Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

just wondering...kind of a religious question?

...and don't attack my beliefs just because you don't agree. this is a logical question:

I was reading my biological anthropology book, (Biological Anthropology, 6th edition, by Michael Alan Park, page 103 - if you have it too) and he stated that "the initial probability of something happening doesn't preclude its happening," in reference to the "odds against putting together just the right combination of molecules that we now know are needed for life". he then goes on to ask what "were the odds of him becoming a biological antrhopologist, of teaching at his university and at this moment, writing a textbook?"

however, i do not believe that this is a substantial example of odds. he DECIDED all of these things, which completely rules out his argument. if odds are so high, like a trillion of a trillion to one, it's basically impossible that our molecules just kind of came together and formed our bodies that we have today.

so what i'm saying is that isn't it more logical that something DECIDED to put all of these molecules in place, than to trust our odds at a trillion of a trillion to one?

ideas? thoughts??

18 Answers

  • Paul
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The odds of just the right molecules coming together to form a life is so high it is practically impossible.

    But then think of this, this improbable act had to happen twice...once that produced a female, and once that produced a male.

    And, on top of that, both of these improbable happenings had to happen in such a close enough proximity that they would find each other and reproduce.

    Not only that, but they would have had to live long enough to actually be mature enough to reproduce.

    And all of this would have had to happen after........someone created the molecules that started it all in the first place.

    So you see, it is not just the extreme odds that the right molecules came together to form life, but where did these molecules come from in the first place? Scientist know that life can not come from non-life. Something living had to create life. And, since there was nothing to create that "first" life, it must be eternal. That eternal life is God. He created all the molecules, and He put them all together to form life, and He put them together and commanded them, "Go forth and multiply".

    Source(s): ep
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You missed the point. His decisions along the way are irrelevant -- the point he was making was IF you had (without his ever knowing it) tried to gauge the odds right after his birth of him being a biological anthropologist and teaching at that particular university (out of the millions of careers he could have chosen and the thousands of universities he could have taught at), the "odds" would have to be incredibly high, in the billions to one range. Yet there he is. He's trying to show you why it's invalid to look at things backwards (from the end back) and try to claim that the end is so improbable that it must have been "designed" or "destiny" or some other assumption.

    Now apply that to your second part. If you look at human beings as we are today (or any other living organism), the odds that we would show up just as we are, working like we do, from a random assemblage of chemicals are incredibly high -- yet here we are. It's an invalid attempt at reasoning, and the "odds" aren't valid. If, instead, you correctly look at it as the "odds" of a few simple chemicals coming together in natural conditions, and the compounds formed coming together to make molecules capable of self-replication, and then natural selection working over billions of years, the "odds" are quite manageable, and not very outrageous at all. Each small step along that path is not at all improbable, and life *could* have gone in billions of different directions (ending up not with humans but something else), but it didn't because conditions didn't drive it that way.

    Arguments from incredulity ("it's so amazing that it just HAS to be designed!") are never "logical" -- they're fallacies. Meaning not logically valid in any way.


  • 1 decade ago

    Just because something is improbable doesn't mean it is impossible.

    Have you ever noticed that many many many other planets are lifeless?

    Life was an improbability, but it happened on Earth, once in a trillion planets.

    If something has an existent chance of happening, and if enough trials were available, it's a virtual certainty that it will happen at least once.

    For instance, if something improbable had a probability of 1 in one billion, you can expect to see 1000 happenstances in 1 trillion trials.

  • Isa
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Not really. He's just stating an obvious consequence of the way 'chance' is defined, so that it's useful in determining if something is reasonable or not.

    A coin being flipped 100 times and coming up heads every time is significant, and unlikely. A coin landing with its head being tilted exactly 85.7485 degrees clockwise from you is similarly unlikely, but it's not significant or lucky - the coin had to land one way or another, and each angle is equally likely.

    Similarly, a planet selected at random being Earth-like would be remarkable, and lucky. But at least one planet out of the astronomical number in existence being Earth-like is a statistical given - and the fact that we're on one that is is called the 'anthropic principle,' which is what he's alluding to.

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  • 1 decade ago

    No. This argument is fairly silly because I can take ANYTHING that exists, extrapolate backwards it's odds and then say: See, it is impossible without divine intervention!

    I could roll dice a billion times, take the end result, figure the odds of getting that exact number, and the odds would be incredibly small.

    Wouldn't mean a thing.

    Nonsense argument.

  • Tony
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    He should have asked; What are the odds of all the right chemicals, bio-mechanics, dna, etc. coming together so he could write the article? You are right in thinking he was comparing apples to oranges. The odds/chance of anything happening is proportional to it's complexity. Which, for the human, animal, or plant to survive MUST have all components in place before it can even survive/produce. Half an animal is a dead animal, which is what evolution says occurred "sometime" in the distant past as in a dino becoming a bird. REALLY? Like is not same.A dogs tail is like a leg, it has bone, muscle, fur, but it is not a leg. A monkey has hands like/ not same as humans...a cats leg has the same "like" structure, only smaller as a horse, it does not make it a horse. Because something is like does not make it the same as.

    Source(s): Logic
  • YY4Me
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The fact that you, or anyone else, doesn't understand something doesn't justify making something up. It's intellectually dishonest, and not really an answer at all.

    - - -

    "… rarity by itself shouldn't necessarily be evidence of anything. When one is dealt a bridge hand of thirteen cards, the probability of being dealt that particular hand is less than one in 600 billion. Still, it would be absurd for someone to be dealt a hand, examine it carefully, calculate that the probability of getting it is less than one in 600 billion, and then conclude that he must not have been dealt that very hand because it is so very improbable." - John Allen Paulos, "Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences"


    Source(s): . ~ "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." ~ .
  • Jesse
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Very good.

    I like to think of the odds as if you had a windup clock, took it apart, put all the parts in a box and proceeded to shake the box. How long would it take until the clock was put back together in working order? The odds of that happening are the same as everything we know just coming about without design.

  • 1 decade ago

    The Duggars have 19 kids; the probability that they would have 19 children in the order that they had them is .0000019073486328125 and yet it happened, didn't it.

  • 1 decade ago

    You logic makes perfect sense, seriously. His argument does seem invalid. You should read "The Blind Watchmaker" by Dawkins, I found that text pretty logical.

    Honestly, I don't think anyone can ever say what exactly happened. Scientists take their findings and develop theories. Creationists read the bible and develop theories. The point is, NO ONE knows.

    I really hope someone invents a time machine.

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