Dave B wrote:I have a little expertise in math and probability. Hopefully this helps. Measuring probability after the fact is problematic. Suppose I flip a coin and it comes up heads. Now that I've done this, what is the probability that the coin came up heads? The answer is 100%. It already came up heads and that will never change. You may ask a different question, what were the chances that the coin would come up heads? That depends on the coin. Perhaps it is double-sided or weighted. Perhaps when I say I flipped the coin, I mean that I took it off the table, turned it over a few times, then placed it back heads up. Without knowing the process by which the coin arrived in its current state, it is impossible to even guess at the hypothetical chance that the flip could have turned out differently. We don't know how the constants came to be the way they are, so it's impossible to say what the chances are that they could be different.
Even worse for this argument is that we don't know how many universes there are. If there is more than one universe, then the chances of a particular universe being supportive of life need not be great for the chance of some universe being supportive of life to be great. If I told you that I flipped 10 heads in a row on a fair coin, you could rightly be suspicious, as this is has probability around one in a thousand. If I later added that I actually spent all day flipping coins until this happened and that I actually performed several thousand flips, you'd find the 10 heads in a row claim a lot less impressive. As this argument suggests, we need not even have multiple simultaneous universes for a universe supporting life to be likely. If a new universe begins any time the current single universe ends, then a universe like ours is inevitable. The only way to conclude that this argument supports the idea of a god is to reject other possibilities out of hand.
To better illustrate the fallacy of estimating probabilities without any understanding of the underlying process, consider your own existence within this universe, rather than that of this universe. If your genome were just slightly different, you would have been miscarried or died shortly after birth. Examining your genome, it contains around 3 billion base pairs, each of which could be any of 4 bases. So the probability of your genome is about one in 4 to the 3 billion, or less than one in 10 to the billion. This is the sort of calculation that people arguing for fine tuning are making. Yet against these odds, people manage to have children within their relatively short lifetimes and people are much more worried about the possibility that the world will become overpopulated than the unlikelihood of any more children ever being born. Is this because we assume that everyone's genes are fine tuned, or because we understand enough about the underlying process that there is no mystery here?
JustJim wrote:P.S. I wonder if anyone has bothered to explain those things to William Lane Craig, and how he wangled his way around it. Maybe Tony knows, since he pretty much parrots Craig....
Dave B wrote:JustJim and NH Baritone,
I'm glad you both found this useful. Probability can be confusing and counterintuitive, so it's easy to befuddle people with nonsense. If you have any followup questions, feel free to ask.
JustJim,JustJim wrote:P.S. I wonder if anyone has bothered to explain those things to William Lane Craig, and how he wangled his way around it. Maybe Tony knows, since he pretty much parrots Craig....
I predict a casual dismissal full of logical fallacies and revealing a deep lack of understanding. In particular, I'm betting on god of the gaps. Let's hope I'm proven wrong.
To better illustrate the fallacy of estimating probabilities without any understanding of the underlying process, consider your own existence within this universe, rather than that of this universe. If your genome were just slightly different, you would have been miscarried or died shortly after birth. Examining your genome, it contains around 3 billion base pairs, each of which could be any of 4 bases. So the probability of your genome is about one in 4 to the 3 billion, or less than one in 10 to the billion. This is the sort of calculation that people arguing for fine tuning are making. Yet against these odds, people manage to have children within their relatively short lifetimes and people are much more worried about the possibility that the world will become overpopulated than the unlikelihood of any more children ever being born. Is this because we assume that everyone's genes are fine tuned, or because we understand enough about the underlying process that there is no mystery here?
Wheelman wrote:3000 years ago (or maybe even more recently) Tony might be the guy saying tides go in, tides go out. Never a miscommunication. Can't explain that. The only rational, reasonable, logical explanation is goddidit.
Wheelman wrote:p.p.s Congrats to Emery on the future twins! You'll be my hero if you can raise two and still keep up this cast. I raise one and can barely find time to comment.
WinstonNoble wrote:And what about the auto-tuning argument made famous by Faheem Rasheed Najm? Emery, you and Tony definitely should have brought this up!
Without knowing the process by which the coin arrived in its current state, it is impossible to even guess at the hypothetical chance that the flip could have turned out differently. We don't know how the constants came to be the way they are, so it's impossible to say what the chances are that they could be different.
Steven Hawking wrote:Our universe seems to be one of many, each with different laws. That multiverse idea is not a notion invented to account for the miracle of fine tuning. It is a consequence predicted by many theories in modern cosmology. If it is true it reduces the strong anthropic principle to the weak one, putting the fine tunings of physical law on the same footing as the environmental factors, for it means that our cosmic habitat—now the entire observable universe—is just one of many.
tonyenglish7 wrote:Dave,Without knowing the process by which the coin arrived in its current state, it is impossible to even guess at the hypothetical chance that the flip could have turned out differently. We don't know how the constants came to be the way they are, so it's impossible to say what the chances are that they could be different.
Yes, I also studied statistics and probability in college a long time ago and we studied the very example you are giving. Yet this kind of study is done all the time. For example, in a murder scene. The guy had a knife and his wife is dead on the floor with 13 stab wounds. His defense? I accidently fell against her. Thirteen times... You do not have other events to compare it too. It only happened once. Specifically because it happened only once and because the chances are so small that you would fall 13 times against your wife while carrying a knife, it is logical to reject the criminal defense.
In the same way, Roger Penrose, an famous Oxford physicist calculated the odds of the low entropy to 10 to the 10 to the 123. I am sure had the same college level statistics class that you had. P.C.W. Davies another famous astrophysics' professor has calculated that changes in the weak force by one part in 10 to the 100 would have prevented a life permitting universe. Stephen Hawkings calculated the expansion rate of the big bang by one part in a hundred thousand million million, one second after the big bang, would have prevented the universe from either having galaxies or expanding at all.
These scientist are not Christians, not followers of Craig, and fully understand statistics. They all agree with fine tuning....
If you are going to reference Hawking's name, you should be a little more forthright with his ideas
You do not have other events to compare it too.
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