Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Evolutionists: Out of Sync with Probabilities

The purpose of this too-lengthy discussion is to help the reader interpret scientific papers, articles, and periodicals and understand how much of what they are reading is actually proven fact versus speculation by the author.

Another field of study with which evolutionary scientists are out of step is called Probabilities. It is a sub-study of both Logic and Statistics.

If you've been keeping up with scientific periodicals or just the headlines, you've probably noticed the number of times that the concept of probability comes up. It's usually hidden in phrases like:
" likely a result of..."
"...may have influenced..."
" the most probable explanation for..."
"...which best explains..."
"...clear evidence of..."
Ok, that last one was mostly a shameless plug. Most of these are short hand for "the only thing I could think of is..." But you're not likely (see there's another probability) to read any lengthy article or publication without also seeing these kinds of phrases to shield the author from peer scrutiny and future discovery. Why is that?

Well, rules for proof have existed for a very long time. Some of these rules have been formalized in the last 500 years to give researchers and philosophers an idea of what will be expected of them if they come forward claiming to have proven some new thing. Some of these rules look like this: In order for a thing to be considered "proven", a thing must be...
  • reproducible
  • observable
  • invariable
  • the only remaining possibility
  • universally applicable
  • atomic (no external dependencies)
  • independently verifiable
Many mathematicians and philosophers (far smarter than me) have analyzed the concept of probability and proof and systematized their observations into useable formulas. One such fellow is named Andrey Kolmogorov. He formalized 3 rules of probability:
  1. a probability is a number between 0 and 1;
  2. the probability of an event or proposition and its complement must add up to 1; and
  3. the joint probability of two events or propositions is the product of the probability of one of them and the probability of the second, conditional on the first.
To make it simpler,
  • Rule #1: if you are 90% sure of something, then that percentage is equal to 90 over 100 or .9 which is between 0 an 1 as he suggests.
  • Rule #2: if the probability is .9, then it's 'complement' (i.e. how unlikely it is) is equal to .1, since the sum of the probability and improbability must add up to 1.
  • Rule #3: if the probability of one event is 90%, and the probability of another event is 50%, then the probability of both of these events being true (or coming to pass) is the product of the two, or .9 times .5, or .45 (i.e. 45 percent).
Now, I'm sorry to have dragged you through all of this, but there is a point to it. When scientists say that they are 99% sure of something that depends upon the truthfulness of something else of which they are 95% sure. Then the combined probability of them being right on a whole is only 94%. If those two rely on something that is 98% sure, the total probability drops to 92%.

An example of scientific assertions depending upon one another might be something like: 1) Neanderthals were likely forced north and east out of Europe by more modern hominids. 2) Some of these exiles probably would have crossed the Bering Land Bridge into North America before it's 3) [assumed] collapse 10-11,000 years ago.

There are at least 3 statements of probability here. Two are overt, the third, in square brackets, is implied. That Neanderthals crossed into North America over the Bering Land Bridge depends upon 1) their actually being forced out of Europe, 2) the Bering Land Bridge actually existing. To take it one step further, their crossing also depends upon the land bridge existing at the time that these atheistic scientists say Neanderthal existed. So there is a chain of dependencies, each with its own probability attached.

Evolutionary archaeology, paleontology, biology and zoology offer so many unproven theories, all of which are interdependent. Each tiny thing they claim to have proven is dependent upon hundreds of past unproven statements, and immediately becomes the basis for many future unproven assertions. When the likelihood of each new discovery is added to the formula the total probability, as a percentage, drops.

When evolutionary scientists claim a bunch of things that are "fairly likely", they want us to average all the relevant probabilities, and tack on a few merit points for good measure. 90% of 85% of 99% of 87% of 98% of 94% of 50% of 89% of 99% of 80% of 55% of 95% of 90% of 83% of 99% of 97% of 88% of 92% of 88% of 60% of 80% of 98% of 95% of 92% of 97% of 85% of 99% of 98% of 97% of 94% of 90% of 79 % of 99% = 100%, which is how certain THEY are that evolution is true.

When in reality, the likelihood that all they're asserting is true is the PRODUCT (multiplied, not averaged) of all relevant probabilities, (i.e. 1%); and that's probably too generous!

No comments: