1. The probability of drawing a particular sample from
a particular population has existence and to where we came from 4. According to the typical, non-religious model of reality, each of us is temporary and singular -- at best. If we ever live, we won’t live long, and we’ll do it only once. 5. If that is indeed the case, however, the probability of me existing right now is teensy-weensy, or vanishingly small. I’m damned lucky to be here, and damned lucky that it’s now. 6. “So? Those things happen.” (or something similar) … is the usual response. 7. Yeah. And every once in awhile, someone gets a poker hand of 4 aces. You’re right, those things happen. But if you have any existing suspicions about the dealer and your opponent, those suspicions will take a decided turn for the worse if your opponent turns over 4 aces at a particularly convenient time. 8. In other words, if you have a plausible hypothesis other than the ‘null hypothesis’ and you get results you wouldn’t expect given that the null hypothesis were correct, you can be justifiably suspicious of your null hypothesis (in our case, the non-religious hypothesis). It’s simply, which hypothesis – over all – makes the most sense. No problem. 9. It’s only when you have no other plausible hypothesis that you’re stuck with the null hypothesis. 10. So, the question is, do I have available another plausible hypothesis for my current existence? 11. As noted above, I can think of at least four that seem plausible. 12. And further, I can lump these four together (along with all other plausible hypotheses) in the compliment to the null hypothesis and say something concrete and definite about the probability of the null hypothesis – the non-religious hypothesis – being true, given my existence. 13. Given ...k = all background knowledge, ...P = the probability of, ...NR = Non-Religious hypothesis, ...| = given, ...me = me (my existence), ...R = Religious hypothesis. The formula for this probability is ...P(NR|me & k) = P(me|NR)P(NR|k) / (P(me|NR)P(NR|k) + P(me|R)P(R|k)). 14. Since P(me|R) is simply indefinable (it isn’t .0 or vanishingly small), I can substitute any positive value I want (.01 for instance), and the probability of the Non-Religious Hypothesis given my current existence and all background knowledge (P(NR|me & k) becomes P(me|NR)P(NR|k) / (P(me|NR)P(NR|k) + .01P(R|k)). 15. If I then assign the subjective probabilities of .9 to P(NR|k) and .1 to P(R|k), P(NR|me&k) = (vanishingly small) times .9, divided by .01 times .1 = vanishingly small. 16. Since I do exist, the probability of me being temporary and singular is vanishingly small. 17. I’m relieved! (Act 3) |