WorldNetDaily: The Odds Against Evolution

Buffoon Award

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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12 responses to “WorldNetDaily: The Odds Against Evolution

  1. Christine Janis

    The one verified purchase negative review of the book by Scott Huse has this comment:
    “Good luck to you on judgment day Mr. Hwang ”

    Another negative review has this gem

    ” Like most creationists, Huse’s coverage of the fossil record for major macroevolutionary changes is hilariously out of touch with the facts–such as the reptile-mammal transition, which represents the 50-million-year-long evolution of mammals from the synapsid reptiles. Huse relied on Henry Morris for the claim that no evidence existed for this–and since Morris hadn’t discussed the actual data, Huse must have thought that meant no evidence existed. “

  2. It’s unfitting for me to be the one to point this out, but our Curmudgeon has a typographical error in the title of this post. It should of course read

    WorldNetDaily: The Oddballs Against Evolution

  3. The number of things that God can do – unless there is some limit on what God does – is literally infinite.
    The definition of the supernatural is that the supernatural can do everything that the natural can do, and even more.
    That means that the probability that God or the supernatural would form any one result is: one divided by infinity, that is, zero.

  4. Michael Fugate

    And Christine, the reviewer’s name was Mr. Huang not Mr. Hwang. So the guy better hope God is not a pedant or it is not Mr. Huang who will be in trouble come judgment day.

  5. Credit where credit is due: in the UK, while the wretched DUP continute to bargain with our discredited Tory minority government for sweeter pork barrel deals, at the other end of the integrity spectrum, the evangelical Christian leader of the Liberal Democrats resigns: Farron quits as Lib Dem leader over clash between faith and politics

    I don’t suppose the likes of Hambo or the WND can begin to comprehend such a thing!

  6. jimroberts

    @Michael Fugate
    The mistake was not Christine’s, but the Amazon commenter’s.

  7. Ross Cameron

    I was always grateful my sperm got the jump on its siblings. 🙂

  8. Michael Fugate

    jim, duh!

  9. Per Dembski:
    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.

    A naturally absurd Dumbski statement. That a zygote turns out to be you, yes, but any zygote will turn out to be you since you don’t exist to begin with. Dumbski’s little word ploy is to suggest that any other zygote will duplicate you is absurd, and why should it? Fortunately we’ll never have a doppleganger Dumbski.

  10. Eric Lipps

    All of the above is obvious. What creationists do by way of this argument is imply hat the choice is between the exact species which exist on Earth now or existed in the past and nothing, which is ridiculous.

    In fact, it’s so ridiculous that I wonder how many professional creationists really believe it as opposed to merely using it to rope in the rubes (and their money, of course).

  11. The probability argument goes back as far as Cicero, as an argument against Epicurianism – the belief that random motions of atoms account for the natural world. Epicureanism became synonymous with atheism and materialism.

  12. TomS notes

    Epicureanism became synonymous with atheism and materialism.

    It ‘became’ so through a deliberate pogrom by the early Church to suppress it. Only a few fragments of Epicurus’ own works survived, our best source is of course Lucretius, whose own splendid epic survived in a single MS copy.