Does God Exist, Free Course, Lesson 4

The Theory Of Probability

We see a lot of phenomena taking place randomly : leaves falling from trees, dust settling on ground, and footprints made in sand. These actions take place in an unplanned manner — nobody orders clouds in a pattern — and therefore they are called random phenomena. 

Many people believe that all order seen in universe can be explained as the result of randomness, and that a plan, planner, or blueprint is not necessary. In fact randomness is the driving force which people invoke to explain how it all evolved into such magnificent beauty and order. They claim that just as patterns can be observed in randomly floating clouds, patterns will be formed in a randomly moving universe. 

This explanation looks very convincing as long as one is not serious. A serious study of the subject, however, will immediately show that randomness is a great destroyer of order — and not a creator as they would want you to believe. Matter and energy interacting randomly with each other turn medicines into junk (thus the expiry date), food into a rotten mass, and sparkling new things into unusable antiques. The same phenomena, on the other hand, never turn a blunt blade into a sharp one, dilapidated buildings into castles, and the random typing on a typewriter into a dictionary. 

Randomness and blind chance, where actions take place without plan, is so widespread that a whole branch of mathematics is devoted to it. It is called the Mathematics Of Probability. It is so advanced that it can confidently predict the outcome of random phenomena. This is the reason why the insurance companies, the lottery ticket organizers, and the gambling establishments never go in loss. The mathematics of probability accurately predicts how much they can gain. 

THE MATHEMATICS OF PROBABILITY

Let me try to explain the mathematics of probability in very simple words. Suppose a person is tossing a coin. Only a single side can come up in one toss, even though there are two probable sides. Thus, each side has a probability of 1/2. 

On the other hand, when dice are thrown, each die has six sides. Each side has equal likelihood of coming up, but only one of them can come up during a single toss. Therefore it has a probability of 1/6. 

If two dice are tossed together, thirty six different combinations can come up. This means that in any given toss, a particular combination has a probability of 1/36. 

In fact, if the three systems mentioned above — a coin, a die, and a dice pair — are tossed thousands of times, the faces that come up will be exactly according to the above predictions. In a coin, heads will come up half of the times while tails will come up half the times. In a single dice, each side will come up one sixth time. In a pair of dice, each combination will come up 1/36 time the total toss. There is a condition : the tosses should be fully random, and the number of tosses should be very high. 

Starting from simple examples like the above, this branch of mathematics has been developed to great precision for highly complex phenomena. Since the world is full of random phenomena, that repeat themselves billions upon billions of times, their outcome can be predicted accurately with the help of this mathematics of probability. 

If the calculated value of probability approaches one, the probability for that event increases. On the other hand if this value approaches zero, the probability decreases. In fact if the probability becomes one, the event becomes certain. But if the probability for an event becomes zero, that event will never take place. This information can be used to study the outcome of random phenomena. 

PROBABILITY AND THE WATCH

Let us see whether blind chance can make a watch. To be generous, we will assume that all components that go into a watch are already available. Now if all these components are put into a container and shaken, do you think that they will fit with each other to give you a watch ? Well, as anyone can see, even if the container is shaken for billions of years, you are not going to get a watch ! On the contrary, all this randomness is only going to destroy the well designed components. 

Now if we assume that instead of the watch, we place the few hundred thousand parts that go into a Jumbo Jet into this container and shake it ! Will you get the Jumbo ? NEVER ! 

So far we have discussed the problem only in qualitative manner. To be accurate, we can make it quantitative — that means, mathematical. When this is done, the mathematics of probability shows that even if the box is shaken for the entire assumed age of the Universe (ten to twenty billion years), you will not get a watch. If twenty billion years of random processes are not sufficient for producing a watch, then a billion times a billion years will not produce a Jumbo. 

In the above examples, we had simplified the situation by assuming that all parts that go into the watch and the Jumbo already exist. But if we assume, as evolution does, that everything has to start from scratch, the situation becomes even more hopeless. In fact it can be shown that the mathematical probability for this is so negligible that it is nothing but zero. 

DOES BLIND CHANCE EXPLAIN LIFE

If the probability for the self-assembling of a Jumbo is zero, the probability for the random evolution of a living cell is also zero. Even a single living cell is millions of times more complex and intricate than a Jumbo Jet. If anyone claims that this living cell is the result of blind chance, surely he is avoiding reality. 

A single living cell is incredibly more complex than the most complex factory in the world. If anything as complex as that factory could not come up by blind chance, it is ridiculous to claim than the infinitely complex living cells arose by chance. 

To complicate the matters, there are millions of different types of cells on earth. Animals, plants and other forms of life all have cells that remarkably differ from each other. If one type cannot evolve, a million type will only make the matters worse ! 

Whenever we see order and complexity, our thoughts immediately go to the designer behind it. Whether it is a well-painted house or a scenery or an automobile, a designer is needed. The mathematics of probability demands it. The same mathematics leads one to see God as the planner behind the immeasurable Universe.


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