9. Why Do People Not Believe that Evolution Happened? ==>
   9.3. Specious Arguments Against Evolution ==>
     9.3.2. Nature of specious arguments ==>
       9.3.2.1. "Scientific" Arguments ==>

9.3.2.1.6. Odds Too Great to be Chance

Probability

Creationists claims that, even if not forbidden by the Second Law, the formation of even one functioning biological molecule (enzyme) is hopelessly improbable.

A typical enzyme consists of 100 amino acids, and 20 different amino acids are available. Thus, 20 raised to the 100th power combinations are possible, and the probability of one particular sequence forming in one step by chance is about one in 10 followed by 130 zeros. Pretty impressive, but remember that a calculation is only as good as the assumptions that went into it. For many years, the best available aerodynamic theory proved that the bumblebee could not fly! Seems the bumblebee used a trick early aerodynamicists didnt know about (T. Weis-Fogh, Scientific American 233(5):80-87, 1976).

Just as the bumblebee flew regardless of aerodynamic theory, new functional enzymes form all the time. Microorganisms have acquired new enzymes that allow them to metabolize toxic industrial wastes never occurring in nature (e.g. chlorinated and fluorinated hydrocarbons), and are an increasingly important method of pollution control (Ghosal et al., Science 228:135-142, 1985). Susumi Ohno (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 81:2421-2425, 1984) found that one such new enzyme, nylon linear oligomer hydrolase, resulted from a frame-shift mutation. Frame-shift mutations scramble the entire structure of a protein, and so the enzyme is a random construct! As would be expected, this new enzyme is imperfect and has only 1% the efficiency of typical enzymes, but the important thing is that it works.

The error made by Gish is to require a specific sequence to form all at once and give a perfect result. He omits the gradual improvement of usable but imperfect enzymes by natural selection. Intermediate steps can be functional, because many amino acid sequences may give the same enzyme function. Two amino acid sequences, almost totally different except for the cystine bridge (2 amino acids) in the active site, yield the same enzyme, thioredoxin-S2 (Homgren, Ann. Rev. Biochem. 54:237-271, 1985).

Probability

Creationists claims that, even if not forbidden by the Second Law, the formation of even one functioning biological molecule (enzyme) is hopelessly improbable.

A typical enzyme consists of 100 amino acids, and 20 different amino acids are available. Thus, 20 raised to the 100th power combinations are possible, and the probability of one particular sequence forming in one step by chance is about one in 10 followed by 130 zeros. Pretty impressive, but remember that a calculation is only as good as the assumptions that went into it. For many years, the best available aerodynamic theory proved that the bumblebee could not fly! Seems the bumblebee used a trick early aerodynamicists didnt know about (T. Weis-Fogh, Scientific American 233(5):80-87, 1976).

Even more importantly, chance plays no role in evolution; thus whatever long odds creationists manufacture, they are irrelevent. Species evolve because some genetic mutations give the possessor of the mutation a better chance of survival. This mutation is passed on to the progeny and eventually, the mutated become a new species. No chance involved.