...Probably...

'Probability' is an envelope of knowledge that covers ignorance. When we say ' probably it will rain today', we mean that we don't know if it will rain today. That is all there is to it! Acknowledging ignorance is hard for proud beings like us. So we invent round about ways of saying 'we don't know', as if we are talking of something that we know. We say we know the probability.

Nothing creates an illusion of understanding than the constant usage of certain words. This is because our understanding of words often comes in a wink wink nudge nudge manner. You know...you know...No, I don't know! Take 'probably', for example. We think we know what someone means. But infact we don't have a clue! This  is one of the reason we have endless debates in science etc. It is because the latter believe in a claim because it is 'probably true'. Have you ever wondered why, when a scientist say ,'it is highly likely that bla bla bla' or 'most probably, bla bla bla' he never say the exact probability in mathematical terms? The answer is that he realy hasn't done any math on it. What he mean is that he believes that bla bla bla but there is not enough evidence to establish bla bla bla. He ignorant, but he is trying to come across as knowledgable!

Now let us check what someone might mean if he says 'It is more likely that Jesus survived the crucifixion than it is that he resurrected.'  The aim is to show you how loose this word: 'likely' is, yet we think that we know it well. We challenge the person to calculate the exact probability of Jesus resurrecting and that of surviving crucifixion. This is the real can that encloses the worms. A die has six sides. So the probability of getting any one number, when you toss it, is 1/6 . But what if 2 of its sides has number 3? Then we say that the probability of obtaining 3 is 2/6. So we say 'it is more likely to obtain 3 than to obtain say 2. You see? We have realy said nothing about the truthfulness of saying 'the dice will show 2 or 3'. We have just said 'there are more ways of obtaining 3 than there are of obtaining 2'. A scientist should not tell us that 'it is more reasonable to believe that the die will land on 3 than to believe that it will land on 2.'

But it is even worse when we apply the 'probability' argument to natural happenings. It assumes that nature 'throws some dice' and then choose what the 'dice indicates' and then makes that happen in the real world. But it is worse. It also assumes that we know the faces of this 'dice'. Take for instance the 'resurrection' case. The 'probability' thinking unwittingly asks us to see the resurrection as one of the many events that could happen, akin to one of the many faces of a cube. Then some 'die is thrown' to indicate what it should happen. What is it that is equivalent to the number of sides that indicates 'resurrection' or 'survival'?  We may say, for instance, that the number of sides that indicates 'Jesus survived on the cross' is the number of  things that could cause his survival. But who said that nature was randomly choosing from the number of ways of achieving a certain state? Or I may ask in different way: do we realy know what dice the nature was tossing, if there was such a dice in the first place?

Some ideas such as many 'spiritual' ideas demands that nature don't act in a random way. When a skeptic uses 'probability' here, he is, infact, begging the question. Does nature 'toss a dice'? When we say 'it is unlikely that a UFO that people saw last year was a spaceship', it has no bearing on truthfullness of the event unless we know that events happen because nature chooses randomly from an available set of  things that can cause  the events and that the set that nature uses is known to man. One should just say that he doesn't know if what people saw was a spaceship or a balloon. He should not say 'more likely it was a balloon' or ' most likely it was a spaceship'. There is realy no in- between knowledge and ignorance.

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