The Drool-o-tron™ alerted us with its sirens and flashing lights, and the blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). As you know, WorldNetDaily (WND) was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo displayed above this post. The award was in recognition of WND’s outstanding status as a flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ.
The ever-vigilant device had locked our computer was locked onto this headline at WND: The odds of evolution are zero. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Brilliant title!
We dealt with that goofy argument in Common Creationist Claims Confuted, where we said:
The typical “odds” argument is easily rebutted. Here’s how we do it: There are 52 playing cards in a deck. The odds against the sequence resulting from a good shuffle are — as the mathematicians say — 52 factorial. You need to multiply 52 x 51 x 50, etc., and keep going until you get to the last card. That’s what factorial means. Fifty-two factorial is a big number. It works out to be 8.06581752 × 1067. That’s 8 (and a tad more) times 10 to the 67th power, a far larger number than the creationist usually quotes (or makes up) to “prove” that the odds are against evolution. For comparison, 52 factorial is much larger than the estimated number of stars in the universe, which is “only” 1021 (source: this NASA webpage). But there are decks of cards all over the place; and each of them is arranged in an extremely improbable sequence. Further, as we explained three years ago, the algorithm of evolution can easily defeat those odds. See The Inevitability of Evolution (Part III).
The WND article was written by Jerry Newcombe, whose creationist writing we’ve discussed before — see Thanksgiving at RenewAmerica. He used to work with James Kennedy, the now-deceased televangelist who made the influential “documentary” Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, based on the book From Darwin to Hitler by Discovery Institute “fellow” Richard Weikart.
Okay, you know who wrote the thing, you know it’s at WND, and we’ve already rebutted it. Now the fun begins. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Zero times anything is zero. The odds of life just happening by chance are zero.
Brilliant start! Then he says:
The analogies to the improbability of evolution by a random process are endless.
• A hurricane blows through a junkyard and assembles a fully functioning 747 jet.
• Scrabble pieces are randomly spilled out on the board, and they spell out the Declaration of Independence word for word (source: Dr. Stephen Meyer, author of “Darwin’s Doubt”).
• A monkey sits at a typewriter and types thousands of pages. He types out word for word, with no mistakes, the entire works of Shakespeare.
The odds against our universe, of the earth, of the creation, to have just come into being with no intelligent design behind the grand scheme are greater than all of these impossible scenarios.
The man is a genius! However, as we said in William Dembski’s Design Inference:
[V]irtually everything is improbable. Consider our favorite example — your own existence. How improbable is that? Human conception is preceded by the release of roughly 20 million sperm per milliliter, and the number of milliliters varies with age and other factors. The average for a healthy young male is estimated to be 300-500 million spermatozoa, per, ah … event. To be on the conservative side, let’s say that a specific human zygote has less than a one-in-100 million chance of being conceived. And that’s for one particular fertile moment for the female. A month earlier or later, the zygote will be different. In other words, dear reader, considering the odds against your turning out to be precisely you, it’s obvious that your existence is quite improbable. Nevertheless, there you are.
The same improbability analysis applies to the conception of each of your parents, and their parents, and so on, going back as far as you care to go. The odds against the whole multi-generational drama is a factorial computation, with the mathematical conclusion that your existence is so very improbable as to be virtually impossible — by Discoveroid reasoning.
We keep giving you our previous rebuttals, but Jerry’s argument is so utterly nonsensical that’s it’s difficult to resist. After that he quotes a few creationists. We’ll skip that stuff. At the end he tells us:
The whole creation points to the Creator. Huse [Scott M. Huse, author of The Collapse of Evolution (Amazon listing)] sums up the whole point: “Simply put, a watch has a watchmaker and we have a Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Wasn’t that great? The WND article has already attracted over 80 comments, and — surprisingly — they’re not all droolers. What are the odds against that?
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