# Probability and life by Chance Alone

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No.

First off the measure of energy density is Heat Capacity so mass density is not precisely correct and higher temperatures distribute energy over a broader set of possible states and thus represents a broader energy density distribution. Have another look at the article where it describes the distribution of possible energy states. Since this is thermal entropy the relevant consideration is all possible distributions of thermal energy and entropy is a measure of probability. Lower entropy systems have the distribution of energy occupying fewer of the total available positions since there are less permutations when the thermal energy is concentrated.

For the same mass of material, at higher temperatures the total number of occupied permutations is greater since broader spectrum of energy levels are occupied so entropy is higher than for the same mass at lower temperatures.

Systems where energy is less distributed (more concentrated) within a particular system are lower-entropy than the same system with greater distribution of thermal energy. In this way, in a system with a temperature gradient, heat energy diffuses from high density areas to low density areas and the entropy of the system increases.

I see. Yeah, a system with a large temperature gradient would be lower entropy than the same system with the temperature spread out and equalized.

So at high temperature, entropy is higher than for the same mass at a lower temperature, as you said. Now, I'm sure we agree that heat flows from high temperature areas to low temperature areas. Since high temperature areas have higher entropy,

Well, for one thing heat usually flows from areas of high entropy to areas of low entropy.

Where's the contradiction? You've just explained why Mr Skeptic is right.

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Wait, no. My main point is that your calculation of probability of life forming (lets say per unit of our observable universe), is meaningless since there is a possibility that the universe is infinite. Hence my entire focus on the possibility that the universe is infinite.

Unless you can demonstrate that the probability that the universe is infinite is less than 10^-41,000, your claim that the chance of life starting by chance alone is anywhere close to that number is clearly false. Basically, I proved you wrong despite your use of a red herring. As I said, yummy fish dinner.

Were this true a lawyer arguing a rape case could use this same argument to claim DNA evidence is invalid because the incredible improbability of two people sharing the same gene markers is meaningless in light of the possibility the universe is infinite. Nobody accepts this argument and it is refreshing to know you don't either when you agreed life by chance alone is not a reasonable position and thus why this thread is over.

It is you who is demanding that the universe has to be finite. I'm just saying that it might be infinite, and gave conclusive evidence that it might be infinite. You have been completely unable to prove your claim that the probability of the universe being infinite is less than 10^-41,000, and simply dismiss such an impressive task as the other side speculating.

Try this argument in court and see how far it gets you. Your position is outrageous.

That's just precious. You have no less than four members disagreeing with you plus you seem to have done a search to try to confirm and you still persist in having things backwards?!?

I have previously admitted the error and poor wording regarding the relationship between temperature and entropy and have corrected it. Prose is not a strong point of mine.

I know about diffusion of both heat and molecules. Perhaps I misunderstood your use of molecular entropy. A refrigerator can reduce the molecular entropy of its contents, yes?

Perhaps but there are plenty of human made devices capable of rearranging molecules into less probable configurations and thus reducing the entropy of a system of molecules.

Perhaps, but I know an expert who claims to have worked with compressible gasses (as if there were any other kind ) for 20 years who disagrees with you.

Yes, so do I. Life would be drab if everyone always agreed.

All I'm saying is that even such small odds fail to make any meaningful argument unless you can prove the universe is finite, which you haven't.

I disagree. Low probability is used on a regular basis to reach conclusions affecting events on earth where the conclusion is far more important than the one we are discussing. This is because we know that probabilistic resources that don't interact with the event in question cannot not influence the outcome. This is why the lawyer from above will be dismissed out of hand. Infinite universe speculations lead to no end of illogical results, like the court example, but there are far more ridiculous examples and it is why most origin of life researchers reject the argument you are making. It is also why I reject it. But we are going in circles and you have even admitted that you agree life from non-life by chance is an unreasonable position. So I don't see any reason to continue to persist.

I didn't have to prove the universe is finite, it is enough to show that speculation that it might be infinite is irrelevant.

