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Old August 6, 2003, 12:48 PM
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Orpheus Orpheus is offline
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Default Probability!

First I would like to say that this is a very interesting debate with Nasif leading by one run (just pissing off Arnab ). Although I must say that most of the links to my Orgo text book isn’t interesting at all. Since Ockey wants to discuss freedom of speech, I request our active moderators to split the topic somewhere in the first page. No need to apologize for going “Off topic”. Now Nasif bhai, I didn’t think you were just trying to expose the fallacy of Evolution. I got the impression that you were keener on showing God’s work. Whatever it is, I will share my thoughts on it later…. Don’t want to put all thoughts in one post and make it too long!

Now the arguments on Probability:

Not to mention that the very postulate that billions of the molecules trying independently of one another increases the chance of creating a replicator is completely against laws of probability.
Well, I will not argue with the laws of probability or even go to the lottery analogy. Both are a bit theoretical. Let’s take a look at a practical (something that happened) analogy. I will get to the point…keep reading.

Nasif Bhai - I am presuming you have heard of the RSA-129 challenge. The challenge in brief: There is a 129-digit number, which is the multiplication of two prime numbers. RSA (Rivest, Shamir, and Adelman?) published the 129-digit number along with an encoded message and you had to crack it by finding those two prime numbers that made up the 129-digit number. Prize: $100 – lol. (Cheap bastards)! (Oh yeah I think the amount of numbers below 129-digit number can be technically seen as the infinite set in comparison with lottery’s finite set )

RSA predicted that it would take 40 quadrillion years (4.0 x 10^16) to crack that number. To their astonishment it was cracked in just 17 years. Later RSA figured that their estimated/anticipated time had an “error”. But still their new calculation predicted that it would take at least Thousands (yeah that’s with an “S” – plural) of years to crack it.

How it was cracked: Through internet! Ah whah? Yup. But how? Well they invited people all over the world to volunteer their desktop in cracking the code. So several hundred computers along with 2 fax machines were engaged in cracking the number. It took only 8 months of real time to get the two primes. Talk about 40 quadriwhah Billion years?

So, you can’t really say with certainty that the probability of producing a “self-replicator” is almost zero. After all we are talking about the probability of something that happened billions of years ago. It’s easy to make a mistake in calculation or very likely – not to include some “catalysts” (factors), that would speed up or perhaps isolate some reactions to get better results.

Let’s get back to the RSA challenge and see some of the factors that lead to the crack. Well, obviously the computers got faster in 17 years. But also a kid name Pom?, no not pompous, I think pomrence (he is my catalyst) came up with a discovery called the quadratic sieve. He uses some clock calculators where not all numbers below 129-digit number are considered individually – some automatic elimination. In any case, the idea was that the more clocks that could be used, the closer he could get to cracking a number into its prime constituents. He couldn’t crack it with his machine though.. It was through the hundreds of computers which implemented the idea – cracked it!

Now you ask why the hell you are giving me all these cryptography jargon which has nothing to do with abiogenesis/evolution? Well I just wanted to show you that
1. Expectations (quadrillions yrs) doesn’t always comply with results (17 years).
2. There may be some factors left out from the reaction that may well increase the probability. It’s hard to believe that we got detailed and precise analysis of some billion years old environment.
3. As much as I understand, chances are more when it is done widely (more computers, more reactions etc etc).

Ok I think I had enough today….

(by the way Arnab, you might wanna summarize those probability articles - I think I am interested now... I am overwhelmed by the size, not everyone wants to go through text books )
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