Re: Improbable or impossible?

From: Norman Samish <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 13:47:39 -0800

Infinity has no limit. If (a big "IF") there are an infinity of universes,
then anything that can happen, no matter how improbable, must happen, not
only once but an infinite number of times.

Either there are an infinity of universes or there are not - in either case
I wonder why?

I was thinking about the proverbial monkey and the typewriter eventually
writing the works of Shakespeare. The first two characters are "AB".
Suppose the typewriter had 100 keys and the immortal monkey hits them at
random. He would have a 1/100 chance of hitting an "A", then another 1/100
chance of hitting a "B", so his chance of hitting "AB" is then (1/100)^2.
His chance of randomly hitting 153 characters in sequence is (1/100)^153.
My arithmetic tells me that if the monkey typed two characters a second and
typed all the permutations of these 153 charcters with no duplications, it
would take him 1.165E+285 times the age of the universe to complete them
all. If there are, say, 500,000 characters in the works of Shakespeare, the
time it would take the monkey to complete all permutations is mind boggling.
And it's still not infinite.

I guess the point of this is that once we invoke "infinity" we're into
realms that cannot be comprehended, at least not by me.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Keitel" <>
To: "Norman Samish" <>; "Doug Porpora"
<>; "John M" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 12:39 AM
Subject: Improbable or impossible?

> Hello all.
> Infinite number of universes... Does it really make possible something
that is almost infinitely unlikely to happen? Take the example of somebody
tearing apart the Bible into millions of pieces and throwing them in the
wind. What's the probability of the pieces ending up on the street each page
side by side in correct order? In an infinite amount of universes, there
should be one where this happens. I mean, it's not that it could happen
(it's not any more likely in any other universe), but it really happens. Or?
> I'm sure if something like this actually happened in our world, we would
not take it as a random accident, because we would consider it so unlikely
that it's in effect impossible. Rather we would start looking for an
intelligent force behind this strange occurrence: The book was originally
constructed so, that the pieces were somehow programmed to rearrange
themselves if taken apart? Or a computer was used to scan the pieces flying
in the air and then controlling a wind machine to direct them into their
correct places on the street? Anything is more reasonable than a pure
accident in this case.
> The same would be probably concluded in any other universe with logically
thinking people like us. Is it then really necessary even in the case of
infinite univeses to have all possible situations, even if they are
infinitely unlikely?
> Another approach. In any religious/superstition based society this kind of
phenomenon would be considered a miracle, probably executed by a higher
God-like force. How unlikely is it for such a force to exist in reality?
More or less likely than the pieces arranging themselves accidentally? In an
infinite number of universes there should exist a universe with a "God" or
some other superhuman force, or?
> Techically this God could be described, instead of using mythical terms,
as a highly advanced civilization that is too complicated for the religious
society to comprehend. A civilization (or a member of such) that can twist
the physical reality, even control the wind. With very advanced computers,
perhaps incorporated in the atoms of the atmosphere, this would not be
impossible and it provide a more likely explanation than pure accident.
> Hence if there are infinite universes, there are also several where the
Bible rearranges itself. If it's more likely that this happens as an act of
a "higher force", then there should be more this kind of universe than those
where it happens accidentally...
> - martin
Received on Fri Jan 16 2004 - 16:49:19 PST

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