Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam
magicmarmot

Sleepy again today, what's up with that? Could it be because I was up until 1:30 this morning?

Oh, yeah, I suppose it could.


There is a parablette that given an infinite amount of time, an infinite number of monkeys will type the collected works of Shakespeare. It's something that you run into in Philosophy of Calculus 101, where the powers that be try to wrap the concept of infinite into your tiny little brain.

The corollary of this is that the longer the time span and the larger the number of monkeys, the greater the chances of Shakespeare being typed-- but they're still pretty dang small. Small enough that you are almost completely certain that given any limit to the timespan and the number of monkeys, there will be no works of Shakespeare; the best they could come up with is Robert Ludlum novels. One could say that the works of Shakespeare require Intelligent Design.

And there is something to be said for that. It's pretty clear that there is a driving intelligent force behind the works of Shakespeare. But Willie the Shake wrote all of those works in a span of time less than his lifetime(s), which is extremely limited in the setting of the continuity of time. One could say that the chances of those letters coming up in exactly that sequence are so small asto be effectively zero, and thus requires inteligence to make it happen.

Let's up the odds a little. Let's take away the collected works of Shakespeare, and replace it with a 1000-word term paper. You can see that the probablility of a term paper of 1000 word (or so) length is a lot higher than the works of Willie. There are a hell of a lot of term papers that are possible with 1000 words. Yet it is still extremely unlikely that even a very large number of monkeys with a very large number of typewriters would generate even one single readable essay. Again, the chances of it happening are effectively zero. Thus again we require intelligent design.

The problem with the argument is that even with a very small probability, the probability exists. I give you the purchase of a powerball ticket as an example: if the odds of a winning powerball jackpot ticket are 120 million to one, those are small enough odds to be effectively zero. Yet there are enough tickets sold that occasionally, somebody wins a huge jackpot. By the theory of Intelligent Design, the winning of the jackpot requires the will of some higher power, and is not just a game of chance.

By scientific accounts, the earth is around 4.5 billion years old. You can play a whole lotta lotto in 4.5 billion years.

The Intelligent Design theorists state that there is no way that we could be the product of chance, because the probability of us just happening is so small as to be effectively zero. However, it's the wrong way of looking at it: consider that we are the equivalent of one of those 1000-word term papers that could have been written by the infinite monkeys. Sure, the probability that they would write this exact term paper is very very small, but the probability that they would write any term paper is much much better.

So taken from the viewpoint of one term paper, they feel special, like they're the only one that could exist. I just don't think we're all that special.

So how does that hook into love?

Well, given an infinite number of monkeys, what are the chances that any one monkey will have sex? Pretty high, right? Which seems fine, unless you're the one monkey that doesn't get any. Then you pretty much just get cranky and throw feces.

And I've kind of lost track of where I was going with this because I am distracted by the image of a poo-flinging monkey.
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