A Worse Bet than the Lottery

What are the prospects of the universe developing merely as a product of time plus chance? Many people conclude that given enough time and enough chances anything is possible. However, a realistic understanding of the probability of things getting organized by accident helps us to realize that the time plus chance theory quickly runs into serious limitations.

This illustration* makes that point quite graphically.

One of the simplest arrangements in nature is found in the correct order of the bones of the body. The body is said to have 206 bones, but for the sake of simplicity and to improve the odds we will round the number off to 200. What is the likelihood of those bones assuming the right relationship with one another by chance?

Please understand that we are not talking about the design of the bones, the connecting tissue, or the extremely complex array of cells of which bones are composed. These factors would increase the challenge of occurrence by time plus chance astronomically. We are merely inquiring as to the probability of the correct end of each bone ending up next to the correct end of another bone.

To change illustration for a moment, assume we have a box of 200 Lincoln logs that we want to lay out on the floor in a certain pattern that stipulates that the end of each log be placed next to the end of another log in a specific order. That’s what we are dealing with here, only since we are relating this to nature we are referring to the items as bones.

The number of possible arrangements among these bones is represented by the mathematical expression 200!, which refers to 200 x 199 x 198 x … x 2 x 1.  That number equals approximately 10375, or 10 with 375 zeros behind it.

Since the different possible arrangement of these bones amounts to 10375, the odds of their landing in the correct configuration the first time by chance equals 1/10375, or 10-375.

To improve our odds, we will make an attempt to get the bones in the correct order once every second for 10 billion years, which amounts to approximately 1017 tries. This reduces the odds of getting a correct arrangement to 1/10375-17, which equals 10-358.

Since that didn’t help very much let’s improve the odds even more by packing a ball with a 5 billion light year radius solid with electrons. This ball approaches the estimated size of the universe. Now we will let each electron represent a bone. This would allow 10120 sets of 200 bones. The odds of arranging one set of bones the correct way across 10 billion years with one try per second would now be 1 / 10357-120 or 10-237.

Since we are still a long way from getting the bones aligned correctly by chance, we will increase the number of trials from once per second to a billion billion trials a second for ten billion years for each of the 10120 sets of 200 bones. This would further increase the probability of getting the bones arranged correctly by chance by 1018, which reduces the odds of one of the sets being aligned properly to 10-219, which constitutes an extremely long shot.

The odds of winning the Powerball Lottery last May were a just a little better than 10-8. This means that the prospects of one set of bones finding the correct order accidently is essentially the same as the odds of winning the Powerball Lottery 27 times in a row buying one ticket each time. Therefore, it is virtually impossible that the bones of the human body could be arranged by time plus chance.

In my last post http://hopethatsreal.com/2013/08/05/science-supports-our-side/ I talked about the DNA molecule with its 20,500 genes and 3 billion chemical base pairs. Imagine the odds of a DNA molecule achieving the right arrangement by accident!! And that is just one molecule in the universe.

These findings necessitate the existence of a Designer and Creator. The numbers are on our side. You don’t want to bet against these odds.

*This is an adaptation of an illustration originally given by Dr. Henry Morris.

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