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Were this true a lawyer arguing a rape case could use this same argument to claim DNA evidence is invalid because the incredible improbability of two people sharing the same gene markers is meaningless in light of the possibility the universe is infinite. Nobody accepts this argument and it is refreshing to know you don't either when you agreed life by chance alone is not a reasonable position and thus why this thread is over.

Uh, no. The observable universe is still finite, so the realm of potential beings who could contribute DNA is finite. Furthermore, faster-than-light travel is currently thought impossible, so the sphere of possible influence around Earth is perhaps a few dozen light-years.

However, life could arise anywhere in an infinite universe, including outside the region we can observe.

In other words, there's a causal limit caused by distances; nothing outside the observable universe can have a causal interaction with us because forces cannot possibly reach us. The infinite size of the universe thus doesn't matter at all for court cases, or any other possible scenario that involves beings moving around the infinite universe.

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This is why the lawyer from above will be dismissed out of hand. Infinite universe speculations lead to no end of illogical results, like the court example, but there are far more ridiculous examples and it is why most origin of life researchers reject the argument you are making

I didn't have to prove the universe is finite, it is enough to show that speculation that it might be infinite is irrelevant.

No you started the this thread with disagreeing with Mr. Skeptic's proposal that the universe might be infinite. So if you wish to validate your point you must prove that the universe is finite. Something you have not done.

By the way why do you keep proclaiming this discussion done? Since when does one side of an argument arbitrarily get to decide this?

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Uh, no. The observable universe is still finite, so the realm of potential beings who could contribute DNA is finite. Furthermore, faster-than-light travel is currently thought impossible, so the sphere of possible influence around Earth is perhaps a few dozen light-years.

However, life could arise anywhere in an infinite universe, including outside the region we can observe.

And we would be clueless about it.

In other words, there's a causal limit caused by distances; nothing outside the observable universe can have a causal interaction with us because forces cannot possibly reach us. The infinite size of the universe thus doesn't matter at all for court cases, or any other possible scenario that involves beings moving around the infinite universe.

Then you agree that citation to probabilistic resources from outside the observable universe cannot influence events on earth including life from non life as I previously argued.

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And we would be clueless about it.

Then you agree that citation to probabilistic resources from outside the observable universe cannot influence events on earth including life from non life as I previously argued.

Agreed.

But why limit ourselves only to life on Earth? Mr Skeptic's argument is that an infinite universe provides infinitely many other planets where life can arise. The size of the universe does not affect conditions on Earth, but it certainly provides other Earth-like planets for life to appear on.

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Agreed.

But why limit ourselves only to life on Earth? Mr Skeptic's argument is that an infinite universe provides infinitely many other planets where life can arise. The size of the universe does not affect conditions on Earth, but it certainly provides other Earth-like planets for life to appear on.

If we persist with Mr. Skeptic's speculation that the mere possibility of an infinite universe with infinitely many planets gives us a real potential for any possible outcome somewhere no mater how small the probability. This seems to be what you are suggesting. Is this valid reasoning?

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Were this true a lawyer arguing a rape case could use this same argument to claim DNA evidence is invalid because the incredible improbability of two people sharing the same gene markers is meaningless in light of the possibility the universe is infinite. Nobody accepts this argument and it is refreshing to know you don't either when you agreed life by chance alone is not a reasonable position and thus why this thread is over.

You equating an infinite universe with an infinite earth population. If intelligent life arises anywhere in the universe there will be intelligent life in that part of the universe, no matter how small the odds might be. If you limit yourself to earth and an event on earth then pretend you can apply odds occurring so far away as to be causally disconnected from earth as relevant, people will laugh at you. Is this an honest mistake on your part, or did you think I wouldn't notice?

Try this argument in court and see how far it gets you. Your position is outrageous.

Sure. So for example with the case of matching DNA, if a lawyer argued about the chance of this DNA belonging to someone else and the guy had a twin I would argue that the low probability of the DNA matching someone else is irrelevant if they cannot show that the greater probability (that it was the twin's DNA) was not in fact the case. The court will choose the more likely alternative as the odds, not the least likely alternative like you are suggesting. Given the odds of 10^-41,000 and the odds of the universe being infinite, which do you think a court would choose?

