Probability, Razors, and Definitions (a mini-essay I've started).

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Probability, Razors, and Definitions (a mini-essay I've started).

Note that this essay is not supposed to be scientifically sound, nor is it supposed to be accurate to a millionth of a degree. The point of this essay is to demonstrate probability, how occam's razor should be used, and to explain that a fallacy of definition is one of the major problems that we face against claims of Intelligent Design. I would appreciate critiques, comments, criticism, etc. This essay, again, is not supposed to be accurate. Instead it is to demonstrate a very basic principle and idea of the Big Bang and how Occam's Razor applies to it. Please excuse any formatting and spelling errors, this is a very bare first draft.


First, lets start with some basic definitions. I will be using the Meriam-Webster online dictionary as a reference for any and all definitions being used so there is absolutely no confusion.

Probability - 1: the quality or state of being probable 2: something (as an event or circumstance) that is probable 3 a (1): the ratio of the number of outcomes in an exhaustive set of equally likely outcomes that produce a given event to the total number of possible outcomes (2): the chance that a given event will occur b: a branch of mathematics concerned with the study of probabilities

Occam's Razor - : a scientific and philosophic rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities

Faith - 2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>    {The first definition on the website, not pasted here, does not apply}

Chance - 1 a: something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause b: the assumed impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings : luck <an outcome decided by chance> c: the fortuitous or incalculable element in existence

Luck - 2: favoring chance; also : success <had great luck growing orchids>

Probability and chance are not the same. Chance is representative of luck. The probability of something happening is not the same as chance. For example, the probability of a coin landing on heads is, roughly, .50... or 1 in 2. This does not mean that if we flip the coin 100 times that it will land on heads 50 times. There is a chance that it will, but it's not probable. Probabilities are not accurate. This is something that needs to be understood. They are not representative of the future, nor are they accurate for predicting the outcome of things. The probability of the coin landing on heads is 50%, however, there is a chance that it will not. If you do not understand the difference, read the definition and apply them to different sentences. "The probability of me rolling a 6 on this 10 sided dice is 1/10, however, chances are it will not."

Luck is also unrelated to probability as luck favors an outcome. For example, saying that a hole in one is lucky would be accurate. Saying that it is a probable outcome is not. Consider the following statements after seeing an amazing shot in golf, such as this: ...

"What are the chances of that?"

"What a lucky shot!"

"The probability of those events happening is very small! I am amazed that the events folded out as they did!"

As you can see, the three statements, while meaning the same thing, all ask, or state, seperate things. One asks what the probability is while still playing on the luck factor, one tosses out probability and focuses on the event, the other states that the probability of the sequence of events was very small, however, they happened anyway. While the three words can be used interchangabley in some instances, they can not in others. The places they can not be used are in both a math and science classroom.

For further information on probability, please go here:

So, what is the point of all of this? To show what scientists mean by probability. They do not mean chance, nor do they mean luck. This is a fallacy of definition, which is something many have problems with. It's understanding to commit this fallacy when words mean, roughly, the same thing as eachother or when one word has many definitions (especially archaic definitions or slang... think 'cool&#39Eye-wink. The problem, though, is that this fallacy is commited frequently and is the core of many of the misunderstandings of various positions one has regarding things like biology, weather men, and especially the tonality of instruments such as the guitar. Any musician knows what I'm talking about as many 'textural' words are used to describe sound. Things like chunky, warm, muddy, etc. Another common word people commit fallacies with is the word theory, but that is not the subject of this mini-essay.

Another error that many commit is in regards to the 'Conservation of mass', the 'Conservation of energy' and the 'Big Bang theory'. First and foremost, lets start with a very simple equation that everyone has seen and heard. E=MC(2). E=the energy equivallent to the mass. M=mass. C=The speed of light in (in a vacuum). In short, Mass and energy are two ways of representing the same thing. For more information on the Mass-energy equivalency, read here:

So, let us start with a basic understanding of what the Big Bang Theory actualy states. To sum it up simply, it states that there was great density and temperature in one spot. Density is another word for mass (in physics... which is what is being talked about) and temperature is relative to energy. As you can see, 'nothing', according to this model, never existed. There has always been mass and energy, in one form or another. This idea is very hard to grasp, however, everybody uses this idea for the universe. Regardless of your theory of how things came to be, there is always an being/force that has been around forever. And yes, forever is another word for infinite.

This is where Occam's Razor steps in and an understanding of how it should be used, as well as how it works, is required for almost all scientific and philosophical debate and conversation. Occam's Razor can be applied many ways. Why did I change the channel just now? Well, there are an infinite number of possibilities, however, which is more probable? Well, let us examine some of the reasons why I might have.

