A Look at Some Figures

on June 1, 1978

Originally published in Creation 1, no 1 (June 1978): 9-10.

Evolutionists generally believe that although the spontaneous generation of life from non-living matter was a highly improbable event, the amount of time available is long enough to overcome this problem.

This fallacy is because they (and most of us, really) just haven’t gotten around to some actual calculating on some of these problems.

The difficult thing is to conceive the size of some of the figures obtained. James F. Coppedge in the book Evolution: Possible or Impossible? has given some fascinating examples, one of which is here presented. Consider first this statement from the evolutionist George Wald writing on The Origin of Life in the Scientific American (1954):

Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless there. Given so much time, the “impossible” becomes possible; the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait; time itself performs the miracles.

Now using Coppedge’s figures, let’s take a look at the time it would take for one simple gene to arrange itself by chance. Remember, natural selection cannot operate until a self-replicating system is produced. Of course, this gene by itself is still only a dead molecule in the absence of other genes and other complex chemicals all perfectly arranged in time and space. Nevertheless, let us use as many sets as there are atoms in the universe. Let us give chance the unbelievable number of attempts of eight trillion tries per second in each set! At this speed on average it would take 10147 years to obtain just one stable gene. What does this number really mean? Let’s look at Coppedge’s example; assume we have an amoeba—and let’s assume that this little creature is given the task of carrying matter, one atom at a time from one edge of the universe to the other (though to be about thirty billion light years in diameter). Let’s further assume that this amoeba moves at the incredible slow pace of one Angstrom until (about the diameter of a hydrogen atom) every fifteen billion years (this is the assumed age of the universe assigned by many evolutionists). How much matter could this amoeba carry in this time calculated to arrange just one usable gene by chance? The answer is that he would be able to carry 2 x 1021 complete universes!

This means that all the people living on earth, man, woman and child, counting day and night, would be counting for five thousand years just to count the number of entire universes which this amoeba would have transported across a distance of thirty billion light years, one atom at a time.

Coppedge’s book makes fascinating reading in other respects and is one of the few works that really comes to grips with this matter of molecular biology and probability mathematics.

Evolutionists would have us believe that modern molecular biology lends its support to their world view, but the more information comes to hand, the more preposterous the whole idea of a naturalistic origin of life becomes.


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