I have previously admitted the error and poor wording regarding the relationship between temperature and entropy and have corrected it. Prose is not a strong point of mine.

Yes, I didn't say that quite right, thanks for pointing that out. I should have said that heat energy flows from higher energy concentration (lower entropy) to lower energy concentration (higher entropy).

Systems where energy is less distributed (more concentrated) within a particular system are lower-entropy than the same system with greater distribution of thermal energy. In this way, in a system with a temperature gradient, heat energy diffuses from high density areas to low density areas and the entropy of the system increases.

So since a bottle of water at 21 C has a higher energy density than air at 25 C, and there is a temperature gradient, then heat flows from the water to the air until they have equal energy density, right? Everyone is wrong once in a while. Trying to argue that you were at least kindof right can get you deeper in that hole though.

Perhaps but there are plenty of human made devices capable of rearranging molecules into less probable configurations and thus reducing the entropy of a system of molecules.

Plenty of natural processes too can produce the same effect as a refrigerator. But I got the impression that by molecular entropy you meant something significantly different than regular entropy, as if thermal energy wasn't a major part of molecular entropy.

Yes, so do I. Life would be drab if everyone always agreed.

Some people try to agree with themselves.

I disagree. Low probability is used on a regular basis to reach conclusions affecting events on earth where the conclusion is far more important than the one we are discussing. This is because we know that probabilistic resources that don't interact with the event in question cannot not influence the outcome. This is why the lawyer from above will be dismissed out of hand. Infinite universe speculations lead to no end of illogical results, like the court example, but there are far more ridiculous examples and it is why most origin of life researchers reject the argument you are making. It is also why I reject it. But we are going in circles and you have even admitted that you agree life from non-life by chance is an unreasonable position. So I don't see any reason to continue to persist.

Look at your words "on earth". I agree that the probability that the earth is infinite is zero, however that is quite irrelevant to the probability of the universe being infinite and life starting on some planet in the universe.

Please do also note that I never accepted odds of 10^-41,000 happening on earth, rather that such odds of life would guarantee life if the universe is infinite but that I would never expect to see it (because to be able to see it it would have to be within the finite observable universe).

I didn't have to prove the universe is finite, it is enough to show that speculation that it might be infinite is irrelevant.

OK. Why don't you then?

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By the way why do you keep proclaiming this discussion done? Since when does one side of an argument arbitrarily get to decide this?

Because he thinks that if he can get everyone to agree that life is unlikely to have come about via pure chance it means his world view that life was and is controlled by an outside intelligence (ie God) is confirmed and he can go around claiming he convinced a science forum that God is real. Of course he totally ignores the real story of life and how under the correct conditions energy drives chemical reactions toward complexity with no outside input of information from God, aliens, a conscious universe, purple unicorns or the flying spaghetti monster.... It's his strawman and he thinks it cannot be defeated as long as his terms for the argument are followed, one trick pony

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I reviewed your post Skeptic and didn't see much that has not been addressed previously. One issue that stands out is the formulation of your appeal to the ignorance about what may be beyond the observable universe. I asked Cap'n this but you should weigh in on it too:

If we persist with Mr. Skeptic's speculation that the mere possibility of an infinite universe with infinitely many planets gives us a real potential for any possible outcome somewhere no mater how small the probability. This seems to be what you are suggesting. Is this valid reasoning?

Do I have that right?

Because he thinks that if he can get everyone to agree that life is unlikely to have come about via pure chance it means his world view that life was and is controlled by an outside intelligence (ie God) is confirmed and he can go around claiming he convinced a science forum that God is real. Of course he totally ignores the real story of life and how under the correct conditions energy drives chemical reactions toward complexity with no outside input of information from God, aliens, a conscious universe, purple unicorns or the flying spaghetti monster.... It's his strawman and he thinks it cannot be defeated as long as his terms for the argument are followed, one trick pony

I'm not sure why you insist that I am peddling some "God". I am however interested in the best current explanation and in that process I refrain from dismissing explanations out of hand.

