# Probability of evolution

dj2becker
Spirituality 24 Jun '05 19:04
1. 24 Jun '05 19:04
Suppose we put chance to a test which is less simple, yet something that would be quite easy for any school child. Let it spell this phrase: “the theory of evolution.” Drawing from a set of twenty-six small letters and one blank for the space between letters, what is the probability expectance?
All that is needed is simply to get those twenty-three letters and spaces in proper order, selecting them at random from the set of twenty-seven objects (twenty-six letters and one space). By the multiplication rule we learned, it will be 27 x 27 x 27 . . . x 27 using the figure twenty-three times.
The probability when computed is 1 in approximately 834,390,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000; that is, one success in over 8 hundred million trillion trillion draws.
To get an idea of the size of that number, let us imagine that chance is employing an imaginary machine which will draw, record, and replace the letters at the speed of light, a BILLION draws PER SECOND! Working at that unbelievable rate, chance could spell “the theory of evolution” once in something over 26,000,000,000,000,000 years on the average!
Again, a child could do it in a few minutes. Chance would take more than five million times as long as the earth has existed (if we use the five-billion-year rounded figure which some evolutionists now estimate as the age of the earth).
If we are drawing from a set which contains both small letters and capital letters and one blank for the space between words to spell “The Theory of Evolution,” the probability is 1 in 4,553,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Our machine drawing at the speed of light, a billion draws per second, would require 140,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years. That is 28,000,000,000,000 times the assumed age of the earth!

http://creationsafaris.com/epoi_c02.htm#ec02f06
2. 24 Jun '05 19:12
Originally posted by dj2becker
Suppose we put chance to a test which is less simple, yet something that would be quite easy for any school child. Let it spell this phrase: “the theory of evolution.” Drawing from a set of twenty-six small letters and one blank for the space between letters, what is the probability expectance?
All that is needed is simply to get those twenty-three ...[text shortened]... 0,000,000 times the assumed age of the earth!

http://creationsafaris.com/epoi_c02.htm#ec02f06
As Coppedge (1973) notes, even 1) postulating a primordial sea with every single component necessary for life, 2) speeding up the bonding rate so as to form different chemical combinations a trillion times more rapidly than hypothesized to have occurred, 3) allowing for a 4.6 billion- year-old earth and 4) using all atoms on the earth still leaves the probability of a single protein molecule being arranged by chance is 1 in 10,261. Using the lowest estimate made before the discoveries of the past two decades raised the number several fold. Coppedge estimates the probability of 1 in 10^119,879 is necessary to obtain the minimum set of the required estimate of 239 protein molecules for the smallest theoretical life form.

At this rate he estimates it would require 10^119,831 years on the average to obtain a set of these proteins by naturalistic evolution (1973, pp. 110, 114). The number he obtained is 10^119,831 greater than the current estimate for the age of the earth (4.6 billion years). In other words, this event is outside the range of probability. Natural selection cannot occur until an organism exists and is able to reproduce which requires that the first complex life form first exist as a functioning unit.

http://www.trueorigin.org/abio.asp
3. 24 Jun '05 19:171 edit
Originally posted by dj2becker
Suppose we put chance to a test which is less simple, yet something that would be quite easy for any school child. Let it spell this phrase: “the theory of evolution.” Drawing from a set of twenty-six small letters and one blank for the ...[text shortened]... e of the earth!

http://creationsafaris.com/epoi_c02.htm#ec02f06
dj2,

have you ever heard of the Anthropic Principle? care to explain why you dismiss it's sound common sense?

care also to explain how the above thought experiments are in any way related to evolution?

let's apply your reasoning to something else: the standard 3x3x3 rubik's cube has over 43 quintillion possible distinguishable combinations. obviously, then, that must mean that the sky is neon green. nope...see, your style of argument doesn't always work.
4. 24 Jun '05 19:38
Originally posted by LemonJello
dj2,

have you ever heard of the Anthropic Principle? care to explain why you dismiss it's sound common sense?

care also to explain how the above thought experiments are in any way related to evolution?

