Creationist Wisdom #1,023: Probability Zero

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Daily Republic of Mitchell, South Dakota. It’s titled Blueprint was drawn for evolution, and the newspaper doesn’t have a comments feature.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Ivan. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

I’d like to respond to Mark Winegar’s letter to the editor on Jan 11, titled “Evolution is not a hypothesis, legislators.”

This is the letter Ivan is talking about. It’s from someone who expects to lobby against any creationist legislation that might pop up, so it’s inevitable that creationists would be upset. Ivan says:

The reason many people and scientists are challenging the “Grand Theory” of evolution is because of the discovery of new substantiated information about our world that was unknown 50 years ago. [Ooooooooooooh! New information!] Mr. Winegar [the earlier letter-writer] refers to one example of this, that being the fact that the human genome has been sequenced enabling new medical research. The 3 billion DNA base pairs in the human genome contain all the information needed to build and maintain our bodies.

How does that help Ivan? He explains:

Yes, but that coded information which is present in each cell of a person’s body hardly points to random naturalistic development. Rather such highly structured engineering information points to an intelligent designer.

Ooooooooooooh! It was the intelligent designer — blessed be he! Ivan continues:

Good luck developing such intricate complexity in 5 billion years of chance occurrences. The probability of developing even a single living cell with all mechanisms coming into function simultaneously to sustain itself is statistically zero.

Gasp! The probability is zero! Let’s read on:

Neither evolution nor creation can be verified by scientific methods because we can’t observe the beginning. [Yeah! Were you there?] But as we learn more about how complex and intricate the human body is, it’s taking a lot more faith to suppose we just evolved by chance.

And if evolution requires faith, Ivan doesn’t want any part of it. He finishes his letter with a perfectly reasonable suggestion:

Students should at least have an opportunity to study evidences for both evolution and intelligent design in an objective, open-minded, and tolerant manner.

That makes so much sense, only a fool would oppose it. Don’t you agree, dear reader?

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8 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #1,023: Probability Zero

  1. Ivan says “as we learn more about how complex and intricate the human body is, it’s taking a lot more faith to suppose we just evolved by chance.” Actually, anyone paying attention to advances in our understanding of human anatomy and development knows that we are stuffed full of imperfections and just barely adequate compromises. To me, that indicates one of only two possibilities: either we’re the result of more or less random genetic events selected by our environment (evolution) or the alleged designer (blessed be his/her/its name) is pretty bloody incompetent. A freshman engineering student at a good university like Lehigh could do a better job. (Full disclosure: my early professional training in biology was at Lehigh.)

  2. What is the probability that an unlimited agent would choose DNA to make the human body?
    Remember that this agent is free to choose ways beyond number to do whatever is wanted. We don’t have a clue as to why this particular way. The agent is without any limits.
    This means that the probability that this unlimited agent would choose this particular way is one out of infinity, that is, zero.

  3. The usual. Ivan simply does not understand the basic mechanism of evolution: selection among random small variations. News at eleven.

  4. @abreastwood
    Why would an agent without constraints of nature resort to design? What would it mean for a god or any super-natural agent to design?
    To design means to take account of the possibilities. But everything is possible for god. Why would God bother about the laws of optics in making the eye?

  5. Michael Fugate

    If we are the product of an intelligent designer, then why isn’t there a new and updated line each year – like autos or phones? Shouldn’t babies be better than their parents?

  6. @Michael Fugate
    When they speak of “intelligent design” they are not speaking of “design” as it is commonly known.
    What they are speaking of, who knows?

  7. How’s evidence for ID supposed to look like, if the first is taken from our natural reality and the Grand Old Designer (blessed be MOFO!) is supposed to reside in a supernatural reality?

  8. What’s ID supposed to look like?