Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chance

I am not sure I know what is predictable and what is a miracle.

One of the common arguments against evolution is to list all the things that would have to be just right for life to emerge. It's just so so improbable. You start listing all the parameters and it does come to 1 over billions or something.

But what is the chance that I'm writing this post to you now? An entire universe had to happen just so for this event to occur. My parents had to attend Tulane in the 60s. Their parents had to meet in whatever way they met. I know my grandmother took a teaching job in northern Louisiana. Without that, no blog post.

Each of their parents had to meet, and theirs before that, and what if Genghis Khan had turned right instead of left so that my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandma doesn't hide in the same bush as that nice guy. So I'm writing this to you now because Genghis Khan turned right. Thanks, Genghis!

Of course, it doesn't stop there. While I have been thinking about chance for a few weeks, it was reading a related post over at Mother Reproduces' blog that made me write today. What if she'd had a headache that day on March 21, 2008, and not written that post. And I was reading that entry because I was at McK's where she linked to Whirl and then Mother wrote a comment on Whirl's blog.

In short, billions of people over thousands of years had to do just what they did, a vast conspiracy, for this amazing event, this blog post, to occur.

Yet here it is.

And it's such an ordinary blog post at that.

7 comments:

blogless troll said...

All for the purpose of providing me something to read while I ate my last Oreo at midnight. Thank you, Universe.

Mother (Re)produces. said...

He he he. And here I am. Funny, Pacatrue. I never noticed you call me 'mother' over at EE's. When I started to blog, I picked the name that most expressed my situation and state of mind. It wasn't until I started to crawl out and slum around on the web that I thought other people might want to communicate with *me,* and it dawned on me that it might make people feel weird to call me mother...

Anyway, the long chain of events that inspired blogless to put the last oreo to rest is impressive indeed. Just think of all the elves involved.

What all needs to happen, in the cosmic sense, to get him to put a jelly bean up his nose?

Robin S. said...

Fate is a corker, and I love thinking about it, and living it.

blogless troll said...

No cosmic machinations necessary, Mother. I do it for fun.

Mother (Re)produces. said...

I suspected you might :)

pjd said...

It can be difficult to describe infinity precisely.

If one believes in God (in the old man with a white beard but not a red suit sense), one believes in one type of infinity--the infinite power and intelligence of a supreme being.

If, however, one believes that happenstance caused life to pop into being one day, one believes in a different type of infinity. After all, if things exist for infinite time, and the universe is only 13 or so billion years old, then there could have been trillions upon trillions of year-equivalents that happened before just the right sequence of events caused just the right quarks to goop together into the first Far Side amoeba.

It does, however, seem a little far fetched to me that God made all those things happen (and others, too) because He wanted me to have a forum to post this comment.

blogless troll said...

He just wanted you to think it seems far fetched so that I could post this comment. Infinity, it turns out, is extremely self-serving.