Evolution of Life, Probability Considerations
and Common Sense -- Part Five
by Dr. John
Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon
Faith Beyond Reason
Dr. Harry Rimmer (SC.D., D.D.) was allegedly one of only
12 men around 1940 capable of understanding Einstein’s theory of
relativity. He was precisely correct when he wrote the following: "I
fail to see how the natural man can scoff at the faith of a Christian
who believes in one miracle of creation, when the unbeliever accepts
multiplied millions of miracles to justify his violation of every known
law of biology and every evidence of paleontology, and to cling to the
exploded myth of evolution."33
To this point in our discussion we have cited mostly
creation scientists or theists. Evolutionists may respond that
creationists have a bias to uphold and thus our methodology or
conclusions are suspect. So next will continue and amplify our
probability argument exclusively from the writings of evolutionists.
The esteemed late Carl Sagan and other prominent
scientists have estimated the chance of man evolving at roughly 1 chance
in 10 2,000,000,000.34
This is a figure with two billion zeros after it and would require about
2,000 books to write out. This number is so infinitely small it is not
even conceivable. So, for argument’s sake, let’s take an infinitely more
favorable view toward the chance that evolution might occur.
What if the chances are only 1 in 101000
the figure that a prestigious symposium of evolutionary scientists used
computers to arrive at? This figure involved only a mechanism necessary
to abiogenesis and not the evolution of actual primitive life.
Regardless, this figure is also infinitely above Borél’s single law of
chance—(1 chance in 1050)—beyond which, put simply, events never
On April 25 and 26, 1962, a scientific symposium was
held at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, in which some of the most distinguished evolutionist
scientists were gathered.
At the beginning of this Symposium, which was
entitled, "Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation
of Evolution," the Chairman, Sir Peter Medawar of the National Institute
for Medical Research in London, England, stated the reasons why they had
… the immediate cause of this conference is a pretty widespread
sense of dissatisfaction about what has come to be thought of as
the accepted evolutionary theory in the English-speaking world, the
so-called neo-Darwinian Theory…. These objections to current
neo-Darwinian theory are very widely held among biologists
generally; and we must on no account, I think, make light of them.
The very fact that we are having this conference is evidence that we
are not making light of them.36
In his paper, "Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a
Scientific Theory," Dr. Murray Eden, Professor of Electrical Engineering
at MIT, emphasized the following: "It is our contention that if "random"
[chance] is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a
probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly
implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must
await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws, physical,
chemical and biological."37
In "Algorithms and the Neo-Darwinian Theory of
Evolution" Marcel P. Schutzenberger of the University of Paris, France,
calculated the probability of evolution based on mutation and natural
selection. Like many other noted scientists, he concluded that it was
"not conceivable" because the probability of a chance process
accomplishing this is zero:
… there is no chance (<10-1000) to see this mechanism appear
spontaneously and, if it did, even less for it to remain….
Thus, to conclude, we believe there is a considerable gap in
the neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be
of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current
conception of biology.38
Evolutionary scientists have called just 1 chance in 1015 "a virtual
impossibility."39 So, how can they believe in something that has less
than 1 chance in 101000? After all, how small is one chance in 101000?
It’s incredibly small—1 chance in 1012
is only one chance in a trillion.
We can further gauge the size of 1 in 101000
(a figure with a thousand zeros) by considering the sample figure 10171.
How large is this figure? First, consider that the number of atoms
in the period at the end of this sentence is approximately 3,000
trillion. Now, in 10171 years an amoeba could actually transport all
the atoms, one at a time, in six hundred thousand, trillion,
trillion, trillion, trillion universes, each universe the size of
ours, from one end of the universe to the other (assuming a distance of
30 billion light years) going at the dismally slow traveling
speed of 1 inch every 15 billion years.40 The amoeba
could do all this in 10171 years. Yet this figure of one chance in
10171, quite literally, cannot even scratch the surface of one chance in
101000—the "chance" that a certain mechanism necessary to the beginning
of life might supposedly evolve. Again, who can believe in something
whose odds are 1 "chance" in 101000 to 1 "chance" in 10 2,000,000,000 or
even far beyond this? As we saw previously, Yale University physicist
Harold Morowitz once calculated the odds of a single bacteria
reassembling its components after being superheated to break down its
chemicals into their basic building blocks at 1 chance in 10
100,000,000,000.41 And, in
fact, when you add up all the different odds for all the millions of
miracles necessary for evolution, the actual "chances" that life could
evolve probably couldn’t even be adequately expressed mathematically.
Please note that in exponential notation, every time
we add a single number in the exponent, we multiply the number itself by
a factor of ten. Thus, one chance in 10172
is ten times larger than one chance in 10171. One chance in 10177
is one million times larger than one chance in 10171. And one
chance in 10183 is one trillion times larger than one chance in
10171. So where do you think we end up with odds like one chance in 10
100,000,000,000? In fact, the dimensions of the entire known universe
can be packed full by 1050 planets—but the odds of probability theory
indicate that not on even a single planet would evolution ever occur.42
33. Harry Rimmer, The Magnificence of Jesus
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1943), p. 116
34. Carl Sagan, F. H. C. Crick, L. M. Muchin in Carl
Sagan, ed., Communication With Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI)
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), pp. 45-46.
35. Emile Borél, Probabilities and Life (New
York: Dover, 1962), Chs. 1 and 3; Borél’s cosmic limit of 10200
36. Paul S. Moorehead, Martin M. Kaplan (eds.),
Mathematical Challenges to the NeoDarwinist Interpretation of
Evolution, Wistar Institute Symposium Monograph Number 5
(Philadelphia, PA: The Wistar Institute Press, 1967), p. xi, third
emphasis in original.
37. Murray Eden, "Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinism
Evolution as a Scientific Theory" in ibid., 109.
38. Marcel P. Schutzenberger, "Algorithms and the
Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution" in Moorehead and Kaplan, eds., 75;
cf., Bird, I, 79-80; for reasons why natural selection would not
modify randomness and decrease these probabilities, see Bird, I,
39. J. Allen Hynek, Jacque Vallee, The Edge of
Reality (Chicago, IL: Henry Regenery, 1975), p. 157.
40. Coppedge, Evolution, pp., 118-120.
41. Cited in Eastman, Missler, The Creator Beyond
Time and Space, p. 61.
42. cf., Frank B. Salisbury, "Natural Selection and
the Complexity of the Gene," Nature, Vol. 24, October 25, 1969,
pp. 342-343 and James Coppedge, Director Center for Probability
Research and Biology, North Ridge, California, personal conversation;
cf., Coppedge, Evolution: Possible or Impossible?, passim.
Copyright 2006, Ankerberg Theological Research Institute