let's apply your reasoning to something else: the standard 3x3x3 rubik's cube has over 43 quintillion possible distinguishable combinations ...[text shortened]... must mean that the sky is neon green. nope...see, your style of argument doesn't always work.
Well in DNA you have four base pairs with which you can calculate the probability of a known sequence forming by chance.
5. 24 Jun '05 19:41
Originally posted by dj2becker
Well in DNA you have four base pairs with which you can calculate the probability of a known sequence forming by chance.
that's ridiculous. the DNA we have today evolved into what it is. why do you think it's so complex?
6. telerion
True X X Xian
24 Jun '05 22:42
Originally posted by dj2becker
Suppose we put chance to a test which is less simple, yet something that would be quite easy for any school child. Let it spell this phrase: “the theory of evolution.” Drawing from a set of twenty-six small letters and one blank for the space between letters, what is the probability expectance?
All that is needed is simply to get those twenty-three ...[text shortened]... 0,000,000 times the assumed age of the earth!

http://creationsafaris.com/epoi_c02.htm#ec02f06
A couple of problems. First, as LJ, already pointed out. The analogy is a poor one to evolution.
1) It assumes that organisms appear in there current state. In the post, attempts at spelling "the theory of evolution" are pulled in one 23 long string. A better analogy would have the machine draw letter by letter and build on with a mechanism that rejected strings that were not going to create "the theory of evolution" just as natural selection weeds out certain combinations. This would greatly reduce the amount of time needed for an a priori 50% chance of success. A lot of cell phones actually use something like this for text messaging. On my phone it is called 'predictive text'.

2) It assumes that life sprang from non-life in the manner in which we find it today. That is it assumes evolution never actually occured. In the analogy "the theory of evolution" is the only acceptable response. We do know life as it appears on earth today is not the only possible way in which it can form. The analogy then should allow for more phrases (including shorter ones) to also qualify as a success.

3) By the logic in the post, in a letter-by-letter draw, the probability of drawing any subsequent letter would be the same given what has been drawn before. This certainly is not true with evolution. New organisms evolve gradually and remain fairly similar for a long time.

Second, the math is wrong (who'd have thunk it!). The calculation of 27^23 is correct, so is the calculation of the number of draws per year. The error is in saying that it will take so many years for the phrase to be spelled. Ex ante the number of trials needed to have a 50% chance of success is much lower.

I cannot calculate it exactly with their example because the exponents are too large to calculate easily. I can, demonstrate the principle though if you will permit me to design an analogous example. Then I will show that this applies to your example and even ones with arbitrarily large numbers.

Let's say we want to spell "toe." The total number of possible draws is 26^3 or 17576. So drawing at random the probability of drawing "toe" on the first try is 1 in 17576. Now using the logic in your example, if we drew once every year, we would need 17576 draws or 17576 years to have a reasonable chance of getting "toe". This is false. Allow me to show my calculation.

What is the ex ante probability of getting "toe" in 17576 or fewer attempts?

Ans: 1-(the probability of not getting "toe" in 17576 tries)
=
1-((17575/17576)*(17575/17576)*. . .)
=
1-((17575/17576)^17576)
= .6321 approx.

Notice that the second term is ((n-1)/n)^n. In the limit as n goes to infinity this goes to e^-1 which equals approximately .367879. So even for your example with very large numbers the probability of spelling "the theory of evolution" in the number of possible attempts in 26 billion years or whatever is a bit more than 63%.

Back to my example, how many years would we need to allow ex ante to have a 50% chance of drawing "toe"?

1-(17575/17576)^x=.5

x = ln (.5)/ ln(17575/17576)

= 12182.4 years

30% less time than stated by the logic in your example.
7. telerion
True X X Xian
25 Jun '05 03:06
Originally posted by telerion
A couple of problems. First, as LJ, already pointed out. The analogy is a poor one to evolution.
1) It assumes that organisms appear in there current state. In the post, attempts at spelling "the theory of evolution" are pulled in one 23 long string. A better analogy would have the machine draw letter by letter and build on with a mechanism that re ...[text shortened]... /17576)

