# Probability Help!!

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Probability Help!!

I've often encounted this arguement in creationist literature, but I've never really understood it enough to debate it. Could someone shed some light and help me dissect this into something more simple?
A friend took a class in Christian college called, "Nucleosynthesis in Stellar Processes"
The argument of that class was this....(and these are my friends words)....

"to believe in chance or spontaneous creation one must believe that the right number of atoms of the right six elements came together accidentally (thousands of them) at the right time, at the right place, in exactly the right sequence, omitting from their number all atoms from all other 86 elements in nature, to form one protein molecule.

"Then consider the fact that there are millions of protein molecules in the most simple cell. These millions of molecules and other particles of the cell would also need to be formed at the same place and the same time. But then you'd still have dead proteins in a dead cell."

"The nucleus of the atom consists of particles called neutrons and protons. The neutrons have no electrical charge and are therefore neutral. But the protons have positive charges. Another law of electricity is that like charges repel each other. Being that all of the protons in the nucleus are positively charged they should repel each other and scatter into space. But there is a force, not yet understood, which holds them in the center. The electrons whirling about the circumference of the atom also pull on the protons to break the nucleus apart."

It is IMPOSSIBLE for dead matter (where did the matter come from in the first place?) to form itself into a living cell. It would also be impossible for an atom to form itself. AND do this billions of times over and over to come up with the exact same approximate ingredients each time?

Charles-Eugene Guye, (Swiss physicist who studied the area between living and inanimate matter) calculated the probability of the accidental or spontaneous creation of a SINGLE protein molecule on earth. He said once in 10 to the 243rd power. That's 10 followed
by 243 zeros. That's millions of billions of years for the sleight chance of forming one molecule. But then you'd still have a dead molecule.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce

the_avenging_bucket
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If you win the lottery,

If you win the lottery, would you say: 'damn the odds of me winning the lottery is rediculous, therefore i didn't win' or would you say 'wooohoooo!!!!'

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Sweet and to the point. I

Sweet and to the point. I like it and I'll use that. What about the science though? Help me pick this thing apart.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce

Voided
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Really all you need to do is

Really all you need to do is point out how retarded it is to say it is impossible for something to happen then give a probability of it happening... If its just the probability then the_avenging_bucket still kicks the shit out of it. The only thing that could make it sound better is to use big words and that is just show. Plus if you use words they don't understand you may lose them.

For more science though look at http://www.talkorigins.org/ they have a list of creation arguments and how to rip them apart.

DrFear
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"to believe in chance or spontaneous creation one must believe that the right number of atoms of the right six elements came together accidentally...

the word accident implies an intent. if you are carrying a tray of drinks and you 'accidentally' spill them, you did not intend to spill them. you intended to keep them intact. the 'accident' was perpetrated by forces outside your reckoning; you never accounted for the possibility that you might not deliver those drinks unhindered.

(thousands of them) at the right time, at the right place, in exactly the right sequence,

i assume that your 'thousands of them' refers to an assumption that this chance process had to occur many times at once in order to form a full life form. this is false. all that needed to occur were the formations of the basic elements of life forms, such as simple amino acids and lipids (you may wish to confer with John Stamos and Bob Saget on this, as someone has seen fit to credit them in the related wikipedia article.)
after these elements of life had become prevalent, then they may have easily combined to form the more complex molecular structure of a complete cell.

omitting from their number all atoms from all other 86 elements in nature, to form one protein molecule.

and thus, it is easily explained how a protein molecule was not formed spontaneously. along with the rest of your friend's argument.
the theistic approach to the origin of life lacks, and i say lacks with so much emphasis....it's ridiculous....lacks any comprehension of the literally motherfucking TENS OF BILLIONS OF YEARS that encompass the formation of the universe, planets, stars, orbits, atmospheres, molecules, climates, terrains, and eventually life. seriously...13 BILLION years........spontaneous has absolutely nothing to fucking do with it.
it's friday, i'm shitfaced drunk and i can comprehend it, and talk somewhat coherently about it. what exactly is the confusion?