The first time you raised this issue I suggested that you start a new thread. I suspect that your "real story of life" like Skeptic's is more speculation than real but just to be sure I understand your claim, you are now saying you know of evidence of real observed natural processes that do generate biologically active components without intervention by any intelligent agent. Furthermore you can show that these components under correct conditions with energy but no intelligent intervention drives chemical reactions to create the complexity we call life. Is this your claim?

I note that you declined before, but since this thread is now in speculations it now fits well to raise it here. Please confirm or clearly define your claim.

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I'm not sure why you insist that I am peddling some "God". I am however interested in the best current explanation and in that process I refrain from dismissing explanations out of hand.

I suggest you do some reading on the subject by someone other than "Hoyle"ets, You have already said you are saying that some outside source of information is needed, you tell me what that source is and I'll start taking you seriously, making some mysterious claims you never back up does not make me take you any more seriously than the latest claim from the pulpit. "Life not as we know it" by Ward would be good but maybe you should start with "it's a wonderful life" by Gould For the most part you need to go outside the creationist envelope and try to discover reality as most evolutionary biologists scientists see it. several people have already pointed out your "odds of life" assertion is simply not true, you have ignored them, why would I want to be ignored as well?

The first time you raised this issue I suggested that you start a new thread. I suspect that your "real story of life" like Skeptic's is more speculation than real but just to be sure I understand your claim, you are now saying you know of evidence of real observed natural processes that do generate biologically active components without intervention by any intelligent agent. Furthermore you can show that these components under correct conditions with energy but no intelligent intervention drives chemical reactions to create the complexity we call life. Is this your claim?

I note that you declined before, but since this thread is now in speculations it now fits well to raise it here. Please confirm or clearly define your claim.

You stop running a straw man argument and I'll go with a real discussion until then it would be a waste of time to disagree with you, tell me what your outside source of information is and I'll tell you why it's not needed, i tire of a battle of wits with someone who hides behind a straw man. As for mine being speculation, I'll quote swansont... pot-kettle-black... And I'll tell you what I've told others, my BS is just as good as your BS, you show me yours and I'll show you mine.....

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I suggest you do some reading on the subject by someone other than "Hoyle"ets, You have already said you are saying that some outside source of information is needed, you tell me what that source is and I'll start taking you seriously, making some mysterious claims you never back up does not make me take you any more seriously than the latest claim from the pulpit.

What are you so worked up about?. I started this thread to show what what both you and I see as obvious. Namely that life by chance alone is a non-starter. Hoyle did an fair job of demonstrating this point and while those who disagree with his particular world view find him all the more offensive all the while still agreeing with his conclusion so I used his analysis as a reference point in this discussion.

Now what I said is that a causal mode other than random chance is required to generate the information we observe in biological systems, there is a huge difference. I wished to avoid discussing these sources in this thread to keep it more focused. I am sorry that frustrates you, but I urged you to start a new thread so it could be discussed. On information in particular Skeptic and I did start a new thread on that particular issue but skeptic seems to have lost interest and it has not progressed much. I invite you to contribute. It is in the Computer Science area.

"Life not as we know it" by Ward would be good but maybe you should start with "it's a wonderful life" by Gould For the most part you need to go outside the creationist envelope and try to discover reality as most evolutionary biologists scientists see it. several people have already pointed out your "odds of life" assertion is simply not true, you have ignored them, why would I want to be ignored as well?

Such venom and I think misplaced too. Throughout the entire thread I have claimed that life by chance alone is not a reasonable position and those, including you, who took exception to the analysis (except skeptic) happen to agree with the conclusion of the analysis .... Are you suggesting that the analysis is wrong but it stumbled onto the correct conclusion?

You stop running a straw man argument and I'll go with a real discussion until then it would be a waste of time to disagree with you, tell me what your outside source of information is and I'll tell you why it's not needed, i tire of a battle of wits with someone who hides behind a straw man. As for mine being speculation, I'll quote swansont... pot-kettle-black... And I'll tell you what I've told others, my BS is just as good as your BS, you show me yours and I'll show you mine.....

OK. I guessed that you would back away from the statement you know of evidence of real observed natural processes that do generate biologically active components without intervention by any intelligent agent and your statement you can show that these components under correct conditions with energy but no intelligent intervention drives chemical reactions to create the complexity we call life.

