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#12542 - 03/29/06 03:14 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
Count Iblis II tries again with:
"But if the universe is indeed infinite and all physically possible states are realized physically then Anthropic reasoning is certainly correct."

"...More probable..." implicitly means there is a sampling of worlds.

Your sample size is precisely 1.

You have absolutely no information about any other world anywhere in this or any galaxy.

At best you are engaging in hyperbole.

Your argument is lying on the floor ... over in the corner. Sorry about stepping on it. It is far too late to call 911.
We do have information about other worlds. We know about the fundamental laws of physics. The probability that there are no other worlds in this galaxy is almost zero.

Similarly, I have no first hand information about the moon landings. I wasn't there, so I can't be 100% certain it really happened. But I do know a lot about the way our media works. I know that what you read in journals, what you see in documentaries is reliable. So, I can conclude that the probability that the moon landings did not happen and that it was all a big conspiracy is almost zero. The sample size you use to find that the moon landings did happen is also 1.

Sammple size is irrelevant. What matters is the probability you obtain for or against some theory.

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#12543 - 03/29/06 06:48 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Countless wrote:
"We do have information about other worlds. We know about the fundamental laws of physics. The probability that there are no other worlds in this galaxy is almost zero."

Do you remember the Gong Show? The TV show where when someone did a deplorable job they rang the gong and then yanked them off stage? You need to listen to the gong.

Your first sentence, above, which I quoted has absolutely zero to say about sentient beings on those planets and whether they do or do not believe in a deity.

Your sample size is still 1.

Countless continued:
"Similarly, I have no first hand information about the moon landings."

You have even less information about God, Moses, Jesus Christ, George Washington, and Paris Hilton. None of whom you have personally met. Your lack of personal knowledge about diamond cutting doesn't refute the fact that diamonds are cut.

Countless plunged into the depths of despair with:
"Sammple size is irrelevant."

Gong!

And then completed his leap into obscurity with:
"What matters is the probability you obtain for or against some theory."

Gong Gong Gong. Probability without concern about sample size? Probability with a sample size of 1?
Are the following terms new to you?

AVERAGE
COEFFICIENT OF CORRELATION
CUMULATIVE DISTRIBTION
POPULATION COVARIANCE
POPULATION VARIANCE
SAMPLE COVARIANCE
SAMPLE VARIANCE
STANDARD DEVIATION
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#12544 - 03/29/06 07:08 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
I have a Ph.D. in physics and I was familiar with most of these terms when I was still in primary school (I was about 5 years ahead with my maths).

I'm not doing statistics with just one degree of freedom. Sample size is not relevant here. And you can twist the concept of sample size such that you can say that all your knowledge about the world is just one data point. Just digitize it and represent it as a point in a multi dimensional vector space. What matters is the information contained in the data. Google for Shannon entropy or Shannon information to learn more.


What matters is the probability. In this case it is the probability of finding yourself in a ''backward'' civilization vs, the probability of finding yourself in a rational civilization. These probabilities could, in principle, be calculated from first principles using only the laws of physics, without any further observations.

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#12545 - 03/30/06 07:30 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Count Iblis wrote:
"I have a Ph.D. in physics"
and
"Sample size is not relevant here."

Ok I am going to hold back my gut instinct to just break out in hysterical laughter and ask you to provide a reference that supports the the following two statements you made which were:

"It is more probable to find yourself in a world where most people believe in God than in an atheistic world"

juxtaposed with your statement:

"Sample size is not relevant here."

Yes. I want you to address your claim that sample size is not relevant to a discussion of probability.

And then I will either nominate you for a Nobel Prize or laugh hysterically until I turn purple and my colleagues call the paramedics.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#12546 - 03/30/06 09:31 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
Count Iblis wrote:
"I have a Ph.D. in physics"
and
"Sample size is not relevant here."

