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Switch to Forum Live View improbable problem/improbable explanation?
6 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2008 - 6:51PM #1
Laura78
Posts: 2,774
I have a question for those who read the God Delusion...because I really can not understand the crucial argument that Dawkins makes in the chapter "Why God almost certainly does not exist".

He talks about the fact that all these constants in our universe are in fact really "perfect" to allow life to emerge on Earth (he concurs with this), that emergence of genetic-code from non-coding material is also an unlikely event, together with the emergence of eukariotic cell and emergence of consciousness. He agrees that all this looks very improbable, that it looks "designed".

From the book:
  “Physicists have calculated that, if the laws and constants of physics had been even slightly different, the universe would have developed in such a way that life would have been impossible”.

Then he says, that all these improbable things are possible because there are infinite universes (parallel or series) and that any event, even if it is really improbable, will happen if you have an infinite number of "tries".
 
Up to here, I was able to follow.
Then he says something like that I understood like this:

God is improbable because the explanation for something improbable has to be at least as improbable as the improbable events it is explanation for.

But the quote from the book is this:

It is tempting to think that ….if we are going to permit the extravagance of a multiverse…we might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb and allow a God” [...] “The multiverse, for all that it is extravagant, is simple. God, or any intelligent, decision-taking agent, would have to be highly improbable in the very same statistical sense as the entities he is supposed to explain
 
This is really his punch line, and I lost it. Can someone explain me what he is saying?
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2008 - 8:33PM #2
mountain_man
Posts: 38,042

Laura78 wrote:

I have a question for those who read the God Delusion...because I really can not understand the crucial argument that Dawkins makes in the chapter "Why God almost certainly does not exist".

He talks about the fact that all these constants in our universe are in fact really "perfect" to allow life to emerge on Earth (he concurs with this), that emergence of genetic-code from non-coding material is also an unlikely event, together with the emergence of eukariotic cell and emergence of consciousness. He agrees that all this looks very improbable, that it looks "designed".


The key word is "looks" or appears to be designed. There is absolutely no reason to believe it is. Looks can be deceiving.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2008 - 8:35PM #3
Laura78
Posts: 2,774

mountain_man wrote:

The key word is "looks" or appears to be designed. There is absolutely no reason to believe it is. Looks can be deceiving.



Yeah Yeah, I get that...what I don't understand is this part:

God is improbable because the explanation for something improbable has to be at least as improbable as the improbable events it is explanation for.

But the quote from the book is this:

It is tempting to think that ….if we are going to permit the extravagance of a multiverse…we might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb and allow a God” [...] “The multiverse, for all that it is extravagant, is simple. God, or any intelligent, decision-taking agent, would have to be highly improbable in the very same statistical sense as the entities he is supposed to explain

Why should the explanation for something be as improbable as the something itself?
That is what I don't get.

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6 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2008 - 9:32PM #4
mountain_man
Posts: 38,042

Laura78 wrote:

Yeah Yeah, I get that...what I don't understand is this part:

God is improbable because the explanation for something improbable has to be at least as improbable as the improbable events it is explanation for.


There is no reason to believe such a creator god, or any other kind of god exists. The believers are claiming that all of this coming from the  Big  Bang and ending up with life is improbable. What they neglect is that their god existing is infinitely more improbable.

But the quote from the book is this:

It is tempting to think that ….if we are going to permit the extravagance of a multiverse…we might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb and allow a God” [...] “The multiverse, for all that it is extravagant, is simple. God, or any intelligent, decision-taking agent, would have to be highly improbable in the very same statistical sense as the entities he is supposed to explain

Why should the explanation for something be as improbable as the something itself?
That is what I don't get.


I explained it above. How can something that is highly improbable create something that is improbable? The improbability of that makes the assumption of a creator god irrational.

Does that make sense.... or did I make it worse?:cool:

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 5:07AM #5
Aldebaran5
Posts: 189
[QUOTE=mountain_man;427217]There is no reason to believe such a creator god, or any other kind of god exists. The believers are claiming that all of this coming from the  Big  Bang and ending up with life is improbable. What they neglect is that their god existing is infinitely more improbable.


I explained it above. How can something that is highly improbable create something that is improbable? The improbability of that makes the assumption of a creator god irrational.

