The Lottery of Life: Beating the Odds without God

A lottery winner of the standard six ball setup wins against the odds of one in 14,000,000. A last minute decision to play followed by the knowledge that your numbers beat every other ticket in the nation is rather overwhelming.

I would imagine…

More often than not winners thank God. Rightly so? Looking at the above stat it isn’t hard to feel a certain priveledge has been granted. When something out of the ordinary impacts our lives we can’t help but evaluate the incredible odds against us that we seemingly defied.

Have you ever survived a plane hitting your taxi?

The saying goes, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. 

This is troublesome for science. The unquestionable odds against our existence cannot be overlooked nor used as an argument against a religious skeptic. The chances of a living god are also incredibly slim. A god although in existence, powerful enough to create a universe and life to follow is another piece of fortune. Reducing the odds further, you coming into existence is more farfetched than the cheesiest Hollywood storyline. The odds against conception, being the fastest sperm, infant mortality and the risk of fatal illness have been disregarded for you to read this post. Also the avoidance of a fatal allergy or being born into an oppressive regime, slavery or war. Evading fatality via natural disaster, murder or a serious traffic accident, so far all successful.

Nothing in science is too farfetched to be true. The reality is whatever belief you have, it requires an unimaginable amount of luck. This is not limited to science and atheism. 

The easy route could be taken here, God grants us a free pass. An exception to the odds, the key ingredient as to reason why we have made it this far. This too requires immense fortune… why us? How many trillions have lost out in the process? For God to decide I am to make it this far is a feat in itself.

Like a lottery winners odds of 14,000,000/1, there will always be the ‘1’. It would be much, much more baffling to never have a lottery winner. Going against the odds is expected. No one ever beating the odds? Borderline impossible.

Robert Lanza in his book Biocentrism argues for a universe created by consciousness but still stresses the importance of probability. 

Russel Brand in his Trews channel on YouTube also speaks on the book in his video Is there a God? YES! Stephen Fry proves it.

  

Why do you happen to be alive on this lush little planet with its warm sun and coconut trees? And at just the right time in the history of the universe? The surface of the molten earth has cooled, but it’s not too cold. And it’s not too hot; the sun hasn’t expanded enough to melt the Earth’s surface with its searing gas yet. Even setting aside the issue of being here and now, the probability of random physical laws and events leading to this point is less than 1 out of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, equivalent to winning every lottery there ever was.

There may have been an infinite number of big bangs producing a universe too large, too small, too hot or too cold. Just because we live in a universe that is too perfect for life to be ‘random chance’, it doesn’t mean it isn’t just that. 

From the Big Bang until the present time, we’ve been incredibly lucky. This good fortune started from the moment of creation; if the Big Bang had been one-part-in-a-million more powerful, the cosmos would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and stars to have developed. If the gravitational force were decreased by a hair, stars (including the Sun) wouldn’t have ignited. There are over 200 physical parameters like this that could have any value but happen to be exactly right for us to be here. Tweak any of them and you never existed.

We could be the product of a billionth Big Bang. The one that finally got things moving. And because we are the lucky ones to witness it we have to question the stakes.

The birthday problem demonstrates how a coincidence isn’t all that coincidental. How many people have to be in a room to make it more likely than not that two of them share a birthday?

The answer, just 23. A typical scenario would be a house party, two people conversing and realise they share a birthday. Strange huh? Two people in the same room sharing a birthday with odds seeming 365/1. The math behind this can be found in the Scientific American article Math explains Likely Long Shots, Miracles and Winning the Lottery adapted from The Improbablility Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles and Rare Events Happen Every Day.

Sometimes strange odds aren’t all that strange, or odd. It would be silly to dismiss a scientific explanation whilst remaining committed to an alternative theory. The very fact we are here is bizarre regardless, nothing changes that fact.

There is another phrase that states anything that can happen, will happen.

I do not know the combined odds of all the factors we have defied to get here. What I do know is that the probabity every single one of these odds at some point will be avoided… 

I’d bet my house on it.

Featured image: Kolby Kirk

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