Ok I am going to hold back my gut instinct to just break out in hysterical laughter and ask you to provide a reference that supports the the following two statements you made which were:

"It is more probable to find yourself in a world where most people believe in God than in an atheistic world"

juxtaposed with your statement:

"Sample size is not relevant here."

Yes. I want you to address your claim that sample size is not relevant to a discussion of probability.

And then I will either nominate you for a Nobel Prize or laugh hysterically until I turn purple and my colleagues call the paramedics.
I use probability in a Bayesian sense, not a frequentist one. You won't win a Nobel prize for inventing Bayesian probability theory any more than for proving that 1 + 1 = 2. It's well established part of probability theory that you seem to be unaware of.


I argued for the statement "It is more probable to find yourself in a world where most people believe in God than in an atheistic world" on theoretical grounds. Sample size isn't relevant here. You can criticise the validity of the (implicit) assumptions made but that is another matter.

Compare the above statement with this one:


"It is more probable to find yourself in a galaxy in which there are many other planets than in a galaxy where there are just 20"

Suppose that this statement was made by an anstrophysicist 20 years ago on the basis of simulatons of planet formations. Thoise simulatons would be based on the known laws of physics. If accurate enough there wouldn't be much grounds to dispute the results.

So, based on these simulatations you would be able to estimate the number of planets in our galaxy, without ever having observed a single extra solar planet. Then you could calculate the probability that our galaxy contains no other planets besides the ones in our solar system. That would, of course, yield a very small probability.

What is the interpretation of this probability? It means that it is very unlikely that no extrasolar planets would be detected in the future. Of course you can only verify this once. There are either extrasolar planets or there aren't (we now know there are). But that's not a valid objection, because in principle you could imagine an ensemble of civilizations in different galaxies testing the same hypothesis.

If you insist on a frequentist definition of the probability then you have to invoke this ensemble. This is exactly how most physics textbooks define probabilities when you can measure the system only once. You invoke an ensemble of identically prepaired systems. But in the Bayesuian sense the probability is always defined and can be related to the knowledge you have about the system, e.g. via the Shannon entropy.

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#12547 - 03/31/06 12:29 AM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
To those who are not familiar with the term "Bayesian Probability" basically it is the scientific equivalent to "One flew over the cukoo's nest."

Here's the definition from Wikipedia for your delight.

"Bayesianism is the tenet that the mathematical theory of probability is applicable to the degree to which a person believes a proposition."
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#12548 - 03/31/06 01:39 AM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
To those who are not familiar with the term "Bayesian Probability" basically it is the scientific equivalent to "One flew over the cukoo's nest."

Here's the definition from Wikipedia for your delight.

"Bayesianism is the tenet that the mathematical theory of probability is applicable to the degree to which a person believes a proposition."

So if a total moron believes something ... in a Bayesian sense it is 100% probable. Since I believe the Count is full of helium ... therefore he is.
Not if you base it on a physical theory. You can indeed apply Bayesian reasoning to arbitrary beliefs. But if you apply it to update a priori probabilities in a well defined physical setting, there is nothing wrong with that. An example would be the ''number of planets in the galaxy'' I posted abpout earlier.

Of course, you had no arguments about that and had to resport to a childish Straw Man attack about how you could apply Bayesian reasoning in a nonsensical setting. And even there you make mistakes.

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#12549 - 03/31/06 05:51 AM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Count Iblis wrote:
"You can indeed apply Bayesian reasoning to arbitrary beliefs."

Tell you what ... I'll apply it to the Invisible Purple Rhinoceros."

Do you believe?
Yes brother I believe.
But do you really believe?
Yes brother I really believe?
But do you really really in your heart of hearts believe?
Hallelujah! Yes brother I feel it down to my toes.

ROFL.

Thanks for the comic relief.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#12550 - 03/31/06 12:25 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
Count Iblis wrote:
"You can indeed apply Bayesian reasoning to arbitrary beliefs."

Tell you what ... I'll apply it to the Invisible Purple Rhinoceros."

