Thursday, October 20, 2011

aliens, evolution and "infinite monkeys"

Some idiot who did not understand calculating odds came up with the theory that an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of keyboards will eventually type out all of Shakespeare's plays.

Some other idiot who did not understand the concepts created a computer program that "emulated" (not really, but whatever) monkeys baning on a computer at random. I won't explain why his program was dumb. I will just break down the dumb "infinite monkey" theory.

I will go one better than that.

Assume there are an infinite number of monkeys. Assume each monkey takes up X cubic meters of space with themselves, their computers and the fancy binding printer with an infinite amount of paper in the printer. We shall assume that each printer is a Tardis like system where the infinite space required for the printer paper is contained inside of a normal printer loading tray. Assume each monkey presses one key per second.

It will take 2 days for all of shakepeare's plays to be produced, all bound and ready floating around this infinite space bumping into monkeys, computers and printers.

Done, right?

Not exactly. The odds of punching out one of the plays is 1/Y^Z. Y is equal to the number of keys on a keyboard. Z is equal to the number of characters in a play. If the play is "A Comedy of Errors", Shakespeare's shortest play, and the keyboard has 101 keys the odds are about 1 in 1.74808391628e-160368.

Why do the odds matter? We have an infinite number of monkeys!

The odds are used to calculate distance. In other words 1 out of every 1.74808391628e-160368 monkeys has produced a play so the plays are 1.74808391628e-160368 times X (the distance between monkeys) apart.

If we replace monkeys with planetary systems and we replace Shakespeare's plays with intelligent life and we replace X with the average distance between star systems we get an idea of the minimum distance between intelligent life forms in the universe.

Assuming of course that the odds of producing a monkey producing a Shakespearian play and the random formation of intelligent life are the same and I am not willing to admit that. I think the odds of producing intelligent life are much higher than the odds of a monkey producing a play. For the sake of argument we can assume they are equal.

Lets say there are an average of 10 light years between planets.

That means the next intelligent life form is only 1.7*10^160369 light years away.

Only1.7 with 160,369 ZEROS behind it light years away.

Forget about faster than light travel, "fold space" or wormholes are the only way to travel that far. But wait! Suppose we could fold space. There are 1.74808391628e-160368 different star systems that we have to explore before we find one with intelligent life.

Imagine that number. That number is so big I can't even write it down. 17 with 160,367 zeros behind it. The US national debt is not even that big. That number is in light years. There are about 6 trillion miles in a light year. Even more zeros. These numbers go beyond astronomical distances.

The odds of winning the lottery are 1 in about 15,890,700. You, all by yourself, will win the lottery 1 with 160,361 zeros behind it times before you will meet an alien.

People ask me if finding alien life would shake my faith in God. I tell them Norfolk and Wayman.

Finding intelligent life on another planet would confirm my faith in God way beyond anything else that could happen because the odds of that happening without divine interference are, literally, beyond astronomical.

Beyond. These odds of two alien species coming into contact are so high the numbers are literally impossible to comprehend.

There is this really stupid movie called "Paul" about an alien on Earth and his existence is supposed to disprove the existence of God.

Suppose we did contact an alien species. Using the "infinite monkey" odds that isn't likely to happen. If it did would that make the existence of God more or less likely?

In my opinion defeating odds like that makes the existence of God much more likely. Beating odds along the line of the "infinite monkey" theory is miraculous.

Issac Asimov believed that the likelihood of the development of intelligent life was very, very low. Right around the same odds as the "infinite monkey" odds I would imagine. In Asimov's created universe only humans existed. Frank Herbert felt the same way. These authors had humans run into life on other worlds, but, that life was not intelligent.

Asimov had a doctorate in biochemistry and an atheist. Frank Herbert was a college dropout who educated himself so all the arrogant intellectual elitists out there can discount his ideas.

Suppose just about any life form develops intelligence?

Darwinian evolutionary theory tells us that the strongest survive and adapt. Strength is in adaptability, not necessarily in physical strength.

What is the strongest animal on Earth? Probably the whale. So why do humans "rule" (or control all the resources and means of production)? Anthropological theory tells us that animals which developed the intelligence to solve survival related problems through the use of teamwork and tools have the best opportunity to survive.

Supposing this is true multiple forms of intelligent life should have developed here on Earth. There is some potential for identifying dolphins as intelligent life. Other species have various levels of intelligence and utilize tools, teamwork and/or both and yet they have not developed the intelligence necessary to adapt their environment to their own needs as humans have.

Suppose people don't buy that premise, then the odds of the development of intelligent life capable of adapting their environment to their needs begin to climb again.

There are other theories entering the realm of science fiction, dolphins as intergalactic travelers who use telepathy to open worm holes to other worlds filled with water. Does intelligent life have to adapt the environment to their needs or can it just seek out environments that meet its needs?

Maybe dolphins and whales just don't care if they live or die in this physical life, maybe their life energy just enters another physical existence when a physical existence ends. Kind of a whale reincarnation.

Lots of theories. In the end the "infinite monkey" theory of evolution or alien life disproving God is just ridiculous and nothing makes me laugh more than when a moron starts talking about it and relating it to evolution and alien life forms.

That idea goes beyond ignorance, it is just plain dumb.

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