Bad Math Used in Apologetics

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marco
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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by marco »

Don McIntosh wrote:
Trillions of trials frankly sounds like the work of either an intelligent agent or a program created by an intelligent agent.

A trial is just the term for an occurrence, favourable or not. When we imagine that it would take all sorts of lucky strikes to produce what we have then admittedly we are dealing with a very small probability. However, there have been oodles of time and eventually that lucky strike is expected to happen. If snowflakes fall and make a face, we need not suppose there was an intelligence behind the event.
Don McIntosh wrote:
it may be that you, Marco, have not actually said anything here. That's because, given the sheer number of login and keystroke errors committed by billions of sleepy, exhausted, drunk, drugged, and otherwise mentally impaired human beings over decades of online activity, someone was bound to eventually, and by sheer accident, log in to your account and type the message attributed to Marco above. But of course that's really nonsense and would literally be an insult to your remarkable intelligence.

Well of course unfortunate events do happen by chance. The difference between arguing about human possibilities and those that relate to cosmic origins is that in human terms we can and do statistically reject events with small probabilities. Statistical testing depends on this.
Don McIntosh wrote:

I agree that we should not read too much theology into our equations. But there is a certain ordered rationality to mathematical systems, and when they map onto physical reality the way they do it does seem to suggest a divine hand at work in the creation.

Once we have order, then particles follow paths that we can happily denote by, say, equations of conics. I agree that one explanation is to assume the existence of a Mighty Being. Since he plays no part in the subsequent arrangements of his work, it matters little whether we accept or don't accept. Of course there is the questison of gratitude but as some have pointed out, mosquitoes aren't things to be thankful for, nor earthquakes. I think the wisest thing is to say: "I know not."

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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by Guy Threepwood »

[Replying to post 64 by marco]
The second problem is that we can argue from events on Earth that some event with probability 0.00000000000000000000000000000001 won't happen, unless miraculously. This is because we are dealing with finite sample populations. When we extend our reasoning to the creation of the universe, we move towards the infinite and so an event with non-zero probability will be expected to happen at least once.
with one exception of course: the creation of anything that could ever be described as God; intelligent creator of our universe. There is presumably some safety mechanism to prevent this occurrence defeating the entire purpose of the multiverse!

That's where the whole infinite probability machine shoots itself in the foot.

Andre Linde, principle in modern inflationary theory, considers it 'feasible' in his words, that we could one day entirely reverse engineer our own universe and create another one. And so that we cannot rule out the possibility that this is how our universe came into being, in some 'alien lab experiment'

sound improbable? perhaps- but guaranteed with a multiverse of course!

so if the odds of our universe having appeared accidentally =

0.00000000000000000000000000000001

(which I would say is extremely generous)
what would you say are the odds of Andre Linde's 'feasible' scenario?
Unless they are even lower than this, it becomes the more likely explanation of the two.


Just like the rocks on the deserted island beach spelling 'HELP'- chance action of the waves is not technically impossible, it's just not the most probable explanation for the observation

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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by Jagella »

For_The_Kingdom wrote:Oh, so I guess 2+2 didn't = 4 prior to the times of Archimedes, Pythagoras, Euler, and Newton.
I don't know about that, but Archimedes and Newton get a lot of credit for the development of calculus. They didn't find calculus growing on a tree.

And as far as "2 + 2 = 4" is concerned, we have symbols created by people (Arabs): namely; 2, +, =, and 4. We have a sentence here in the human language known as "mathematics." Translated into the human language we call "English," the sentence is written: "Two plus two equals four." These symbols are being manipulated according to a rule invented by people known as "addition." The rule of addition is every bit as much a human contrivance as the "check-mate" rule in chess.

