## What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Discussions on general biology and biological evolution, genetics, zoology, ecology, botany, etc.

### Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Alan McDougall » August 2nd, 2012, 10:34 pm wrote:In your opinion forum,

What do you suppose the odds are that life came into extistence from the primordial eliments by chance alone?

Scientific term ambiogeneses

Alan

EDIT:c orrected spelling of abiogenesis, just for appearances. Hope this is OK--Marshall

If I make these cubes with the numbers 1 through six on them and start rolling two of them over and over, is it just by chance alone that sometimes the total of the two numbers is seven? No. This results is an inevitable consequence of the "rules of the game." My example is one where I am the designer of the game but if I were invisible (and undetectable in any other way as well) and all you saw where two dice being tossed around with no idea where the dice came from then can you assume the "game" was designed by anyone?

I certainly believe that abiogenesis was quite probably an inevitable consequence of the laws of Nature even if the location where this happened was a matter of chance. I also think that both ideas of theism and atheism on whether these laws of Nature were created by someone are rational but subjective conclusions.

mitchellmckain
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### Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Using statistical odds to determine the likelihood of something that may have already occurred is not generally helpful in any context, and it is also one of the worse ways to determine if something actually did occur. Let us say I randomly gave you just FIVE cards from a standard deck of 52:

52*51*50*49*48= 311,875,200 possible permutations of sequence AND order.

If we disregard order and simply focus on the cards, we still have 2,598,960 possible hands. This means EVERY SINGLE TIME you draw five cards from a 52 card deck you have a 1 in 2,598,960 of getting THAT exact hand of cards. Yet you are guaranteed to get one of those 1 in 2,598,960 hands every single time you draw.

So, no, using statistical odds aren't that helpful in the domain in which you are applying it. Especially considering the astronomically improbable, like your birth, happen constantly. Furthermore, statistics does not function as straightforwardly as people THINK it does. For instance, do you know the probability of a true positive on a blood test with 95% accuracy for a disease with a 1% prevalence in the population?

Hint: It isn't 5%.
thehedglin
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### Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

thehedglin » 31 May 2017 03:20 pm wrote:do you know the probability of a true positive on a blood test with 95% accuracy for a disease with a 1% prevalence in the population?

Hint: It isn't 5%.

~16.1%. Though are you possibly conflating statistics and probability?

In any case, I don't generally disagree with your points. I think the subtle aspect that some people tend to miss is that the seemingly small possibility of life appearing on a given planet by random chance was made more likely by the presence of a near infinite number of planets. The unnecessary assumption that some people make is that life had to appear on this very planet and none other. Indeed if that were the case, then life's emergence would seem significantly less probable (though still not necessarily improbable mind you). However, that's an assumption with no foundation. But people will believe what they want anyway - sense of previlige is a hard thing to shake off.

BioWizard

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### Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

BioWizard » May 31st, 2017, 6:55 pm wrote:
~16.1%. Though are you possibly conflating statistics and probability?

In any case, I don't generally disagree with your points. I think the subtle aspect that some people tend to miss is that the seemingly small possibility of life appearing on a given planet by random chance was made more likely by the presence of a near infinite number of planets. The unnecessary assumption that some people make is that life had to appear on this very planet and none other. Indeed if that were the case, then life's emergence would seem significantly less probable (though still not necessarily improbable mind you). However, that's an assumption with no foundation. But people will believe what they want anyway - sense of previlige is a hard thing to shake off.

Well, truth is, I am not sure we even have enough information to even generate an accurate probability for Abiogenesis, or many other events that seem to have occurred in the past. It would require a very detailed and comprehensive understanding of factors I don't think we can even pretend to know.

We don't even know how many the supposed protocells were floating in that soup and eating each other, or how long they were supposedly doing it, before the first self-replicator arose...
thehedglin
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### Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

I agree, of course. But that need not stop us from speculating, does it now? :)

BioWizard

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### Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

BioWizard » May 31st, 2017, 7:36 pm wrote:I agree, of course. But that need not stop us from speculating, does it now? :)

Hell no. Bring on that conjecture, don't threaten me with a good time. Let's just leave the Vegas bookies out of it unless we a taking bets...

lol
thehedglin
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