Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the High Point Enterprise of High Point, North Carolina, which is sometimes referred to as the “Furniture Capital of the World.” The letter is titled The math of evolution doesn’t add up. We always look for titles like that, and when we find one we’re never disappointed.
We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we’ll omit the writer’s full name and city. We will mention that his first name is Fred. We Googled for his name, and he may be the retired President of a furniture company. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, here we go:
I read with interest professor Mark Venable’s guest column on presenting the science for evolution.
Fred is talking about this: Evolution theory is backed by much evidence. We previously wrote about an earlier response to Venable’s column — see Creationist Wisdom #387: Tea Party Genius. Now it’s Fred’s turn to tell us what he thinks of it. He says:
The sciences (chemistry, physics, biology) can build a myriad of theories of the science of evolution. Science changes with time.
No, Fred, they can’t build “a myriad” of theories — not in this universe. Only one theory is consistent with all those sciences, and that’s the one we’ve got. And yes, unlike creationism, science does change as we learn more, which is why it keeps getting better. A “theory” that hasn’t changed in 3,000 years is — shall we say — perhaps a bit outdated. Let’s read on:
Did you ever notice the are few (if any at all!) mathematicians on the evolution bandwagon? I’ll tell you why.
No, we haven’t noticed that, but, here comes Fred’s answer to a non-existent problem:
Mathematically, a single person has a better chance of winning the Mega Millions lottery 50 times in a row than evolution occurring.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We started this blog with a three-part series of posts on this math “problem,” starting here: The Inevitability of Evolution (Part I). Fred continues:
Let’s assume that 1,000 events (events, mutations, evolutions) had to occur for me to evolve from some primordial goo.
It’s far more than 1,000, Fred, but let’s see where you’re going with this:
Each event had a 50/50 chance of success. Like flipping a coin, 50 percent chance of a head. Therefore, the odds are one-half times one-half and so on, a thousand times. Like flipping 1,000 heads in a row. Don’t try this on your home PC because it will probably blow up !
Actually, Fred, most mutations are useless, or harmful, so the odds against a “good one” are worse than 50-50, but ignoring that, your coin-tossing example makes sense only if you were to evolve all at once out of the goo. But you didn’t. Nothing did. The process took a few billion years, with uncountable zillions of “coin-tossing sequences” that produced failures and dead ends along the way. A few sequences did work out, and we are the result; but considering how many coins were being tossed, every hour of every day for billions of years, the result isn’t surprising.
And now we come to the end:
You can go with the science if you want to. I will stick with God and the math.
Have it your way, Fred. And thanks for the letter!
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