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Old 02-09-2013, 09:23   #478
void *
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Originally Posted by Cavalry Doc View Post
Lets suppose that all the right pieces just happened to fall into place millions of years ago, when the planet was devoid of life. That's quite a statistical feat.
You can't actually make the statement that it is "quite a statistical feat" without being able to determine how many trials actually occurred.

If you have a probability of an event occurring of 0.00000001, if there is one shot at it the probability of one success is, naturally, 0.00000001

If there are 1000000000 trials, the cumulative probability that there is more than one success exceeds 0.997. That's 99.7%. The 0.3% left over is the probability that it happened either 0 or 1 times. The probability it happens /at least once/ is so close to 1 that the calculator I used just states 1. It's practically a certainty (although this hypothetical event could still not happen).

It doesn't matter how low the probability of an event is for a single trial - a sufficient number of places in which the event has a chance of occurring will raise the probability of that event, sometimes to near-certainty.

Please consider that before you decide that something is "quite a statistical feat", and ask yourself if you (or anyone) currently even knows in how many places in this gigantic universe we exist in conditions were sufficient to be considered a "trial". We know there's at least one. What we do not know is how many trials are hidden in that 'at least'.
"The human mind is seldom satisfied, and is not justifiable by any natural process whatsoever, as regards geometry, our universe differs only slightly from a long-term, bi-directional, single trait selection experiment." -- Maxwell/Einstein/Johansson

Last edited by void *; 02-09-2013 at 09:36..
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