odds

What is madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance.

Violent zeal for truth has a hundred to one odds to be either petulancy, ambition, or pride.

The mathematical odds of assembling a living organism are so astronomical that nobody still believes that random chance accounts for the origin of life. Even it you optimized the conditions, it wouldn’t work. If you took all the carbon in the universe and put it on the face of the earth, allowed it to chemically react at the most rapid rate possible, and left it for a billion years, the odds of creating just one functional protein molecule would be one chance in 10 with 60 zeros after it… The probability of linking together just one hundred amino acids to create one protein molecule by chance would be the same as a blindfolded man finding one marked grain of sand somewhere in the vastness of the Sahara Desert – and doing it not just once, but three different times.

The chromosome reproduces itself exactly and exactly once, building itself up from materials around it, mostly proteins. Nothing similar has been known to occur outside living matter, though regarded chemically, the DNA molecule is not fundamentally different from any other large molecule. Clearly then, some other principle prevails in living nature… Consider the DNA molecule… the main constituent of the chromosomes, with its 10,000 links, in which four different types occur in various arrangements… and assuming 32 links of the chain contain 8 of each type we get for the odds of a particular arrangement 1:1017 That is, one to a hundred thousand billion… the inevitable conclusion sis that whatever evolution may depend on, it certainly does not depend on chance.

What's madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance? The day's on fire! I know the purity of pure despair, my shadow pinned against a sweating wall, that place among the rocks--is it a cave, or winding path? The edge is what I have.

Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them. They make the impossible happen.

God helps all the children as they move into a time of life they do not understand and must struggle through with precepts they have picked from the garbage can of older people, clinging with the passion of the lost to odds and ends that will mess them up for all time, or hating the trash so much they will waste their future on the hatred.

The biggest obstacle to overcoming the odds is never challenging them.

If a man believes and expects great things of himself, it makes no odds where you put him, or what you show him ... he will be surrounded by grandeur.

In a much quoted passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." It is a striking sign of the temper of our times that the controversy about this passage centered on its origin and not on its content. Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic "what your country can do for you" implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man's belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, "what you can do for your country" implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshiped and served. He recognizes no national goal except as it is the consensus of the goals that the citizens severally serve. He recognizes no national purpose except as it is the consensus of the purposes for which the citizens severally strive.

Indeed the involuntary character of psychiatric treatment is at odds with the spirit and ethics of medicine itself.

Let us admit that no matter how small the chance it could happen, one molecule could be created by such astronomical odds of chance. However, one molecule is of no use. Hundreds of millions of identical ones are necessary. Thus we either admit the miracle or doubt the absolute truth of science.

Success is a vitamin that every kid must take in order to thrive during his or her school years. We, as teachers and parents, must make sure that this critical learning "supplement" is available to all students. All Kinds of Minds believes that embracing the unique set of ideas and practices that follow will increase our odds of succeeding at this essential task.

The idea came like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagram shown six years later in my address before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and my companion understood them perfectly. The images I saw were wonderfully sharp and clear and had the solidity of metal and stone, so much so that I told him, "See my motor here; watch me reverse it." I cannot begin to describe my emotions. Pygmalion seeing his statue come to life could not have been more deeply moved. A thousand secrets of nature which I might have stumbled upon accidentally, I would have given for that one which I had wrested from her against all odds and at the peril of my existence.

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.

If you look at the science that describes what is happening on earth today and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t have the correct data. If you meet people in this unnamed movement and aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a heart... What I see are ordinary and some-not so-ordinary individuals willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in an attempt to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.

There is not a person alive who isn't going to have some awfully bad days in their lives. I tell my players that what I mean by fighting is when your house burns down, and your wife runs off with the drummer, and you've lost your job and all the odds are against you. What are you going to do? Most people just lay down and quit. Well, I want my people to fight back.

All Religions have this in common, that they are an outrage to common sense for they are pieced together out of a variety of elements, some of which seem so unworthy, sordid and at odds with man’s reason, that any strong and vigorous intelligence laughs at them; but others are so noble, illustrious, miraculous, and mysterious that the intellect can make no sense of them and finds them unpalatable. The human intellect is only capable of tackling mediocre subjects: it disdains petty subjects, and is startled by large ones. There is no reason to be surprised if it finds any religion hard to accept at first, for all are deficient in the mediocre and the commonplace, nor that it should require skill to induce belief. For the strong intellect laughs at religion, while the weak and superstitious mind marvels at it but is easily scandalized by it.

Let us admit that no matter how small the chance it could happen, one molecule could be created by such astronomical odds of chance. However, one molecule is of no use. Hundreds of millions of identical ones are necessary. Thus we either admit the miracle or doubt the absolute truth of science.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?