Suppose I told you one of two things.

A) A Boeing 747 arose by chance in a scrapyard within a 24 hour period after a tornado flew through it.

B) A Boeing 747 always existed.

Suppose I then told you that one of them happened, and you have to decide which occurred. Think of any other complex object if this analogy doesn’t work, since the plane is not the point of the example.

How can or should one evaluate the plausibility of these two alternatives? On the one hand, the notion of something very complex arising by chance within a small duration of time seems utterly implausible. But more importantly, it can be defined to be utterly improbable.

In the other case, it is hard to make sense of what probability would mean here. Usually, it makes sense in the context of things beginning to exist, not things always existing. Thus, it may be fair to say that a complex, yet eternal, object has an undefined probability.

Should this undefined probability act as a plus or a minus when comparing it to the case of the object arising by chance?

  • 3
    Does this answer your question? Can we assign probabilities to God and is the argument from improbability from Dawkins valid? Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 19:03
  • If an infinite indestructible un-deformable airplane exists (however you want to define exists-now in the context of very far away and in the region of a gravitational event horizon), it helped form one of the universe's first black holes around 14 billion years ago, and isn't sitting on a very recent structure like a scrapyard, or a planet. Maybe every galaxy has a magic indestructible 747 at the center...
    – g s
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 14:22
  • Why are you giving only two alternatives? How about building up from simpler parts (or evolving)?
    – D. Halsey
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 23:36
  • >...plus or a minus...? - Try 0! 🤑😘
    – xerx593
    Commented Jan 4 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


Probability of something existing ,as it is ,forever is zero(not undefined). Probability of an improbable event is non zero, no matter how small.

  • This is the right answer, it provides the probability values, which is the question, without unnecessary dialectics. However, one precision: only probabilities of empirical/physical facts are always 0<p<1 (can never be zero or 100%). Probabilities of rational/metaphysical facts can be 0≤p≤1: for example, the probability for 1+1=2 is 100%. Physically, that is not a fact (for starters, two identical physical objects can't exist).
    – RodolfoAP
    Commented May 3 at 7:23

If I understand correctly, you are asking whether God created the universe for a purpose, or whether the universe has an intrinsic realization of purpose that arose by chance. Since we do not have any data about both of these assumptions, I beleive that we cannot assign any probabilities to them. So, the answer must be formulated in the context of religion or philosophy, not in a mathematical one.

On the other hand - mathematically speaking - if one of the 2 events can have a probability ex A) and the other B) has an undefined probability as you say, how can we compare a number with an undefined number?

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