What Are the Odds of YOU Reading This Today?


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    Yan Bibiyan posted Fri, 20 Aug 2010 15:10:00 GMT(8/20/2010)

    Post 143 of 1295
    Joined 4/6/2010

    JWs, as well as other creationists as far as I know, use the argument that the odds of life starting on its own, from a mere mix of chemicals are beyond the mathematically acceptable limits and therefore life must have been designed by a higher being.

    My study conductor, a window washer by trade (no, really, this is not a jab at the guy’s choice of making a living) told me that those odds were calculated to be beyond 1:1x10100and statistically anything over 1:1x1050is considered impossible. I can understand the odds. For example, the 5 billion years our precious planet has been in existence translates to “only” 1.5768x1017 seconds…We have a long way to go to anything x1050

    So what are the chances that YOU, not your full blooded or half sibling or even your identical twin, are reading this today?

    Let’s make a simple calculation.

    We will assume that your parents already know each other and are planning to start a family with one child – YOU.

    On average, children are born within a 15 year time window (age difference between oldest and youngest). In some developing countries the window is wider, in others narrower, but 15 years is a good starting point.

    There are 180 months in 15 years and therefore ideally180 possible fertile eggs on the femile side of the equation. An egg is fertile for about 3 days during ovulation.

    During intercourse (at ejaculation), the male counterpart “deposits” no less than 20-50 million sperm. Let’s be really conservative and say only 3 million made it in any shape, way or form to be able to fertilize the egg. Time that by 3 for the 3 most likely days of this to happen and by the 180 times this can happen overt the 15 years of family growth and you have:

    3,000,000 x 3 x 180 = 1.62 billion

    So the odds of YOU being YOU with the same parents are less that 1:1.5x109

    Congratulations!! YOU have overcome some pretty tough odds.


    In order for YOU to be YOU, your parents have to have been THEM. Their odds of being THEM are no better than 1:1.5x109 EACH!!!

    If we apply the same ideal scenario as above, YOUR odds of being YOU have now diminished to only

    3 x (1:1.5x109 ) = 1:4.5x1027 !!!

    Shall we take this one level deeper?

    There are 4 grandparents required for YOU to be here today, each with their own 1:1.5x109 odds of being THEM.

    Going back only 2 generations have put the odds of YOU being YOU to an astonishing

    7 x (1:1.5x109 ) = 1:1.05x1063

    1:1.05x10 63 , way beyond the statistically acceptable threshold of possibility….

    Yet, YOU are here today reading this!

    Shall we attempt to apply the math for the 24,000+ generations of the “6,000 year human existence on Earth”? I think not.

    What gives?

    The above is an illustration where the same logic used by creationists to dismiss the possibility of life somehow starting on its own, rules them out of existence today.

    Those odds CAN NOT be applied retroactively. This is where the notion of using odds to dismiss Abiogenesis fails miserably.

    Please note that this is not an attempt to disprove creationist’s views and beliefs, it only illustrates the misuse of one more tool in the process.


    zannahdoll posted Fri, 20 Aug 2010 15:32:00 GMT(8/20/2010)

    Post 14 of 105
    Joined 8/13/2010

    Hello Yan Bibiyan, great points, thank you. My questions come in with the theory of intelligent design... to me it isn't just that one chance thing happened by coincidence... it is that many, many highly un-probable things happen... by coincidence ? That language and coding came from thin air? (are bodies are made of DNA, language and coding...) You may find me just as simple minded as your window washer friend (or ignorant)... but I'm genuinely having trouble with this.

    Also, just a side note: if you were to put a name of a person you never met before in place of a general "YOU" - you could pick a name out of the phone book, and, a person by that name (not you or someone else pretending to be that person) happened across this thread and made a post... well, that would prove your statistics... But to say that some people (the "YOU" that I'm guessing is implied here) will see this thread, in a forum which is already established and has regular viewers, then, the statistics may be different... wouldn't they? Also with google searches and cookies and so on this might even pop up to people's view even more. I don't know, for me it is still a little confusing.

    pirata posted Fri, 20 Aug 2010 15:33:00 GMT(8/20/2010)

    Post 304 of 1418
    Joined 12/31/2009

    Great Post!

