Archive for April, 2010

Statistically Impossible

Often I hear references to statistical impossibility in discussions regarding the anthropic principle and evolution. The chances of our universe having its life-permitting cosmological constants in place being unimaginably small and the like. Numbers that have little meaning to us numerically but still inspire awe.

I sometimes think about chance when reflecting upon life. What if I did not move from Ukraine? What if the plane we were in crashed? What if we came to a different state, a different city? What if I went to a different school? Do you see what I’m getting at? The culmination of probabilities resulting in something similar to those nonsensical figures. One can think of life itself in the evolutionary sense—you yourself are the product of the successful transmission of genetic information. Your lineage can be traced back to the first life forms, a truly amazing thing. What is more amazing to me is that this sequence can be broken, whether by chance or by will. An early death or the decision not to have children can break the thread (that is approximated to be) several billions of years old.

Sometimes I wonder, why look to the skies for the infinite when it’s right here beside us, within us?

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