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Evolution: The Game is Rigged

Brother Jeff

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This post appears courtesy of Brother Richard S. Russell of the Atheist-talk Yahoo Group.


In the imaginary world of Dungeons and Dragons, the workings of fate

are simulated by rolling percentile dice. Each of these dice has 10

sides, 1 labelled 00 thru 90, the other 0 thru 9. You find what

percentage you've generated by adding the numbers together. For

example, a 50 and a 4 yield 54. If some event has, say, a 75% chance of

occurring, any roll of the percentile dice of 75 or below means it's



Let's use these percentile dice in a little game between Randy the

Rationalist and Cretin the Creationist. The name of this game is

"Evolution". Here are the rules:


(1) Randy and Cretin each get to start with $100.

(2) Each will roll a pair of percentile dice, check the results, and

make whatever payoffs are required by these rules. This will keep going

until one or the other is broke.

(3) If they both roll the same number, Cretin will pay $1 to Randy, and

they will enter that number on the Master List.

(4) If either of them rolls a number on the Master List, Cretin will

pay $1 to Randy.


Now, they'll probably roll the dice a lot before they 1st get to invoke

Rule #2. (The probability of a match is 1/100, so the expectation is

that it'll happen about 50 rolls into the process.) Let's say they both

roll 16. At this point, Randy's up to $101, Cretin's down to $99, and

the number 16 is entered on the Master List.


They keep rolling. Within about another 25 rolls, Cretin hits 16 again.

Now it's Randy $102, Cretin $98.


They keep rolling. Within about another 25 rolls, they both get 73.

This number gets entered on the Master List. Randy $103, Cretin $97.


After another 15 rolls, Randy hits 16 again. Randy $104, Cretin $96.


Another dozen rolls, and Cretin hits 73 again. Randy $105, Cretin $95.


Another 10 rolls or so, and they both get 55. Randy $106, Cretin $94.


Another 8 rolls, and Cretin hits 73 yet again. Randy $107, Cretin $93.


You get the idea. The game is rigged. There are NO rules that allow

Cretin to win, while Randy's chances of winning get better and better

as time goes on. Inevitably, no matter how much money Cretin starts

with, Randy will have it all. Even if we vastly reduce Randy's chances

by, say, modifying Rule #3 to require that the players roll identical

numbers twice in a row in order to invoke a payoff, the game is still

rigged, and -- over a much longer period of time -- Randy will still

get all the money.


This is the way Evolution works. Every roll of the dice is governed by

pure chance. But, once the game hits on a winner, it STAYS a winner

ever afterward. The effects are cumulative. It may take a long, long

time for Randy to win ALL of the money (the equivalent of coming up

with a whole new species thru a series of tiny incremental changes),

but it's as inevitable as the sunrise.


After awhile, you'd think that even the Cretins of the world would

realize that the game is rigged.

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Nice story!


Or, there is still a rule that allow Cretin to win: that there really is a god, who tries to deceive us.

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Or -- there can be no dice according to your worldview, Brother Jeff. The TAG strikes again! ha ha hah


Nice analogy. I reckon it holds up even when you account for the environment's changing every so often, thus rendering some adaptations no longer useful.

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"thus rendering some adaptations no longer useful. "


Vestigial organs can re-adapt so yes, if the effect of irrelevant adaptations becomes too great then extinction, for that species. But there's always enough players for life to go on.

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