Counting on Chance
A foundational aspect of the evolutionary hypothesis resides in chance.
New life forms are said to evolve as a result of time plus chance. It is believed that given enough time plus chance anything is possible. In addition, evolutionists believe that natural selection helps give the time plus chance formula a better chance, favoring organisms that by chance have acquired superior traits while lessening the survivability of those that do not.
A major problem, for me greatest problem with this theory consists of the unlikelihood of chance.
Our Bias Towards Things Happening by Chance
Obviously things do happen by chance. You meet an old friend at an unexpected place. Someone wins the lottery. Lightning does strike twice in the same place.
Our focus on such unlikely events might generate a belief that it is not unlikely for things to happen by chance. The fact that the media talk far more about people who had won the lottery than those that don’t win may create the false impression that winning the lottery is more likely than it really is. The news media aside, most people spend more time thinking about winning the lottery than they do losing it, creating a false illusion about the probability of winning. Likewise, our excitement over our chance meeting of an old friend at an unusual place camouflages the countless old friends that we never encounter by chance, and the many times that we go to the mall without seeing one person that we know.
The Odds against Things Happening by Chance
However, the reality is that things are very unlikely to happen by chance.
Consider this simple illustration. A die (singular for dice) has six sides. That means that if you roll a die one time the odds are one out of six that it will come up a one. The odds of getting a one on the first roll and then realizing a two on the second roll are 6×6 or 36. The odds of getting the sequence one through six consecutively on six rolls of a die is therefore calculated as 6x6x6x6x6x6, which equals 46,656. This means that if you would pick up the die and toss it about once every 10 seconds, 24 hours per day, the odds are that it would require 32 days to get that sequence.
In other words, chances are slim of getting such a sequence. And consider that we are not dealing with anything complicated here. A single die of six sides is about as simple an object as you might encounter, and seeking to obtain a sequence of 1 through 6 one time seems not to be asking too much. If achieving that is so difficult, we begin to realize how unlikely it is for things to happen by chance.
To up the ante, consider a deck of playing cards, which has 13 cards in each suit. We will pick out just one suit, let’s say hearts, and shuffle these 13 cards. The odds of getting the ace on the first draw, the “2” on the second draw, the “3” on the third draw, and so forth through the 13th card would be one in 302,875,106,592,253, which is over 302 trillion.
Is it any wonder that the lottery can give away large jackpots and still make lots of money and that casinos can give seniors free bus rides to visit their establishments?
Evolution Doesn’t Stand a Chance
Now consider this quote describing the complexity of even the most basic living organisms.
Which microbe is the simplest organism depends on your definition of a living organism. If viruses, prions, satellites, nanobes, nanobacteria (non-free-living sub-bacterial organisms) are excluded, the simplest free-living organism known is Mycoplasma genitalium, with a genome of only 580,000 base pairs and 482 protein-coding genes.
Therefore, we see that in considering living organisms we are not dealing with a single die was six sides or one suit of a deck of cards comprised of 13 cards, but we are dealing with an entity astronomically more complex. Applying what we have just seen in regard to probabilities, we would have to put the prospect of anything that complex developing by chance right at zero.
However, to reduce the prospects even further, we must consider that while an organism might by chance develop a positive attribute in some aspect of its DNA, chances would also exists that variations in other aspects of the DNA of the organism could be producing a negative drag. If good alterations can occur, negative ones can happen also. In fact, the prospects of accidental alterations being detrimental are greater than their being helpful. How many times has your car ever gotten fixed in an accident?
So, if you like playing the odds, you stand a better chance with Powerball than with evolution. And good luck with either one.