Fairy tales for adults (long)

Jeremy Larner jeremy.larner at dunelm.org.uk
Fri Feb 14 04:50:15 PST 2003


Björn Lindberg wrote:
> Jeremy Larner <jeremy.larner at dunelm.org.uk> writes:
> 
> 
>>>The point as I see it is not that there are a lot of things to doubt
>>>about science, as you are trying to point out -- the point is that
>>>compared to science, the Genesis simply (i) don't have any evidence
>>>for it, and (ii) is much more unlikely. Someone believeing in the
>>>Genesis as a literal account cannot be well-educated, intelligent and
>>>/acting rationally/ (I'm adding this extra qualifier, since a
>>>person can still be well-educated and intelligent and make an
>>>irrational choice of beliefs, eg based on faith), IMO.
>>>Björn
>>>
>>
>>That really does depend.  Are you allowing well-educated, intelligent
>>and 'acting rationally' people to believe in God?  Because if you are
>>that seriously skews Genesis vs. theory of origins.  According to the
>>theory of origins model, the probability of the universe ending up the
>>way it is has been estimated at 1 in 10^229.  Now I'm not a scientist,
>>but I do have some understanding of economics.  If you came to me and
>>told me you had invented a model which perfectly predicted the
>>movements in the stock market over the last twenty years, I'd be very
>>impressed. But if you told me it only worked one in every 10^229
>>times, I'd tell you to go back to the drawing board.
> 
> 
> You misunderstand what that figure really means. The figure says that
> the development of the universe culd have been such that the universe
> now existed in one of 10^229 different states. Obviously the universe
> cannot exists in more than one state (to our perception), so no matter
> how the universe would look like the chance of it being that way would
> still only be one in 10^229. That probability only says something
> about the size of the universe and nothing about the 'uniqueness' of
> it.
> 
> 
> Björn
> 

You may well be right and I could be completely misunderstanding it, but 
I thought it meant that, given that there is no intelligent design in 
the universe, and that everything is random, that's the probability that 
things would come out looking as designed as they do.  I think that's 
the point I was trying to make.  I'm not sure I understand what you mean 
by 'uniqueness'...

Actually, reading over my own post, that's not really the figure I want. 
  I was actually looking for a model calculating the probability of one 
molecule of DNA forming from amino acids, or something else which is 
more from the theory of origins, rather than the figure I quoted above 
which has more to do with randomly setting constants in physics (I 
think).  Suffice to say that the the theory of origins as a model also 
relies on some quite amazing coincidences...

Jeremy

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