This paper comes from the original file #X114.
Putting the Genesis (beginning) of Life into perspective.
Let's look at the Simple E. Coli bacterium:
| Mark Ludwig in his book "Computer Viruses, Artificial Life and Evolution" states:
E. Coli is one of the simplest living organisms. As of today the only thing simpler is a virus and they need the inside of a cell to live. E. Coli has a DNA molecule which is about 4,000,000 nucleotides long. Each of these four million sites is occupied by one of four different nucleotides. So, the probability of creating it at random from the right bases is 1 in 44,000,000 = 1 in 103,000,000. Putting every atom in the universe to work synthesizing molecules wouldn't even put a dent in this number. Evolutionists suggest with the redundancy of the genetic code we could shrink this number down to 102,300,000. After this the number may be able to be shrunk more but most scientists believe that the number would also get much bigger as we begin to factor in different types of chemical bonds and isomers of the nucleic acids, all of which must be in just the right order for the molecules to work as they are supposed to. 1
So to get this living thing to assemble by mere chance seems quite likely given that the Universe is about 17 billion years old. The problem with 17 Billion years is that it only equals 5 x 1017 seconds that's 5 with 17 zeros after it.
Here is a quick calculation to find out how many seconds the universe has existed for:
x by 365 days per year =
x 24 hours per day =
x 60 minutes per hour =
x 60 seconds per minute =
536,112,000,000,000,000 seconds that the universe has existed.
Not a big number when you compare it to 1 with 2,300,000 zeros after it. However, one might say that with 5 x 1017 seconds combined with the size of the Universe, this combined number has to allow for life to develop by chance and not just here but throughout the universe. So, if we now took every atom in the universe and counted them we would find approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms.
This number can also be stated as 1066.
If we multiply the total number of seconds for the Universe's existence (5 x 1017), with the amount of atoms in the universe (1066), we only increase our number of chances for life to begin to 5 x 1083 chances (5 with 83 zeros after it). Remember this number displays how many chances would be allowed for life to randomly begin anywhere in the universe for every second the universe has been around, a long way from the 102,300,000 (1 with 2,300,000 zeros after it ) chance for the E Coli organisms to begin by chance.
Do you want to Gamble some more:
What are the odds that you can flip heads on a penny 12 million times in a row without tails coming up?
The answer is .512,000,000 which could also be stated as 103,600,000 (1 with 3,600,000 zeroes after it).These are the same odds that E Coli developed 12,000,000 right handed nucleotides by chance without one left handed nucleotide being added. The building blocks of DNA and proteins are molecules which can exist in both right and left-handed forms. This is called "chirality." The best result that experiments have shown has been a 3/7 chance. Meaning; from one nucleotide to the next there is a 3/7 chance that it will be the same hand as the previous nucleotide. 2
The world's leading homochiral researcher, Stanford University's organic chemist William Bonner, gave this summation on these odds: "Terrestrial explanations are impotent and nonviable." 3
Mark Ludwig, again from his book, states:
Carl Sagan, in his book Cosmos starts out by making the bold statement "The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be." Sagan says he has always wondered about life elsewhere in the universe. Such musings and searchings are noble. But with such a strong philosophical start you can hardly expect his treatise to give you a straight look at what science can tell us about the universe or life in it. 4
A materialist, when confronted with some of the statistical difficulties of abiogenesis can always fall back on the most unlikely chance event. A probability, no matter how small, is not zero. 5
I'll give the atheist some better odds:
If our universe was one hundred trillion times larger and one hundred trillion times older than it actually is, we would still only have 5 x 10111 (5 with 111 zeros after it) chances for life to begin.
5 x 1083 x 100000000000000 (size)= 5 x 1097
5 x 1097 x 100,000,000,000,000 (age)= 5 x 10111
If we made it another hundred trillion times larger and one hundred trillion times older again then we still only have 5 x 10139.
5 x 10111 x 100,000,000,000,000 (size)= 5 x 10125
5 x 10125 x 100,000,000,000,000 (age)= 5 x 10139
At this point our universe is 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times older and 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times larger than it actually is and we have only achieved 5 x 10139 chances for life to form by chance. We need at least 102,300,000 (1 with 2,300,000 zeros after it) chances to make this random event plausible. A humbling number if I ever saw one
If you sat down and began to write down this number, 5 x 10139 with all the zeros and it took you one second to write down each zero, it would take you just over 2 1/2 minutes to complete it. Now if you attempted to write down 102,300,000 with all the zeros, writing down one zero every second, you would need over 4 years without a break to complete the long form of this number.
Each time you add a zero onto the end the number increases by a factor of 10 (100 is ten times larger than 10, 1000 is ten times larger than 100 and so on).
We still haven't factored into the above equation the .512,000,000 chance (1 with 3,600,000 zeroes after it) that E Coli developed 12,000,000 right handed nucleotides by chance without one left handed nucleotide being added.
.512,000,000 (1 with 3,600,000 zeroes after it) with all the zeros, adding one zero every second, you would need almost 7 years without a break to complete the long form of this number.
The actual amount of chances for life to begin everywhere in the Universe and for every second the Universe has been around for = 5 x 1083. The long form of this number won't even take 1 1/2 minutes to write down if we added one zero every second.
Can you still believe in the random beginning to life without any doubts? Now that seems like a very big crutch to lean on.
I applaud the faith of the Atheist, for at this point for it must indeed be stronger than my faith as a Christian.
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1.) Ludwig, Mark A., "Computer Viruses, Artificial Life and Evolution", American Eagle Publications, (1993) p.274
2.) see: #X103
3.) Jon Cohen, "Getting All Turned Around Over The Origin of Life on Earth," Science, 267 (1994), page 1265 see: #X12
4.) Ludwig, Mark A., "Computer Viruses, Artificial Life and Evolution", American Eagle Publications, (1993) p.146
5.) Ludwig, Mark A., "Computer Viruses, Artificial Life and Evolution", American Eagle Publications, (1993) p.146
For related papers see: #X5. #X7. #X12 #X103. #X104.
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