As for me. Although I am fairly certain how it was not, I do not know how the necessary biological information was generated. I don't think anybody does. I can't tell you what I don't know, and I am sorry that frustrates you. It seems we are in the same boat, so I am in good company since you have refused to support your claims.

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I reviewed your post Skeptic and didn't see much that has not been addressed previously. One issue that stands out is the formulation of your appeal to the ignorance about what may be beyond the observable universe. I asked Cap'n this but you should weigh in on it too:

If we persist with Mr. Skeptic's speculation that the mere possibility of an infinite universe with infinitely many planets gives us a real potential for any possible outcome somewhere no mater how small the probability. This seems to be what you are suggesting. Is this valid reasoning?

Do I have that right?

I disproved your claim that the probability of life forming by chance is 10^-41,000. The method I used was to demonstrate that were the universe to be infinite then the probability of life would be 1. In no way is this speculation -- it is absolute certainty.

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Seriously cypress, as long as you cling to the idea that life has a 10^-41,000 chance of forming we have nothing to discuss here. That figure has been shown over and over to be totally unrealistic. I think the idea of some outside source of information being necessary is just as silly. Complexity (information) can arise from simplicity under the right conditions in the presence of energy the same way natural selection can serve to create new ever more complex life forms. I am very loath to keep this conversation going, not because i have some totally unsubstantiated idea but because I know form your previous behavior you have no intention of discussing anything. Thanks Mr Skeptic for reminding me of what he is really saying. I spent the last hour looking up links to verify my claims and you just pointed out he has done nothing even close to showing any evidence of his claims. I can post my own thread and be critiqued ( or abused) for real, no need to let cypress do it from his straw man position.

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I disproved your claim that the probability of life forming by chance is 10^-41,000. The method I used was to demonstrate that were the universe to be infinite then the probability of life would be 1. In no way is this speculation -- it is absolute certainty.

I previously explained and I believe I can clearly show that it would lead to illogical outcomes were it true and therefore it should be rejected. In addition it is irrelevant as a scientific conclusion since it has as a necessary component, speculation about an infinite material property that lack causal adequacy. We have no observable evidence of anything with infinite physical characters. To argue that this speculation should be accepted while others should be rejected is a double standard and is metaphysical.

In addition the claim was that life by chance alone on earth has a probability no higher than 1 in 10^41000. Since you have not definitely ruled out zero probability, therefore you have not demonstrated certainty either.

Finally, we are speaking of life on earth so the probability of life anywhere in the universe is not interesting. The question is what is the probability of life by chance alone on this earth.

Seriously cypress, as long as you cling to the idea that life has a 10^-41,000 chance of forming we have nothing to discuss here.

That's a cop out. You know very well that my position is that life by chance alone (on earth) has a probability that is estimated no greater than 10^-41000. It may seem like a minor point but it makes all the difference in the world. When properly considered, I conclude (and you do too) that it is an unreasonable position to accept that life occurred by chance alone. Some other processes were involved, and after including these processes, these long odds collapse. We are violently agreeing and I can only conclude that it is the agreement that has you so worked up.

Instead of ranting about a straw man idea I do not hold and claiming I am unreasonable, perhaps you should put some of your advice to use.

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I previously explained and I believe I can clearly show that it would lead to illogical outcomes were it true and therefore it should be rejected.

And I demonstrated that no such illogical outcomes would occur. You appear to have ignored that.

In addition it is irrelevant as a scientific conclusion since it has as a necessary component, speculation about an infinite material property that lack causal adequacy. We have no observable evidence of anything with infinite physical characters. To argue that this speculation should be accepted while others should be rejected is a double standard and is metaphysical.

The model that produces an infinite universe is testable and falsifiable. As Mr Skeptic pointed out, it is the same model that produces a finite universe, but with different input observations. Those observations are being made, and point to an infinite universe conclusion.

If you want to reject widely accepted cosmological models, I'd appreciate peer-reviewed sources to back up your claims.

Finally, we are speaking of life on earth so the probability of life anywhere in the universe is not interesting. The question is what is the probability of life by chance alone on this earth.