= 12182.4 years

30% less time than stated by the logic in your example.
You see dj2? You can't copy and paste the sort of thinking above.
8. 25 Jun '05 03:18
Originally posted by LemonJello
that's ridiculous. the DNA we have today evolved into what it is. why do you think it's so complex?
Actually you got your Facts Wrong, DNA does NOT evolve
9. 25 Jun '05 03:22
Originally posted by flyUnity
Actually you got your Facts Wrong, DNA does NOT evolve
Well, if there's no evolution, then nothing evolves.
Do snails have human DNA?
10. 25 Jun '05 03:27
Originally posted by KneverKnight
Well, if there's no evolution, then nothing evolves.
Do snails have human DNA?
Any respected Scientist will tell you that DNA does not evolve, Thats one reason I think evolution is a big myth

I dont know anything about snail's btw, and to lazy to look it up
11. 25 Jun '05 03:32
Originally posted by flyUnity
Any respected Scientist will tell you that DNA does not evolve, Thats one reason I think evolution is a big myth

I dont know anything about snail's btw, and to lazy to look it up
To track the history of a particular human chromosome, Florence Richard and colleagues looked for analogous chromosomes or chromosome fragments in other mammalian species. The researchers recognized these analogous fragments by tagging them with fluorescent molecules. They applied the tags to chromosomes from the Chinese tree shrew, nine-banded armadillo, mountain zebra, Diana monkey, and other representative species arising from the 130 million-year history of placental mammals.

By examining the regions of these animals' chromosomes that became brightly fluorescent, Richard and colleagues found, for example, that human chromosome 7 historically exists as two separate pieces in most non-primate mammals. They were able to determine how these pieces eventually migrated and fused together to form the present-day human chromosome 7. Applying this analysis to more chromosomes and species will help scientists not only to determine the origins of human chromosomes but also to reconstruct how our numerous mammalian relatives evolved from their ancient origins.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000516071936.htm
12. telerion
True X X Xian
25 Jun '05 03:451 edit
Originally posted by flyUnity
Any respected Scientist will tell you that DNA does not evolve, Thats one reason I think evolution is a big myth

I dont know anything about snail's btw, and to lazy to look it up
and you know this because . . .?

When you say 'scientist' are you talking about well-respected biologists or well-respected sociologists?

Dj2 for example thought that he had experts backing up his argument from probability. As I showed above, his source modeled evolution very poorly (out of ignorance or deliberately). What's worse they didn't even now how to work with binomial probabilities. Clearly, whoever wrote that piece of tripe was either a charlatan or an idiot, or more likely both.
13. 25 Jun '05 04:361 edit
Originally posted by flyUnity
Actually you got your Facts Wrong, DNA does NOT evolve
DNA does NOT evolve

uhh...yeah it does.

but that's not really the point. dj2's example was ridiculous because even if he's right, it demonstrates nothing. he is taking an advanced structure (our DNA) and saying (paraphrased) 'gee, look at how improbable it would be for this to spuriously form'. but that's the whole point. we didn't spuriously form in our current condition. life started off in an extremely simplistic form and EVOLVED into the complex beings we are, among other things. therefore, it is no surprise that it would be incredibly unlikely for our current DNA to spuriously form (because it didn't). thus, the natural response to dj2's example is something like 'yeah....so what?'.

EDIT: note also that dj2's example says little (nothing?) of the process of evolution -- he is trying to say something about the nucleation of life from nonlife. the defining characteristics of 'life' are not all that mind blowing; thus life forming from nonlife should not be mind blowing either.
14. telerion
True X X Xian
25 Jun '05 04:39
Originally posted by LemonJello
dj2's example was ridiculous because even if he's right, it demonstrates nothing.
Even worse that he is not right. I really can't wait for him to stroll back through here and try to defend his source.
15. 25 Jun '05 05:23
Originally posted by telerion
and you know this because . . .?

When you say 'scientist' are you talking about well-respected biologists or well-respected sociologists?

Dj2 for example thought that he had experts backing up his argument from probability. As I showed above, his source modeled evolution very poorly (out of ignorance or deliberately). What's worse they didn't ev ...[text shortened]... arly, whoever wrote that piece of tripe was either a charlatan or an idiot, or more likely both.
Im suprised that you and LemonJello refute that DNA dont evolve, Evolutionist claim that DNA came from RNA, I never heard of any scientist say that DNA evolves, as a matter of fact, thats one purpose of DNA, to keep offspring like the parent.

I may be wrong, I just never heard of any scientist say that DNA evolved