Does that make sense.... or did I make it worse?:cool:[/QUOTE]

The multiverse theory actually takes as much of a leap of faith as the position that some supreme being created the universe and then played an elaborate and very silly game of hide and seek -  and then there are several different takes on string theory. Most of these theories are untestable by usual scientific criteria (although I'm aware of the upcoming research with the large Hadron collider)

The answer is that we don't know how the universe came about and we're not likely to know. It's one of those 'nice to know' facts that we'll probably never know. All I know is that the universe exists, and it's a pretty neat place.

Some things are unknown and unknowable.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 7:14AM #6
Kwinters
Posts: 18,158

Laura78 wrote:

I have a question for those who read the God Delusion...because I really can not understand the crucial argument that Dawkins makes in the chapter "Why God almost certainly does not exist".

He talks about the fact that all these constants in our universe are in fact really "perfect" to allow life to emerge on Earth (he concurs with this), that emergence of genetic-code from non-coding material is also an unlikely event, together with the emergence of eukariotic cell and emergence of consciousness. He agrees that all this looks very improbable, that it looks "designed".

From the book:
“Physicists have calculated that, if the laws and constants of physics had been even slightly different, the universe would have developed in such a way that life would have been impossible”.

Then he says, that all these improbable things are possible because there are infinite universes (parallel or series) and that any event, even if it is really improbable, will happen if you have an infinite number of "tries".

Up to here, I was able to follow.
Then he says something like that I understood like this:

God is improbable because the explanation for something improbable has to be at least as improbable as the improbable events it is explanation for.

But the quote from the book is this:

It is tempting to think that ….if we are going to permit the extravagance of a multiverse…we might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb and allow a God” [...] “The multiverse, for all that it is extravagant, is simple. God, or any intelligent, decision-taking agent, would have to be highly improbable in the very same statistical sense as the entities he is supposed to explain

This is really his punch line, and I lost it. Can someone explain me what he is saying?




Remember that Dawkins argument is that initial life was very simple and that gods are claimed to be complex, supernatural intelligent beings.  If it is improbable that the conditions for life exists and life emerges it is even more improbable to account for the complex entity that god are supposed to be.

Gods are more statistically improbable than simple life.

Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

Dale Spender
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 10:03AM #7
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 6,999

Laura78 wrote:

Why should the explanation for something be as improbable as the something itself?  That is what I don't get.

Theists argue that the universe is so complex and interdependent, fundamental constants just so, distances exactly right, etc that it couldn't have happened by chance.  That something omniscient, capable of knowing how to design things like the universe must have done so.  What Dawkins is asking is what are the chances of of such a designer coming into existence out of chaos?  It must be all those other probabilities multiplied together, the numbers getting infinitesimally small, until there are no numbers left.   In other words there is no chance at all of God existing to create the world. 

Jcarlinbn, community moderator
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 11:50AM #8
Ken
Posts: 33,860

jcarlinbn wrote:

What Dawkins is asking is what are the chances of of such a designer coming into existence out of chaos? It must be all those other probabilities multiplied together, the numbers getting infinitesimally small, until there are no numbers left. In other words there is no chance at all of God existing to create the world.

To which theists respond "But God doesn't have to come into existence out of chaos - he's God!" The obvous retort is that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If there is any complex entity that can exist without having come into existence, it might just as well be the universe as God.

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6 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 10:07PM #9
Laura78
Posts: 2,774

Ken wrote:

To which theists respond "But God doesn't have to come into existence out of chaos - he's God!" The obvous retort is that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If there is any complex entity that can exist without having come into existence, it might just as well be the universe as God.



I totally agree with that part I highlighted in bold. It is either God OR the energy/matter that are uncreated, always existing entities.

But given the fact that the monotheistic God is by definition a uncreated being...why is Dawkins saying that God is less probable than this universe? Or is he saying that God and this universe are just as improbable? You say just as well be the universe as God...is that what Dawkins is also saying?



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6 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 10:11PM #10
Laura78
Posts: 2,774

mountain_man wrote:

There is no reason to believe such a creator god, or any other kind of god exists. The believers are claiming that all of this coming from the  Big  Bang and ending up with life is improbable. What they neglect is that their god existing is infinitely more improbable.


I explained it above. How can something that is highly improbable create something that is improbable? The improbability of that makes the assumption of a creator god irrational.

Does that make sense.... or did I make it worse?:cool:



A little worse actually :(
I still don't get why an uncreated being like the regular theistic God is improbable.
Because I am theist and irreparably obfuscated in my logic perhaps...

I just want to see whether I disagree with the reasoning or if I simply do not understand the reasoning, at this time I am not sure which one it is.

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