Don't shift the goalposts. That's not what was stated in the first post in this topic. Hoyle's mathematics apply to any Earth-like planet.

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I previously explained and I believe I can clearly show that it would lead to illogical outcomes were it true and therefore it should be rejected. In addition it is irrelevant as a scientific conclusion since it has as a necessary component, speculation about an infinite material property that lack causal adequacy. We have no observable evidence of anything with infinite physical characters. To argue that this speculation should be accepted while others should be rejected is a double standard and is metaphysical.

Then please do share your arguments that show the illogical conclusions arising from an infinite universe. Secondly what we lack in observable evidence we make up for with predictions from some of our best theories. As for the argument being based on speculation I would also venture that your argument that the probability life could form is $10^{-41000}$ is based on certain speculations; such as that not all the enzymes most develop at once or that chemical process can favor the creation of more complex molecules.

In addition the claim was that life by chance alone on earth has a probability no higher than 1 in 10^41000. Since you have not definitely ruled out zero probability, therefore you have not demonstrated certainty either.

That has been your claim, which as far as I can tell has no been backed up.

Finally, we are speaking of life on earth so the probability of life anywhere in the universe is not interesting. The question is what is the probability of life by chance alone on this earth.

That does not seem to be the assertion that this thread was begun with, as Mr. Skeptic's quote you posted dealt with an infinite universe, and not specifically Earth. Actually I do not think that you even use the word "Earth" in your original post.

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And I demonstrated that no such illogical outcomes would occur. You appear to have ignored that.

No your demonstration was not compelling, and is the subject of my request to clarify the claim being made. I suspect you may have a sense where it is heading and thus you want to avoid the discussion. Please either accept or correct my description so we can proceed.

The model that produces an infinite universe is testable and falsifiable. As Mr Skeptic pointed out, it is the same model that produces a finite universe, but with different input observations. Those observations are being made, and point to an infinite universe conclusion.

If you want to reject widely accepted cosmological models, I'd appreciate peer-reviewed sources to back up your claims.

I'm not sure why you think I would want to wholesale reject cosmological models. Do you actually believe the current models are 100% correct? Or is it acceptable and reasonable to think that some parts of it will over time be adjusted? Oxford physicist Roger Penrose has been critical of some aspects of the model that provide for an infinite universe. He explains many in his book "The Road To Reality, A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe" much of this particular material was an outgrowth of a paper for the Proceedings of the 14th Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Stephen Hawking and Don Page also note as yet unresolved issues with some aspects of the model that are necessary to produce an infinite universe in "How Probable is Inflation?" Nuclear Physics.

Don't shift the goalposts. That's not what was stated in the first post in this topic. Hoyle's mathematics apply to any Earth-like planet.

This point was clarified when it came up in the discussion long ago. What point is there to speak of life elsewhere that we know nothing about? It is an uninteresting question on which I would not spend this much time.

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No your demonstration was not compelling, and is the subject of my request to clarify the claim being made.

Well now this sounds exactly like an opinion, and if we are in the mood to share opinions. Capn, your demonstration was very compelling. Cypress your rebuttal on the other hand was much much less than compelling.

This point was clarified when it came up in the discussion long ago. What point is there to speak of life elsewhere that we know nothing about? It is an uninteresting question on which I would not spend this much time.

As I pointed out you did not start out with the claim that we are concern with the development of life only on Earth. So at some point the goal posts were moved.

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No your demonstration was not compelling, and is the subject of my request to clarify the claim being made. I suspect you may have a sense where it is heading and thus you want to avoid the discussion. Please either accept or correct my description so we can proceed.

What request or demonstration do you refer to? I refer to posts #103 and #105. You did not bring up any requests for clarification. If you're thinking of #107, I let Mr Skeptic answer that rather than putting words in his mouth.

If you want to accuse me of avoiding clarifying, please request I clarify first.

And while we're at it, you haven't answered my questions in post #101.