Fear is the mindkiller.

brainman
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Think about this. When you walk into a medium sized lecture hall with 60 people in the class and sit down on the first day, there was a 8.3 X 10^81 chance that you'd all pick those seats. Pretty unlikey odds, but there they all sit. If you try and calculate this for a class with 100 students on a TI-83+ it's too big for the calculator to handle. Yet there are classes with over 100 students in them, and they all end up sitting down without an implosion of improbability.

Further, there have been studies where researchers have put basic components of life into an environment similar to what would have been in a primodial ooze, of sorts, and waited to see what happend. After only a very short time, basic organic compounds had been formed, which are the precursor of life. I don't remember what the name of the study was or where to find it. If someone else does that would be great.

darth_josh
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Sagan illustrated this in

Sagan illustrated this in one of the 'Cosmos' shows.

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darth_josh
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Cosmos Show #9 after

Cosmos Show #9 after ordering an apple pie and littering on the campus. lol.

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Dr Stanley

Dr Stanley Miller
1953
Created amino acids by passing an electric current through a "soup", thought to be at least similar to what might have been present in "prebiotic" times. And thank you for the classroom analogy. That's the type of example I was looking for.
But, Sweet Evil Jesus, I suck at math!
Now I just need to figure out how the hell you got those numbers; 8.3 and 10^81, with 60 people. If you don't feel like teaching me what is probably elementary math, you most certainly don't have to.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce

brainman
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So here's a really down and

So here's a really down and dirty look at probability.

First there is a concept of a permutation, which is represented as P.
Okay, so P=n!.

So for example, say you have a 3 books and you want to know how many ways you can arrange them on a shelf. Well that would be P=n! which becomes P=3!, which is P=6. So there are 6 ways to arrange them.

Now if you have the same set of 3 books {A B C} and you wanted to know how many ways you could make sets of just 2 books from the original set, we could introduce the concept of nPr, where n is the sample size and r is the number of elements at a time you want to take.

So you get nPr=(n!)/(n-r)!, which becomes 3P2=6. So it turns out that there are 6 ways to arrange 2 of the 3 books at any given time. So for example you could have {A B} {B A} {A C} {C A} {B A} {B C}. Order does matter with permutatios.

So the next question is what is the change that you'd get one of these 6 combinations? Say you drew on 6 note cards and put them in a hat, and randomly drew them from the hat? You'd have a 1 in 6 shot at drawing one of the cards.

So with a classroom of 60 people, you can have P=60! permutations, in which P=8.3X10^81. So if you have that many permutations, then what is your chance of getting just one of those? It would have to be 1 in 8.3X10^81 chance of getting that certain configuration of students.

Another example I thought of today would be with one of these mega-churches that seat like 10,000 people. So if a guy walks into the church and sits down randomly, what was the chance that he sat there? Well if there were 10,000 seats, then it would be 1 in 10,000. So what is the chance that say a 8,000 people sat down in there seats at that church to make that particular configuration? Well, there were 10,000 seats, and 8,000 people sat down. So assuming the empty seats don't count, you'd get the following equation:

10,000P8,000 = (10,000!) / (10,000 - 8,000)!

That number is so big that I don't think anything less than a supercomputer can do it....luckily, my computer is pretty close to a supercomputer ....and the answer is that the probability of that happening is 1 in 8.6X10^29,923...that's a 10 with 29,923 zeros behind it......and yet....at churches and concerts people arrange themselves into these very improbable configurations.

brainman
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Oh, and by the way, they've

Oh, and by the way, they've created protiens as well since the Miller experiment. Just don't remember who did it.

**************EDIT*************

And just to add this in, too. Here's an abstract from a paper I just saw. I thought the quote on how "there are millions of proteins" in the simplest cell was odd....

"There is a major disparity between the number of polysomal mRNA species found in mammalian cells and the number of polypeptides detected by high-resolution two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Here we show that technical factors are not responsible for the relative paucity of proteins, and that the translation products of rare mRNAs would be easily detectable if all mRNAs were translated in proportion to their abundance. We conclude that a large majority of rare mRNAs are translated at no more than a tenth the average translation rate, if they are translated at all. There may be no more than 2000 physiologically significant primary gene products (polypeptides) in a typical mammalian cell."

