|"Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick (co-discoverer of one of the most important discoveries of 20th century biology) arrived at the theory that life could never have evolved by chance on planet earth."
Two Worldviews in Conflict
What do thousands of scientists believe about creation and evolution?
Odds & Complexity
What are the odds?
- In the biological world of living things lie the most complex
concepts of engineering known to mankind. The Encyclopedia
Britannica concedes, “A living cell is a marvel of detailed
and complex architecture. . . . The information content
of a simple cell has been estimated as around 1012 bits, comparable
to about one hundred million pages of Encyclopedia
Britannica.”The human body comprises a conglomeration
of some 100,000,000,000,000 (1014) cells which work together
in perfect harmony to maintain human life.
- It has become very common to speak of evolution from
a single-cell to a human, as if the cell was the simple beginning
of the process. On the contrary, if life arose from nonliving
matter, the progression from dead matter to a single cell was at least as great as from a single cell to a human.
The most elementary type of living cell constitutes precise
engineering that is unimaginably more complex than any
machine yet thought up, let alone constructed, by mankind.
Molecular biologist Dr. Michael Denton explains what
“To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed
by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a
thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers
in diameter and resembles a giant airship large
enough to cover a great city like London or New
York. What we would then see would be an object
of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design.
On the surface of the cell we would see millions of
openings, like the portholes of a vast spaceship,
opening and closing to allow a continual stream
of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter
one of these openings we would find ourselves in
a world of supreme technology and bewildering
- If a living cell is compared to a computer, the cell’s DNA
might be considered equivalent to computer software, and
the cell itself (which contains the DNA) would be equivalent
to computer hardware. Just as a computer software program
(code) determines what the computer will do, so a cell’s DNA
code determines what the cell will do. The DNA code is four
digits, error correcting, overlapping, and self-replicating. It
would be the equivalent of a computer software program that
could fix its own errors and reproduce both itself and the computer
it resides in.
- The amount of DNA information that can be stored in
a space the size of a pinhead is equivalent to the information content of a pile of paperback books 500 times as tall as the
distance from earth to the moon. Indeed, living things have
by far the most compact information storage/retrieval system
known to mankind.
- Creationist scientists (and now a growing number of
non-creationist scientists as well) believe that the DNA molecule,
which is billions of times more complex than the most
powerful computer to date, did not spontaneously form by
itself, but was intelligently created by a Master Designer.
Dr Denton asks:
"Is it really credible that random processes could have
constructed a reality, the smallest element of which
— a functional protein or gene — is complex beyond
our own creative capacities, a reality which is
the very antithesis of chance, which excels in every
sense anything produced by the intelligence of man?
Alongside the level of ingenuity and complexity
exhibited by the molecular machinery of life, even
our most advanced artifacts appear clumsy."
- The mathematical probabilities against the spontaneous
generation of life are sometimes acknowledged by evolutionists
as a strong argument for creation. The odds in favor of the
chance formation of a functional simple cell are acknowledged
to be worse than 1 in 1040,000. The scientist Sir Frederick
Hoyle, a renowned mathematician from Cambridge known
for many popular science works, has used analogies to try
to convey the immensity of the problem. For a more graspable
notion of the improbability, he has calculated the odds of
the accidental formation of a simple living cell to be roughly
comparable to the odds of rolling double-sixes 50,000 times
in a row with unloaded dice.
- As another comparison, Hoyle asks, what are the chances
that a tornado might blow through a junkyard containing all
the parts of a 747 and just accidentally assemble it so as to
leave it sitting there all set for take-off? “So small as to be
negligible,” Hoyle says, “even if a tornado were to blow through
enough junkyards to fill the whole universe.” Although not
a creationist, Hoyle’s calculations have convinced him that
there must have been some “intelligence” behind the emergence
of life on earth.
- Likewise, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick also arrived
at the theory that life could never have evolved by chance
on planet Earth. Because he is a co-discoverer of the molecular
structure of DNA, an accomplishment which became
a cornerstone of genetics and which is widely regarded as one
of the most important discoveries of 20th century biology, his conclusion is particularly noteworthy — especially since
he is an atheist!
- Why would these (and many other) distinguished scientists
come to such conclusions? For a clearer perspective, consider
the following “coin-toss” analogy: Suppose I announce
that I am going to repeatedly flip a coin and hope to come up
with a sequence of all heads. So I proceed to flip the coin, and
it comes up heads. You say, “Okay.” I flip it a second time,
and it comes up heads again. You say, “Okay.” I flip it again,
and it comes up heads again. You say “Hmmm, okay.” Say I
flip it again, and it comes up heads a fourth time. You say
“Hmmm.” Say I flip it again, and it comes up heads a fifth
time. You say “Wait a minute, what’s going on here?” I flip it
again, and it comes up heads a sixth time. You say “Stop, this
isn’t fair.” I say, “Why?” You say, “It isn’t random. You’re doing
something to make that coin come up heads each time.” I
flip it again, and it comes up heads a seventh time. I say, “Look,
millions of people have flipped coins throughout history. This
was bound to happen sooner or later.” I flip it again, and it
comes up heads an eighth time. You say, “Come on, what are
you doing?” I flip it again, and it comes up heads a ninth
time. I say, “Nothing. Really! I’m just flipping this coin and it
keeps coming up heads by chance.” I flip it again, and it comes
up heads a tenth time. You say, “You’re a liar. What do you
take me for, some sort of fool?”
- Now, if it is true that over a million people have tossed
coins throughout history then maybe you should have waited
until at least 20 throws (since 220 is over a million) before
considering crying “foul.” But most people, in fact, won’t.
Why did the observer in the above example not wait that long?
Because after 10 tries she concluded that she could call the
coin-thrower a liar based on the non-random results. Statistically,
she would have only one chance in a thousand (1 in 210)
of being wrong!
- Given the lower probabilities of the origin-of-life issue,
it is thus consistent to conclude that life did not spontaneously
originate by chance. A person who comes to such a conclusion
would have less than a 1 in 1040,000 (that’s 10 followed
by 40,000 zeros) chance of being wrong, solely on the basis of
mathematical probabilities. In any case, this person is not to
be taken for some sort of fool.