I'm not sure why you think I would want to wholesale reject cosmological models. Do you actually believe the current models are 100% correct? Or is it acceptable and reasonable to think that some parts of it will over time be adjusted? Oxford physicist Roger Penrose has been critical of some aspects of the model that provide for an infinite universe. He explains many in his book "The Road To Reality, A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe" much of this particular material was an outgrowth of a paper for the Proceedings of the 14th Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Stephen Hawking and Don Page also note as yet unresolved issues with some aspects of the model that are necessary to produce an infinite universe in "How Probable is Inflation?" Nuclear Physics.

I believe Mr Skeptic's calculations don't require an infinite universe to be a certainty. Just a slight possibility.

"How Probable is Inflation?" is also 22 years old; Lorenzo and Sorbo present a newer calculation in Physical Review that is more favorable.

This point was clarified when it came up in the discussion long ago. What point is there to speak of life elsewhere that we know nothing about? It is an uninteresting question on which I would not spend this much time.

What point is there to speak only of life on Earth? Suppose the probability of life emerging on Earth is small, but the probability of life emerging anywhere in the universe is rather large. In such a universe, it would be likely that some planet would have beings like us pondering the existence of life. In other words, that would stack the universe in favor of us existing, on whatever planet.

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Well now this sounds exactly like an opinion, and if we are in the mood to share opinions. Capn, your demonstration was very compelling. Cypress your rebuttal on the other hand was much much less than compelling.

It was an opinion, intended to emphasize that I believe that point is still being discussed. I followed it with an indication of where the discussion has stalled. I am hopeful that Cap'n and Skeptic will answer to my request for clarity so that I can make a proper response and you may thoughtfully comment.

As I pointed out you did not start out with the claim that we are concern with the development of life only on Earth. So at some point the goal posts were moved.

I apologize for not including every aspect of my entire argument in the opening post.

What request or demonstration do you refer to? I refer to posts #103 and #105. You did not bring up any requests for clarification. If you're thinking of #107, I let Mr Skeptic answer that rather than putting words in his mouth.

If you want to accuse me of avoiding clarifying, please request I clarify first.

Yes 107, I believe I did request clarification and I am interested in your understanding because you clearly had something in mind when you answered as you did. Since my question was to you, and my eventual response will likely be to you, I figured it is reasonable for you to answer it. But please I am through being difficult in this thread so I will refrain from being condescending as much as possible. Do take my comments and requests at face value from here forward and I will try to do the same.

And while we're at it, you haven't answered my questions in post #101.

I'll have a look at it again. Does this site require that every question be answered? That will be difficult for everyone to follow.

I believe Mr Skeptic's calculations don't require an infinite universe to be a certainty. Just a slight possibility.

It does require an non zero probability for life by chance alone. But your statement reveals a more fundamental problem with an infinite anything. I alluded to this before but did not explain it at the time. Infinity is not a number it is a concept. When you attempt to multiply by infinity the answer is undefined.

So In addition to the other issues Mr. Skeptic's solution to his is not 1 or any other number, it is undefined.

"How Probable is Inflation?" is also 22 years old; Lorenzo and Sorbo present a newer calculation in Physical Review that is more favorable.

The issues discussed in the material were the focus and they remain unresolved which is the point I was making. Revised numbers are to be expected. Can I assume you agree that the models are likely not 100% correct and adjustments will be forthcoming? Can we agree that there are remaining issues with aspects that are required for an infinite universe? If you don't then we should go through the references I provided and discuss each point one by one.

What point is there to speak only of life on Earth? Suppose the probability of life emerging on Earth is small, but the probability of life emerging anywhere in the universe is rather large. In such a universe, it would be likely that some planet would have beings like us pondering the existence of life. In other words, that would stack the universe in favor of us existing, on whatever planet.

I suggest we hold this question until we resolve the previous open ones.

Edited by cypress
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It does require an non zero probability for life by chance alone. But your statement reveals a more fundamental problem with an infinite anything. I alluded to this before but did not explain it at the time. Infinity is not a number it is a concept. When you attempt to multiply by infinity the answer is undefined.

So In addition to the other issues Mr. Skeptic's solution to his is not 1 or any other number, it is undefined.

