# Creationist probability equations

Sun, 11 Oct 1998 22:50:53 -0400

Joseph Mastropaolo wrote:

> Let us also examine "no matter how improbable it is." The probability
> of evolving just one protein molecule is 2.3 x 10^-75. That is,
> 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
> 0000000023. Before believing, a scientist needs 0.95, therefore 2.3 x
> 10^-75 misses the mark by a little bit.
> Put another way, at the race track a billion evolutionists line up and
> serially bet two dollars on horses that have won twenty-three times in
> their last ten billion vigintillion races. A billion evolutionists go
> home broke. The scientists similarly line up and bet their two dollars
> on horses that have won no less than 95 times in their last 100 races.
> They all go home rich.
> Now let me offer Kevin, and every other evolutionist who would like to
> join him, an opportunity to get rich quick with your evolutionist
> convictions. You bet 100 times at \$100 per bet in a lottery that we set
> up with your evolutionist's probability of winning of 2.3 x 10^-75. For
> every win, I give you \$100. What you lose goes to me. Then you do the
> same for me at the scientist's probability of winning of 0.95. For every
> win, you give me \$100. What I lose goes to you. Deal?

Let me share with the list a letter written by Marshall Berman to a
newspaper in New Mexico in a debate with creationist John Baumgardner.
He points out clearly the mistake in Joseph's probability equations.

<begin text>

John Baumgardner in his letter of April 3 attempts to give Llewellyn
Jones a lesson in arithmetic. However, it is clear that Baumgardner
needs lessons in probability and in how to submit technical papers on
creation "science" to reputable scientific Journals.

Mark Twain said: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and
statistics." Baumgardner purports to calculate the probability of life
arising due to random interactions over the life of the universe. If
true, Baumgardner would turn the scientific world upside down. But it is
not true. Baumgardner uses statistics and probability theory improperly.
He assumes randomness that doesn't exist. Indeed, by assuming randomness
for non-random processes, one can show that almost any event is
extremely improbable.

Let's run a scientific experiment. Go outside and pick up a small rock.
The probability of that rock being on that spot on the Earth by chance
alone is roughly the area of the stone divided by the surface area of
the Earth, or about one chance in 10 to the 18th power (one followed by
18 zeros). If picking up the stone took one second, the probability of
such an event occurring at this precise moment over the lifetime of the
universe is now even smaller by another factor 10 to the 18th power!
This simple event is so incredibly unlikely (essentially zero
probability) that one wonders how it could be accomplished!

How can such an "unlikely" event occur? The problem is our initial false
assumption of randomness. The rock and you arrived at that spot at that
time by mechanistic processes. Probability theory fails when used
improperly, as Baumgardner has done. Probability theory, like evolution
theory, is valuable because it works under the appropriate conditions.
Evolution theory explains the origin of species, but not the laws of
gravity nor the origins of life. Probability theory works for random
processes, but has no applicability to deterministic events.

<end text>

Ed