Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Even more on the Odds argument

What is it about calculating odds that people don't understand. It's not that tough, is it?

Over on Topix a real . . . Luddite (a classical reference) . . . posted this:

"Cliff From Florida wrote:
Natural Philosophy = Philosophy based on laws determined by philosophy.
Natural Science - Philosophy that passes the scientific method but usually gets disproven eventually anyway.
Whether you are a natural philosopher like charles darwin, or an equally philosophical natural scientist, you have no claim to any truth unless you get it from God. There is no truth except that which comes from Him.
Any scientific fact is only a scientific fact until new philosophies (evidence) are discovered (or crafted) that disproves it.
And any scientific experiment intended to conclusively dtermine any absolute truths, would have to require every single factor in the universe (an infinite amount) to be present, and the person doing te experiment would have to have infinite knowledge of every single factor from the infinitely smallest to the infinitelety largest. And with that knowledge, you would be able to determine an absolute truth. But modern science is no where near that. So all they do is guess using philosophies to try to understand life which are comstantly replaced with new and equally ignorant philosphies on a daily basis without comming at all closer to attaining absolute truth. Man lacks the capacity to determine absolute knowledge of all things in existance. We can't even remember 10,000 phone numbers much less complete knowledge of even 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,0000,000,000,000
things in the universe which is actually infinately less then infinity.
For example to make any absolute statement in truth about molecules you would have to have complete knowledge and understanding of not just 1 but every molecule in existance. And we lack that capacity. So complete knowledge of every molecule, atom, and quark, are just the beginning. We'd have to know everything else also. And that is not likely to happen through science/natural philosophy.
The Correct Way to go about it is to ask The One who made everything in existance, the one who keeps the trillions of laws that govern the universe not just every second, or every billionth of a second, or even a trillionth of a second, but the one who keeps the universe running constantly even to the innfinately smallest fraction of a second.
Still not convinced? Lets examine the odds that every law in the universe would remain constant even for 2 trillionths of a second. being that there are over 100 trillion laws in place we'll say just 1,000 laws governing the universe to make this more relative. So here are the odds.
for every .000000000001/second you will have to guess the correct random number between 1 and 1,000 and get the correct number every time.
in other words.
"Quick roll the 1,000 sided dice and hope it lands on 1, wow it landed on 1! Let's hope it does it again!"
"Quick roll the 1,000 sided dice and hope it lands on 1, wow it landed on 1! Let's hope it does it again!"
"Quick roll the 1,000 sided dice and hope it lands on 1, wow it landed on 1! Let's hope it does it again!"
And it would have to be correct at least a trillion times per second, and never guessing incorrectly even once.
This is the logic of the philosophers trying to support a Godless universe."
Anyone else see a basic problem here? Aside from the spelling and grammar errors (which I am frequently just as guilty of making) but the fact he is making a claim that the only reason the Universe works at all is because God has his hand on the control levels and keeps making minor corrections every few trillionths of a second . . . Sounds like the makings of a bad sci-fi movie. "OMG the laws of physics are out of kilter . .God must have fallen asleep at the switch! We're all gonna die unless someone goes and wakes him/her up! This is a job for 'Santa Claus'!" OK, maybe a bad spoof of a sci-fi movie.

OK, but on to my topic, the Odds, some simplified stats for Chad's (a less than classical reference) like Cliff here.

How does one calculate the odds or any occurrence. Well for your calculation to have any validity at all you need to know a few things. Let's take a simple deck of playing cards. 52 cards, 4 suits, ranging from Ace to King (or Two to Ace for purists), no jokers, nothing is wild. Take that simple deck and follow this simple recipe:
Now, without knowing the value of the card, can you tell me the odds of any specific card coming up? Hopefully since we are dealing with 52 different cards, the odds are 1:52, that is there is one chance out of 52 possibilities of a certain card being dealt. If you disagree with that . .you really need some basic Math before you even try a stats class.

The real question is how do we know this? We know it because we know some very specific variables about our problem. We know there are 52 cards, we know we dealt just one out. The calculation is pretty easy. So let's continue:

Again, we knew the odds of the card being the Ace of Hearts because we not only knew the number of cards, but the value of the one we were after. You have to know these things to be able to calculate anything other than a Wild-Ass Guess (WAG). OK, let's continue:
What are the odds of this card being the Ace of Spades? 1:51! We know this because we already removed one card, so the odds change because the number of cards is different. Of course the odds of it being some other card is 50:51. OK, let's try something else.
Simply stated, it would be impossible because I gave you a single deck of Pinochle cards (48 cards, 9 to Ace, 2 of each suit. You see the odds calculation is meaningless if you do not know the parameters. So exactly what are the parameters folks like Cliff like to use? Who knows! They can make up anything they like, because they are meaningless!!

Let's try one last thing. Take the regular deck of cards, shuffle up all 52 and deal out the entire deck face up. You can see that the deck is in a very specific order. Now what are the odds of those cards being in that specific order? Pretty high, actually it's 52! (52 factorial), that is 1*2*3 . . .*52. A huge number.

I need you to think about a couple of things. This particular number doesn't do you much good. Before you dealt the cards out, you didn't have a specific order in mind, so the odds of the cards being in SOME order was actually 100%. The odds of them being in this specific order was astronomical. So if you are planning to run out and buy a Lotto ticket because you just beat astronomical odds . . . don't. You haven't beaten the odds. Sure the cards are in that specific order, but the odds only mean anything if you shuffle up the cards and deal them out again, looking for that same order.

Life is like that. We cannot calculate the odds of human beings being here right now because even if the odds seem high, they are meaningless, we are here. Since we are here, the number is worthless.
I do have a couple of suggestions for those who insist on making the argument. First go learn what odds are and how to calculate them. Cliff from Florida, you need some Basic Math help first. Second please remember what is needed to determine viable and valid odds. If you don't have all the pieces then all you are doing is making a WAG, or even a SWAG. Defending such a calculation does little to enhance your own credibility.

No comments:

Post a Comment