So there was no "2 + 2 = 4" before human beings made up the symbols and the rule. To say that rules like these are evidence for a mathematician in the sky is simply wrong.
"Nature events can and do result from physical necessity" <-- #1 has already taken care of this one.
Uh, no. Your "game" 1 states: "Nature created the event by random chance." Physical necessity is the opposite of chance. So you are failing to consider the possibility that nature operates according to laws that are not random.
...once you've admitted the possibility of God (a necessary being) existing, then you are simultaneously concluding that God actually exists (see Modal Ontological Argument).
I'm not sure how you are reaching this conclusion. How must the Bible god exist if its existence is possible? Why do you insist he's necessary?
...what is the probability of a god creating the universe?
We don't need to know the probability of something that has actually occurred.
In that case you are assuming what you're trying to prove.
Well, the fact that the universe exists would mean that the probability of God creating the universe is high.
I'd say that the probability of any god creating the universe is zero. Gods cannot create anything because they are fictional characters created by people.
And since the physical world cannot be past-eternal, that would make the probability of the universe existing without God impossible.
I think that some day scientists will fully explain the existence of the cosmos without recourse to belief in any gods.
The point is; the more parameters you add to the mix, the more improbable the task will become...
My point is that you're getting your math wrong. If you want to argue probabilities in your apologetics, then make sure you know what you're talking about.
...and that is a parallel to the physical constants which govern our universe, with each constant being so mathematically precise that if the value of each one was either decreased or increased, life would have never have began to exist.
Many scientists don't buy this argument. Laurence Krauss, for example, points out that at least one of these constants would make life much more probable if that constant's value was different. Besides, the vast majority of the cosmos is deadly. If Jesus fine-tuned the universe, then he did a sloppy job of it.

And why would an all-mighty god need to fine-tune the cosmos?
Do you see that? The probability is 1/10^10^123. Do the math on that one.
Assuming Penrose is right that the chance of fine-tuning equaling that number, we still need to compare it to the probability of Jesus fine-tuning the universe to see which possibility is more probable. You have failed to post that probability, and until you do, you have not made your case.
...we are talking about the probability of life occurring in the first place with no intelligence at all.

Does science help us here? No.
Actually, science is making progress in explaining the origin of life. Apologists need to get ready to come up with arguments to deny that evidence.
That is the point; it is all conceptual...but when you apply the "concept" to reality, you wind up with absurdities...which is precisely why, in the real world, you can't count "down" from infinity to zero.

And if you can't count down from infinity to zero, then how can you traverse an infinite number of past days to arrive at today? You can't do it.
You're getting your math wrong again. I'm not saying we need to "count down from infinity to zero." It's obviously impossible to do that. Again, you just start at zero, and then go back as far as you like into the negative integers. Just place the present at zero and all past times at some negative integer. Since there are an infinite number of negative integers, there is potentially an infinite number of past times.

Easy. Simple. Assuming you are willing to give up your religious predispositions.
So why can't you get to the number zero by counting (one by one) all of the negative numbers down to zero?
Just start at zero, and go back as far as you like!
Oh, so yesterday wasn't traversed to arrive at today?
LOL--of course it was, but you don't need to traverse the infinite past to get to zero. You're already at zero.
If the past cannot be infinite, then of course there is a limit to how far back we can go. What is that limit? Why is it a limit? Apologists neglect to tell us what this limit is.
Well, I am an apologist, and I will tell you what the limit is...the limit is; the beginning of time.

The beginning of time is the furthest you can go back in time.
You're again assuming what you're trying to prove. I'm asking you to demonstrate that there must be a beginning of time not to just assert it.

Let's assume that X is the number of years it is possible to go back into time. What makes X + 1 years into the past logically impossible?

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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by marco »

Guy Threepwood wrote:
with one exception of course: the creation of anything that could ever be described as God; intelligent creator of our universe.
This isn't an exception but a supposition. What I outlined comes from probability theory; God doesn't feature there.
Guy Threepwood wrote:
That's where the whole infinite probability machine shoots itself in the foot.
I have never heard that there are tragic flaws in "the probability machine" far less having it shoot itself in whatever its foot is.
Guy Threepwood wrote:
Just like the rocks on the deserted island beach spelling 'HELP'- chance action of the waves is not technically impossible, it's just not the most probable explanation for the observation

The most probable explanation is the words were created by humans. We don't call them into existence; we know they exist. This is entirely different from deducing what we see comes from beings we cannot see or understand and of whom there is otherwise no trace. God is invented as a very simple explanation of what we see around us. He bridges our ignorance, bless him.

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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by Guy Threepwood »

[Replying to post 74 by marco]
The most probable explanation is the words were created by humans. We don't call them into existence; we know they exist. .
The island is deserted, no direct evidence of any intelligent agent ever being there- the analogy merely permits the remote possibility of it - this is unfair? any fair scenario must rule intelligent agency out entirely from the get go?

At the same time, the analogy utterly grants you 100% a random mechanism fully capable of creating the result by chance. Something that is purely philosophical speculation regarding any random universe creating machines

and lastly the simple word 'HELP' is selling the universe a little short!