Do you believe?
Yes brother I believe.
But do you really believe?
Yes brother I really believe?
But do you really really in your heart of hearts believe?
Hallelujah! Yes brother I feel it down to my toes.

ROFL.

Thanks for the comic relief.
You have launched a successful Straw Man attack on the Invisible Purple Rhinoceros!

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#12551 - 03/31/06 04:20 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
And you were trampled. C'est dommage.
Nonsense. Go to wikipedia and edit the page on Bayesian probability explaining why it is nonsense. Mention the pink elephant example etc. Explain your edits on the talk page.

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#12552 - 03/31/06 06:02 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Don't play childrens games trying to change the subject. Here's what you've written.

1.
"It is more probable to find yourself in a world where most people believe in God than in an atheistic world"

Does the probability of finding yourself on planet inhabited by deists change if you truly believe that is the case?

2.
"The probability that there are no other worlds in this galaxy is almost zero."

Is the issue of other planets existing Bayesian? Do planets spring into existance if you believe in them hard enough?

You've been caught running around naked in the headlights of a police cruiser. You can believe all you wish that you are wearing clothes. But they are still going to handcuff you, throw you in the back of the patrol car, and laugh about you later as much as I am now.

What you've done with Bayesian probability is roughly the equivalent of using a screw driver to pound in a nail.

But what makes this hillariously funny is that you either (1) don't get it or (2) which is even worse haven't the integrity acknowledge your error.

ROFL!
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#12553 - 03/31/06 06:45 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
You are the one who is constantly changing the subject. In 1. I assume that it was possible for the observer to have found himself in an atheistic world. Now, you may disagree with that assumption, but it within certain theories, such as eternal inflation, all possible quantum states of the observbable part of the universe are realized. In that setting all possible histories are real, but some are more probable than others.

Of course, you can then say that there exists a planet on which pink elephants live that can climb trees. But that's besides the issue here.

If you simply refuse to accept the premise, that is fine, if you just say so. But what you do is you substitute your own twisted idea of Bayesian probability to make the whole thing sound ridiculous.


That you don't understand it doesn't mean it is flawed. That you can apply it in a flawed way doesn't mean that the method is fundamentally flawed.

Hint: the word ''belief'' is used in a general way. Usually it means prior knowledge. In your ridiculous examples the belief does not correpond to a real knowledge about the system at all, but rather to a nonsensical delusion.

Let me know when you have rewritten the wiki articles on Bayesian probability. I will stop responding to your childish propaganda here.

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#12554 - 03/31/06 07:04 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Count Iblis wrote:
"I assume that it was possible for the observer to have found himself in an atheistic world."

Disagree? There is not a single known example of an atheistic planet populated with sentient being anywhere in the universe. You have an invisible purple rhinoceros by another name.

I've no need to rewrite the wiki article. The fact that you don't understand when to use a hammer does not require redefinition of the screw driver.

ROFL!
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DA Morgan

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#12555 - 04/01/06 01:14 AM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
Count Iblis wrote:
"I assume that it was possible for the observer to have found himself in an atheistic world."

Disagree? There is not a single known example of an atheistic planet populated with sentient being anywhere in the universe. You have an invisible purple rhinoceros by another name.

I've no need to rewrite the wiki article. The fact that you don't understand when to use a hammer does not require redefinition of the screw driver.

ROFL!
There isn't a single example of a detection of a Higgs particle either. That doesn't mean that it is as likely to be detected as a purple rhino.

There is a lot of evidence for the existence of the Higgs, even though it hasn't been detected. Similarly, there is some evidence for an infinite universe, because of the success of inflation theory. The recent WMAP results are consistent with inflation. And if you had taken the time to listen to Alan Guth's talk (I posted the link a few postings back) you would have understood that Inflation generically implies an infinite universe.

And an infinite universe implies an infinite number of copies of any observer distributed over all possible situations. But not all these situations are as likely, of course.