    Yan Bibiyan posted Fri, 20 Aug 2010 15:51:00 GMT(8/20/2010)

    Post 144 of 1295
    Joined 4/6/2010


    As I stated, my intent was not to give the answers about Abiogenesis. I neither have the knowledge or frankly the wits to even touch that subject from a scientific perspective. Heck, even science itself is in its infancy in that field. My posts merely points out that an approach used by creationists - applying statistics backwards, nullifies anyone's existence today.

    As to putting the YOU to a particular person, even if I am biased and wrong by several orders of magnitude, say 1 million, this only shaves off 6 zeroes from the equation and will quickly be negated by the exponential growth of zeroes in going back just one generation.

    pirata, thank you.


    zannahdoll posted Fri, 20 Aug 2010 16:17:00 GMT(8/20/2010)

    Post 17 of 105
    Joined 8/13/2010

    Thank you, Yan, I know your intent was not to prove/disprove anything... I only commented because that I have a bit of trouble with it and I am trying to follow your logic... I'm not sure if I understand what you mean here:

    As to putting the YOU to a particular person, even if I am biased and wrong by several orders of magnitude, say 1 million, this only shaves off 6 zeroes from the equation and will quickly be negated by the exponential growth of zeroes in going back just one generation.

    My point (maybe you already picked up on it) was that, by chance, it is doubtful a person truly at random will see this post. People responding are not so random, most have been here before, newbies like me, were told about this forum by someone... making the probability that a "YOU" will see this much, much smaller... so much smaller that I would not call it improbable or say it is a one in a billion chance (six zeros added or taken away)... etc...

    I apologize if I'm missing your point.

    Yan Bibiyan posted Fri, 20 Aug 2010 16:25:00 GMT(8/20/2010)

    Post 145 of 1295
    Joined 4/6/2010


    I see the problem.

    "YOU reading this" was meant to be ANYONE reading it. YOU is just an expression of ANYONE being the unique human being they are. "YOU reading this" is a testament that YOU exist, and ANYONE exists to that effect. Clearly the odds, as appllied by creationists, show that YOU or ANYONE won't be here today to read it...

    Hope this clears matters.

    Welcome to the board, BTW!


    zannahdoll posted Fri, 20 Aug 2010 16:29:00 GMT(8/20/2010)

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    Joined 8/13/2010

    We must have been posting at the same time... I posted this as you were posting:

    I re-read your post, originally I thought you were saying that what are the chances "YOU" as in a person/any person would read this post. Now I see that you are saying what are the odds of me BEING me... and in this point in time: yes, those are exceptional odds... please excuse my mistake... I may be as simple as the window washer, but: how does that discredit his logic? To me it furthers his point...

    Yan Bibiyan posted Fri, 20 Aug 2010 16:42:00 GMT(8/20/2010)

    Post 146 of 1295
    Joined 4/6/2010
    how does that discredit his logic? To me it furthers his point...


    It shows that the odds for a future event can not be applied retroactively for a similar event that has already occurred in the past.

    There is 1:1.05x10 63 chance that a particular child will be born if two known couples got together today, produced one offspring each (obviously of a different sex) and their offspring produced one offspring. The chances of that grandchild being a particular child (i.e. the outcome of a random possible selection) are beyond the statistically acceptable possibility. Yet, if the family tree progressed as planned, there will be an offspring two generations down, whose chances of being there were statistically impossible at the beginning of the process.

    You can't dismiss the possibility that something occurred in the past, just because statistically it has no chance of occurring in the future.


    zannahdoll posted Wed, 25 Aug 2010 04:09:00 GMT(8/25/2010)

    Post 33 of 105
    Joined 8/13/2010

    Yan Bibiyan

    Why can't we apply it retroactively? Isn't that how we learn from history? Isn't that how we take a census and statistics... Wouldn't a person being born today, who, at one time was statistically impossible to be born, show that an impossibility IS possible? I apologize, I feel a little slow reading this. I know I'm missing something here... It still isn't clear to me. Thanks in advance for your patience with me.

    I forgot to say before: Thank You for the welcome.

    Quillsky posted Wed, 25 Aug 2010 04:28:00 GMT(8/25/2010)

    Post 796 of 844
    Joined 12/22/2009

    Good post, just a tiny (and irrelevant) technical correction - in 6,000 years there are approximately 240 generations, not 24,000.


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