So the analogy is heavily biased towards a materialistic explanation, versus this reality we are trying to explain, yet remove the concept of God, and ID is clearly the superior explanation. why?

This is entirely different from deducing what we see comes from beings we cannot see or understand and of whom there is otherwise no trace.
so if SETI detected another 'wow' signal, only far more sophisticated and repeated, you would likewise dismiss this as chance by this exact same rationale?

i.e. the evidence for ID is in the information itself, regardless of how profound or distasteful the implications may or may not be in various scenarios.

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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by rikuoamero »

[Replying to post 75 by Guy Threepwood]
The island is deserted, no direct evidence of any intelligent agent ever being there
In this scenario, how do we know the island is and was deserted? By mere fiat?
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Your life is your own. Rise up and live it - Richard Rahl, Sword of Truth Book 6 "Faith of the Fallen"

I condemn all gods who dare demand my fealty, who won't look me in the face so's I know who it is I gotta fealty to. -- JoeyKnotHead

Some force seems to restrict me from buying into the apparent nonsense that others find so easy to buy into. Having no religious or supernatural beliefs of my own, I just call that force reason. -- Tired of the Nonsense

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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by Guy Threepwood »

rikuoamero wrote: [Replying to post 75 by Guy Threepwood]
The island is deserted, no direct evidence of any intelligent agent ever being there
In this scenario, how do we know the island is and was deserted? By mere fiat?
That's the analogy,

So let's say it was a nuclear test site, uninhabited for 70 years, strictly guarded off-shore, nobody ever allowed to set foot since the test, which would have wiped out any pre-existing messages on the beach.. you get the picture

Add whatever security measures you want, just ask yourself, how certain would you need to be in practice, that no person could ever have arranged those rocks that way, before you were forced to conclude chance, and call off any search and rescue?

Can we really rule God out to anything like this extent?

we know of no such exo-universe security force, actively trying to prevent the intelligent creation of universes do we?

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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by marco »

[Replying to post 75 by Guy Threepwood]

I have no idea how what you are discussing relates to anything I have said. I don't disagree with intelligent life existing somewhere in the universe.

Your example of HELP written in the sand suggests that at some point in time it was written by someone. This has nothing to do with origins of the universe. The declaration that there were no humans there, ever, is odd. How would anyone know?


No doubt I'll be informed what it is I am missing.

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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by rikuoamero »

[Replying to post 77 by Guy Threepwood]

Without going into the details you gave in your analogy in post 77, let me say this. The point of my question ("by mere fiat?") was to have you think for a moment, to get you to realise that the only way your analogy even begins to work is if you declare, flat out, that there ARE no people around to arrange stones so as to spell help.
However, in the real world...you cannot know this for sure. Even the details you give in post 77 don't rule it out. Even an island guarded can have someone sneak onto it and rearrange stones (since no security is perfect).
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I condemn all gods who dare demand my fealty, who won't look me in the face so's I know who it is I gotta fealty to. -- JoeyKnotHead

Some force seems to restrict me from buying into the apparent nonsense that others find so easy to buy into. Having no religious or supernatural beliefs of my own, I just call that force reason. -- Tired of the Nonsense

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Re: Bad Math Used in Apologetics

Post by Guy Threepwood »

[Replying to post 78 by marco]
I don't disagree with intelligent life existing somewhere in the universe.
You mean that from probability calculations, and hypothetically, information detected by SETI- you are able to deduce the existence of..
beings we cannot see or understand and of whom there is otherwise no trace.
?

I would question the math used to conclude ET exists, I think the universe would have to be far far larger than we currently understand to make that a probability

BUT, if SETI captured a good chunk of specified information drifting across interstellar radiowaves, I could not ignore that evidence, we agree in principle- there are objective scientific fingerprints of ID, however profound or welcome the implications

Your example of HELP written in the sand suggests that at some point in time it was written by someone. This has nothing to do with origins of the universe. The declaration that there were no humans there, ever, is odd. How would anyone know?
This IS exactly the point, I did not 'declare' no humans were ever there, I said there was absolutely no (other) evidence of them ever being there, and in fact concerted attempts to prevent it

So you are correct, we can't know, and unless we can utterly rule out ID from the beach, it automatically becomes the superior explanation

likewise by your own rationale- "origins of the universe. The declaration that there were no [gods] there, ever, is odd. How would anyone know? "

Again, we can't, we have to allow at least the merest possibility, however remote, and that's more than enough..

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