1. I was bored of what was on T.V. so I changed it to something that had the potential to be entertaining.

2. I detest a certain show that was on.

3. A Bugbear told me to do it or he would kill me.

While, yes, there are an infinite number of possibilities, I chose these three to represent a wide spectrum. Two are more probable than the other. Which can you guess is the oddball? If you said #3 then you are correct. Using probability coupled with personal experience, you've come to the conclusion that a Bugbear did not tell me what to do. This has nothing to do with knowing what a Bugbear is, what it looks like, etc. This has nothing to do with me being able to prove that a Bugbear exists, let alone was standing next to me in my house threatining me over something trivial.

How can this be applied to current popular models of how the universe (as we know it currently) came into existance? Well, lets examine three different positions.

1. The universe has always existed, simply in a different state than its current one before the Big Bang.

2. The universe was created by God in six days (whichever translation you want to use for the word day is fine) as a way to test what it created.

3. The universe was danced into existance by Nataraja (shiva in his/her dancing form) as part of its duties as a diety.

Which one of these sounds the most absurd to you? Well, let us examine them from the bottom up.

Number 3 seems the most absurd to almost everyone in the world. A dancing god with multiple forms and duties? What kind of a god is that? Anyway, let us Occam's Razor this bad boy and go back one further step than the universe. When we go back that step, we are left with some questions. Why does this god have duties? Why must it dance as a duty? Why does it create and destroy life when it dances? Who is requiring this duty? Has this being always existed? If so, then what created it?

Number 2 is the most common conclusion we see today, but does it create more questions? Well first, the idea of an ever-lasting universe is thrown out the window, so the first, and most obvious question would be if God has always existed. Has he? If so, then did something create him (etc.)?If not, why is he exempt from the creation rule? Why did he create something only to test what he created (I don't care about the issues of omni-max here as they are irrelevant to what is being demonstrated)? Why six days? Does God exist inside of the universe he created? If so, was his creation a requirement for his existance? Has time always existed because God has always existed or did he create it? If he created it, how did he exist before it?

Number 1 is the most shunned upon by most people, atleast in the U.S. So, what questions does it create? What was the state of the universe before the Big Bang? Did time time exist before the Big Bang? Did our current laws of physics exist before the Big Bang? If so, what was/were the event/s that triggered it?

There are more for all three, but these are the more important ones. With the basic understandings of what probability is, coupled with Occam's Razor and a small amount of critical thinking, we can all logically infer that #1 sprouts the least number of questions and leaves many of the other questions (such as what created this, what created that, why, etc.) and takes many of the human factors out of it... such as who and why. It simply leaves the where, how, and when.

This is very important to note when dealing with things that are supernatural or non-human. Who and why are no longer important factors to the equation, further making the probability of it happening greater. There is no luck or chance involved, simply probability. Further, the probability of something happening, while already knowing the outcome, is 100%. This is something to understand about equating the probability that life appeared somewhere... which is my next point.

When scientists calculate the probability of something happening, especially life appearing on other planets, they do not go in to it with the foreknowledge that life exists elsewhere. They take the current understanding of the processes required for life and apply it to the planet they are studying. For example, when scientists equate the probability of finding life on Europa, they know not if there is life on the planet, nor if life on other planets exist. However, they take into account the factors that go into it, such as water, and create an equation that gives them the probability of life on the planet. The same can be applied to every planet, including ours, however, we do not the exact state of the planet when life formed, nor do we know exactly when this was. We have very, very, good estimates that are probably right, however, we do not know for sure. Without this exact data, we are left with a period of time where many things could have happened, all including many different unknowns.

This, however, does not mean that it is improbable for life to form on Earth, neither does it mean that it is improbable for life to form into its current state on Earth. In fact, it has happened so it is, infact, probable that it did. Regardless of the improbability of an event occuring, if the event occured then it means that it was probable. This is where many commit the fallacy.

In regards to faith. If you have faith, you do not have evidence to support you. No scientist has faith that the theories they test are correct. They are completely indifferent (or should be) to the outcome of the test. Faith takes no place in science and has no part of science at all. Remember, the definition for faith includes believing without evidence or believing although evidence supports otherwise. This is fine. If you have faith in something then more power to you, however, because you have faith does not make it wrong. Further, because you have faith in something (or that something is wrong) does not mean what you believe should be taught anywhere by anyone at any time. Faith is just that. Faith.

While the probability that your faith is right is very very small, there is a small chance that it is... and you might be lucky, but chances are you won't be. Playing Pascal's Wager won't help you either, but that is neither here nor there.


 Questions, comments, critiques?