There is a finite possibility of you existing in this moment, compared to an infinitely long afterlife. Therefore the probability that an eternal afterlife, such as the stereotypical ideas of "heaven" and "hell", exists is 1 in infinity.

Didn't anyone notice this before?

This is not an "am I right" question. The argument is flawless I'm only asking it has a name.

  • 6
    There's an infinity of numbers. Therefore the probability of any single number existing is zero. Right? No. – Eliran Jun 2 '16 at 15:05
  • 1
    Read the question again please because you clearly did not understand. – D J Sims Jun 2 '16 at 15:14
  • 2
    .Wish I could retract my reopen vote -- as currently written this is an "Am I right?" question and should be closed, even if it does impinge on some questions related to the anthropic principle and Simulation Hypothesis. – Dave Jun 2 '16 at 17:27
  • 1
    Don't worry @Dave, voted to leave closed. – Eliran Jun 2 '16 at 19:35
  • 4
    We evidently aren't living in any (potential) afterlife. That only shows that there is a flaw in the proposed logic, not that there isn't an afterlife. This argument, as stated, could also prove there's no such thing as outer space since space is infinite and we're not in outer space. – James Kingsbery Jun 6 '16 at 19:39

Events with probability 0 can occur. If you randomly pick an integer, any particular integer (including the one you choose) has probability 0 of being picked.

Edited to address this comment from @bruisedreed:

When you say "can occur", I presume you are talking about the real world; the problem with this, is that any mechanism that will "randomly" pick a number out of the infinite series of integers, will require infinite time to execute. It's true that events of very low probability can occur, but I don't think you've demonstrated that it's possible for events of 0 probability to occur.

The role of probability here is as a reasoning tool. I'll modify OP's theory a bit for illustration. Imagine that after you die you are reborn, and that your afterlife is completely indistinguishable from your first life. You will continue being reborn forever, and every afterlife is indistinguishable from every other. You wouldn't be able to tell whether your current existence is your first life or one of an infinite number of afterlives. In other words, your knowledge about what your life is like does not inform you as to the likelihood of being in an afterlife. For all you know, your existence constitutes a random sample, which means that living your original life has a mathematical probability of 0 even though it is certain to occur at some point. The same can be said for any particular afterlife. It is mathematically the same as randomly picking an integer, even if this hypothetical universe is completely deterministic. This is the Bayesian model of probability: Given what we know, what is likely to be true?

  • 4
    Please explain how I am misunderstanding. My impression is that you are suggesting "1 in infinity"="impossible", which is what my answer is disputing. – Era Jun 2 '16 at 15:19
  • 3
    @DJSims He does have an answer, and that answer is correct. Two people have pointed this out to you now, and all you've done is gains aid them, with no elaboration, explanation, or counterargument. You need to explain, in detail (in the body of your question), why this analogy is inapt. – Dan Bron Jun 2 '16 at 15:23
  • 3
    It seems to me that the answer is correct. Maybe I have difficulty to read too :) If you really think we are all misunderstanding the question maybe you can help us by rephrasing it a bit or explaining why the answer is wrong. – JSFDude Jun 2 '16 at 15:31
  • 3
    @DJSims Given there are at least now 5 people supporting this interpretation of your question (from the voting patterns), you might like to consider that you have a writing problem, rather than we have a reading problem. Again, mere counterassertions add nothing to the discussion, and will not dissuade people from the "any integer has a 0 chance of being picked, but some integer will be picked" position, nor will they encourage further answers or responses to your question, which is presumably what you came here for. – Dan Bron Jun 2 '16 at 15:33
  • 3
    @DJSims Instead of accusing other people of not understanding you, maybe you should be taking the time to try to understand them accurately, since you're the one with the question. If all you want is for everyone to blindly agree with you, we'll need to close your question, since soliciting agreement with personal philosophies is explicitly off-topic. – Chris Sunami Jun 2 '16 at 16:03

This logic is not quite correct. One way to interpret your question is to imagine your life and afterlife plotted on a number line. Let's say the "life" portion goes from 0 to 100 (years) and the afterlife portion picks up after that and goes to infinity. Your claim is that if you picked a point at random on the graph, the probability of it being in the "life" portion rather than the "afterlife" portion is vanishingly small, whereas on the graph where only the "life" portion exists, the chance of picking a point at random within the "life" portion becomes 100%.

Let us assume that you are only able to ponder the mystery of your own existence on an internet forum during the "life" portion of your graph (no computers in the afterlife). Then the point being picked is not random, and since it is not random, you cannot infer probabilities from it. (The difference here with the simulation argument is that the simulation argument imagines a very large number of "life"-like regions, only one of which is not simulated. You could be --apparently --posting on a computer in any one of those regions, since they all imitate life.)

I'll offer an analogy to support this claim. Imagine you have a recording that is 3 minutes long. After you play it, it will auto-destruct. Somewhere in the middle of the recording is the statement "This is the moment." When you play the recording, it lasts for a finite amount of time. After that, there is (potentially) an infinite amount of time in which the recording is never ever played again. But there is nothing impossible about there being a specific identifiable moment in that finite time when it was playing, even if there is an infinity of time when it is not playing. (This is actually the same argument as outlined by Eliran and Era, just presented in an easier-to-understand way).

  • There is a finite possibility of you existing in this moment, compared to an infinitely long afterlife. Therefore the probability that an eternal afterlife, such as the stereotypical ideas of "heaven" and "hell", exists is 1 in infinity. <- No anthropic stuff. – D J Sims Jun 2 '16 at 15:49
  • 1
    You're just reiterating your initial wrong premise. The reason no one else has noticed this before is because it's incorrect. gifbest.com/Jokes/Old_People_Jokes/151.html – Chris Sunami Jun 2 '16 at 15:52
  • Your anthropic argument doesn't apply. Per the anthropic principle we should be living in the afterlife if it exists. – D J Sims Jun 2 '16 at 15:55
  • 1
    I removed the reference to the anthropic principle since it seemed to be confusing the issue. – Chris Sunami Jun 2 '16 at 15:58
  • 2
    Remove any inference of "impossible" and what's left of your question? Any specific moment of life approaches infinite improbability, even without consideration of the afterlife. – Chris Sunami Jun 2 '16 at 16:06

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.