PMID: 7074868 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

triften
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These arguments assume a

These arguments assume a large modern protein must form. There are much smaller self-replicating molecules that can form.

I'll sum things up:

A ligase peptide is self-replicating and only 32 amino acids long. The odds of it "randomly" assembling is (1/20)^32 = 1 in 4.29 x 10^40. Seems very small but keep in mind that one kilo of amino acids has about 10^24 molecules. Trials aren't occuring one at a time, they are occuring inmassive parallel.

The amount of water on the Earth is on the range of 10^24 liters and if this was a weak solution (the FAQ uses 1 x 10^-6 M), you'd have about 10^50 potential trials.

We know that lightning can create amino acids from soups of methane and such. We know that comets can contain basic polymers like formaldehyde.  Some creationsists use personal incredulity to say that "Lightning would have to strike continuously for x weeks etc., etc." The Earth was hotter so it's very plausible that there was a lot more evaporation and precipitation and so a lot more lightining.

-Triften

Ig
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Whenever I get the

Whenever I get the ridiculous probability crap I always come back with it's impossible for you to be here talking to me. Think about all the chance meetings in human history for you to be here. What if one of your ancestors in each generation left the house 1 second later? They may never have met the person who they produced a child with. What if when one was a kid he went down a path that totally changed what school he went to, what he studied? Might have met someone else in school or whatever. What if he stayed for one more drink? There are millions of circumstances. Multiply that by however many generations. Add in millions sperms. What are the odds that each time one of your ancestors was born the exact sperm fused with the egg? When you look at it this way, the odds are astronomical that you where ever born but you WHERE born!

Turn it around on them like that.

Vastet
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I've often encounted this arguement in creationist literature, but I've never really understood it enough to debate it. Could someone shed some light and help me dissect this into something more simple?
A friend took a class in Christian college called, "Nucleosynthesis in Stellar Processes"
The argument of that class was this....(and these are my friends words)....

"to believe in chance or spontaneous creation one must believe that the right number of atoms of the right six elements came together accidentally (thousands of them) at the right time, at the right place, in exactly the right sequence, omitting from their number all atoms from all other 86 elements in nature, to form one protein molecule.

"Then consider the fact that there are millions of protein molecules in the most simple cell. These millions of molecules and other particles of the cell would also need to be formed at the same place and the same time. But then you'd still have dead proteins in a dead cell."

"The nucleus of the atom consists of particles called neutrons and protons. The neutrons have no electrical charge and are therefore neutral. But the protons have positive charges. Another law of electricity is that like charges repel each other. Being that all of the protons in the nucleus are positively charged they should repel each other and scatter into space. But there is a force, not yet understood, which holds them in the center. The electrons whirling about the circumference of the atom also pull on the protons to break the nucleus apart."

It is IMPOSSIBLE for dead matter (where did the matter come from in the first place?) to form itself into a living cell. It would also be impossible for an atom to form itself. AND do this billions of times over and over to come up with the exact same approximate ingredients each time?

Charles-Eugene Guye, (Swiss physicist who studied the area between living and inanimate matter) calculated the probability of the accidental or spontaneous creation of a SINGLE protein molecule on earth. He said once in 10 to the 243rd power. That's 10 followed
by 243 zeros. That's millions of billions of years for the sleight chance of forming one molecule. But then you'd still have a dead molecule.

The greatest flaw with every probability argument presented by creationists is that the arguer is assuming the interaction could only and did only take place in one place at one time in the entire universe, and then they figure out the mathematics of that specificity. It errantly assumes that conditions from which life could arise only ocurred once, and for a brief instant, and only in one place. The Earth alone would be capable of millions of interactions over millions of years. So divide the probabilities end ratio by 1,000,000 ^2(To be kindly conservative in it's favour. Realistically a number of 1,000,000,000^2 would be more accurate). Then you'll have a slightly more accurate probability. But that assumes that only on earth could life have arisen. By the time you cut up the probability by factoring the universe, it's turned on itself. And suddenly the chances of life not forming are billions to one against.

Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.