Things never seem to improve at the Discovery Institute. The newest evidence of this is their latest post, Probability Mistakes Darwinists Make. It was written by Kirk Durston, whom the Discoveroids introduced in this earlier post by telling us:
Dr. Durston is a scientist, philosopher, and clergyman with a PhD in Biophysics, an MA in Philosophy, a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, and a BSc in Physics.
We respectfully refer to him as rev Durston. Our last post about the rev’s work was Discovery Institute — Infinite Brilliance, in which he mathematically “proved” that the universe can’t be infinitely old. He said that infinity is so big the universe couldn’t get from the past to the present.
Today, the rev is once again demonstrating his mathematical skills. This time he’s tackling something we discussed in a three-part series of posts back in the beginning days of this humble blog, starting with The Inevitability of Evolution (Part I). Most of the rev’s errors were discussed in Part I of our series. No, we weren’t prescient. It’s just that the rev’s errors are old ones, common to all creationists. Okay, let’s get started. The rev says, with bold font added by us:
Several years ago I delivered a lecture at the University of Maine, showing how advances in science increasingly point to an intelligent mind behind biological life. During the question period a professor in the audience conceded that the probability of evolution “discovering” an average globular protein is vanishingly small. Nonetheless, he insisted we are surrounded by endless examples of highly improbable events. For example, the exact combination of names and birthdates of the hundred or so people in the audience was also amazingly improbable. In the ensuing conversation, it became obvious that there was something about probabilities that he had not considered.
Not a bad beginning — except the rev thinks he had the better argument. After that he talks about the results of a shuffled deck of cards, as we did in our post. Then he gives us an impressive looking math formula which supposedly shows that the probability of evolution “discovering” [the rev’s quotes] an average globular protein is vanishingly small. He says:
So what do we see? In a single trial, the probability of obtaining a functional sequence by randomly sequencing codons is pretty much 0.
Yes — in a single trial. That’s the rev’s problem. The first proteins didn’t need to assemble all at once. It happened little by little in an incremental process. The Earth’s primeval oceans were filled with organic molecules. There were billions of chemical combinations going on every second in every cubic mile of water, and this was happening for millions of years. We discussed that in our post, where we said:
The biggest problem with these computations (coin tosses, card shuffles, English history, or the biosphere) is that if you take all the events that ever happened and then whomp up some kind of monster mathematical result by stringing all the steps together, then you miss the key point: each step along the way is mathematically on its own! It’s an error to assign the characteristics of the entire sequence to an individual step.
But the rev is sticking with his story. He declares:
Nonetheless, scientific literature reveals an unshakable belief that evolution can do the wildest, most improbable things tens of thousands of times over. Consequently, I believe Darwinism has become a religion, specifically a modern form of pantheism, where nature performs thousands of miracles — none of which can be reproduced in a lab.
This is the rev’s conclusion:
On the other hand, if we apply a scientific method to detect intelligent design discussed here, we see that 433 bits of information is a strong marker of an intelligent origin. This test for intelligent design reveals the most rational position to take is that the genomes of life contain digital information from an intelligent source.
Impressive, isn’t it? The rev says he has applied the scientific method, and he’s got a “strong marker” for intelligent design. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done anything that makes any sense, and as a result, he’s got nothing. Sorry, rev.
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