planet we find that doesn't have life.

The precise probability doesn't interest me. What interest me is its movement, and whether these two conclusions are correct. From what we've gone over, it seems that they are.

What you are doing is called the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. And honestly, it is the most egregious example I've ever seen.

Consider the problem:

Your friend declares that he has invented a new game. This game uses a custom deck of cards that he has constructed. He tells you there are 100 cards in the deck. You haven't seen any of them, but then you turn over the top card and it says "leather shirt". What is the probability of drawing a "leather shirt" again if you reshuffle the deck?

That's not the Texas sharp shooter fallacy what on earth?
The chances of drawing a leather shirt again are unknown.
What isn't unknown is that the chances of having drawn the first leather shirt were at least 1/100

John 6IX Breezy - What isn't unknown is that the chances of having drawn the first leather shirt were at least 1/100

See that isn't what you told us before. Before you were arguing that P = 1/n instead of P>= 1/n.

Because I thought It'd be obvious. I did clarify that above by saying P(a) = (1 + x) / n

I'm Christian remember? I believe in God and angels and other created planets. My worldview requires the numerator being greater than one. Your worldview however, doesn't.

John 6IX Breezy - My worldview requires the numerator being greater than one.

Clearly it does not:

John 6IX Breezy - P(A) = 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000+

Wow, and you're back to this approach. At least it was a good run.

You could go a long way towards stopping me from pointing out contradictions, by simply not contradicting yourself.

I'm not contradicting myself. I'm contradicting your perception of what I'm saying. A perception that is bound to be the least charitable one, given that my worldview opposes yours.

Regardless, whenever you think someone is contradicting themselves, the first question you should ask is "What am I not understanding?" Because odds are, the contradiction doesn't exist in the speaker's mind, it exists in yours.

## Pages

Donating = Loving

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.