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#12556 - 04/01/06 03:25 AM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Count Iblis wrote:
"There isn't a single example of a detection of a Higgs particle either. That doesn't mean that it is as likely to be detected as a purple rhino."

Another attempt to change the subject that will not go unchallenged. Are you now claiming the existence of the Higgs Boson is a matter of Bayesian probability? That the Higgs will exist if I truly beieve in my heart and sould that it does? ROFL!

Count Iblis wrote:
"There is a lot of evidence for the existence of the Higgs, even though it hasn't been detected."

Which again has absolutely nothing to do with Bayesian probability. ROFL!

Count Iblis wrote:
"And an infinite universe implies an infinite number of copies of any observer distributed over all possible situations."

An infinite universe implies nothing other than the fact that there is no boundary. And absolutely nothing Bayesian. ROFL!
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#12557 - 04/01/06 12:33 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
Bayesian probability theory has nothing to do with some parapsychological nonsense like if you believe something then it is true.

If you disagree, then why not edit the wikipedia article on this subject?

You are the one who is changing the subject by claiming that Bayesian probability theory is what you say it is.

''An infinite universe implies nothing other than the fact that there is no boundary.''


False, i.e. the ''nothing other than'' in your sentence.

In the general case, an infinite universe implies an infinite number of observers. This is similar to saying that if you know that there are a trillion stars in a galaxy then that's all you know. But you know more than that, because you know about how the universe works. So, you also know that there will be a lot of interstellar dust there, even though you haven't seen it yet there.

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#12558 - 04/01/06 07:45 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
I never said Bayesian probability had to do with parapsychological nonsense. I said it had absolutely nothing to do with whether the majority of planets inhabited by sentient beings believe in god. You seem to have a remarkably short attention span.

Count Iblis wrote:
"In the general case, an infinite universe implies an infinite number of observers."

Back up this single sentence. Point to a single book on physics or math that supports this single sentence.

Next, no doubt, you will tell me that if the universe is infinite then there MUST somewhere be an invisible purple rhinoceros too.

ROFL!
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#12559 - 04/01/06 09:04 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
Count Iblis II Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 375
Quote:
Count Iblis wrote:
"In the general case, an infinite universe implies an infinite number of observers."

Back up this single sentence. Point to a single book on physics or math that supports this single sentence.
Ok, but pay attention to ''In the general case''. You can always consider an unnatural situation where the infinite universe isn't homogeneous and only contains a finite number of stars. Such a situation is unnatural from the point of view of basic physics and astronomy, not simply because it doesn't predict an infinite number of observers.

I'll give you some peer reviewed publications:

Joshua Knobe, Ken D. Olum, Alexander Vilenkin,
''Philosophical Implications of Inflationary Cosmology'', to appear in British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, preprint


Ken D. Olum,''Conflict between anthropic reasoning and observation'', Analysis 64, 1 (2004) preprint


This book explains inflation:

Particle Physics and Inflationary Cosmology

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#12560 - 04/01/06 10:20 PM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
"Next, no doubt, you will tell me that if the universe is infinite then there MUST somewhere be an invisible purple rhinoceros too."

Maybe...

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#12561 - 04/02/06 12:34 AM Re: would an atheist world be a better one?
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Count Iblis ... thank you for making an object lesson to lurkers on how easy it is for people to sound knowledgeable while pontificating poppycock.

You wrote:
"a finite number of stars"

A finite number of stars ... an infinite number of stars ... it makes no difference. There is no basis upon which to postulate sentient observers believing in god.

Thank you for the references. Have you read them? Do they make a single reference to Bayesian probability? No!

Do you read stuff or just throw it at the wall and hope it will stick?

Here's what your reference states:
"Recent developments in cosmology indicate that every history having a nonzero probability is realized in the infinitely many distict regions of spacetime."

So a planet inhabited by beings that believe in god has a non-zero probability of existing. You are standing on it. That says (1) nothing about more than one existing and (2) has absolutely nothing whatsovever to do with Bayesian Probability.
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DA Morgan

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