I am going to guess that Mr. Skeptic just used shorthand in his quoted post. Yes you cannot plug infinity into an equation, however:

$\lim_{n\to\infty} 1-\left(1-10^{-41000}\right)^{n}=1-0=1$

So there Mr. Skeptic's point still stands.

$\lim_{n\to\infty} \left(10^{-41000}\right)\left(n\right)=\infty$

Again solved. Mr. Skeptic's point is still valid, and and I said I am guessing he simply used quick shorthand, which although "technically" not correct conveys the point quickly in an informal discussion.

Edited by DJBruce
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Yes 107, I believe I did request clarification and I am interested in your understanding because you clearly had something in mind when you answered as you did. Since my question was to you, and my eventual response will likely be to you, I figured it is reasonable for you to answer it. But please I am through being difficult in this thread so I will refrain from being condescending as much as possible. Do take my comments and requests at face value from here forward and I will try to do the same.

Fair enough. The answer to #107 is "no," because you misunderstood Mr Skeptic. Let me quote:

If we persist with Mr. Skeptic's speculation that the mere possibility of an infinite universe with infinitely many planets gives us a real potential for any possible outcome somewhere no mater how small the probability. This seems to be what you are suggesting. Is this valid reasoning?

Mr Skeptic's hypothesis does not mean that if, for example, there is a minute chance that two people on Earth have the same DNA, the size of the universe alters that chance. It means that if an event has a probability of occurring, and the size of the universe alters how many chances that event has, the probability that it will occur at least once in the entire universe is increased when the size of the universe increases.

For example, if we are looking at the chance that life will occur by chance alone anywhere in the universe, it increases when the universe (and amount of matter, and number of habitable planets, and so on) increases in size. A large universe gives more opportunities for life to arise; an infinite universe gives infinite opportunities.

If we are looking at the chance that life will occur by chance alone at one specific location, the size of the universe is irrelevant. Only the age is.

I'll have a look at it again. Does this site require that every question be answered? That will be difficult for everyone to follow.

It's generally considered bad etiquette to ignore questions when you're making claims.

It does require an non zero probability for life by chance alone. But your statement reveals a more fundamental problem with an infinite anything. I alluded to this before but did not explain it at the time. Infinity is not a number it is a concept. When you attempt to multiply by infinity the answer is undefined.

As DJBruce points out, this is why limits exist. When we multiply by infinite, we get an undefined result; but when we increase the operand towards infinity, we can see the result also tends to infinity. So as the universe increases in size to infinitely large, the probability of life scales similarly.

The issues discussed in the material were the focus and they remain unresolved which is the point I was making. Revised numbers are to be expected. Can I assume you agree that the models are likely not 100% correct and adjustments will be forthcoming? Can we agree that there are remaining issues with aspects that are required for an infinite universe? If you don't then we should go through the references I provided and discuss each point one by one.

You again forget that the same inflationary model that can predict an infinite universe can also predict a finite universe, depending on observations. If you throw out the inflationary model because of issues, you are left with an assortment of finite or infinite models. And again Mr Skeptic's point about probability still stands. So long as there's a chance of the universe being infinite, his argument works.

I suggest we hold this question until we resolve the previous open ones.

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I am going to guess that Mr. Skeptic just used shorthand in his quoted post. Yes you cannot plug infinity into an equation, however:

$\lim_{n\to\infty} 1-\left(1-10^{-41000}\right)^{n}=1-0=1$

So there Mr. Skeptic's point still stands.

I'm not following this formula. Help me relate it to the probability equation relevant to the situation described by Mr. skeptic. I did give you a + for the translation.

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I'm not following this formula. Help me relate it to the probability equation relevant to the situation described by Mr. skeptic. I did give you a + for the translation.

I simply converted Mr. Skeptic's original statement to a limit statement. In this case the I simply denoted the size of the universe, or the number of planets with the variable n. So you can say probability of life forming is a function of the size of the universe, n. Then I used a limit to describe the behavior of the function:

$f\left(n\right)=1-\left(1-10^{-41000}\right)^{n}$

The limit basically means that as your n gets really really big, ie: close to infinity, the function f(n) approaches a value of 1.

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