Don’t Just Take My Word For It

Design, designer, observable, rational.

Design, designer, observable, rational.

The famous astronomer and mathematician Sir Frederick Hoyle calculated the probability of the spontaneous generation of life:

No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning. Troops of monkeys thundering away at random on type writers could not have produced the works of Shakespeare, for the practical reason that the whole observable universe is not large enough to contain the necessary monkey hordes, the necessary typewriters, and certainly not the waste paper baskets required for the disposition of wrong attempts. The same is true for living material.

The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it……it is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet or on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.

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21 comments
  1. Chris said:

    It is highly improbable, around 14 with 6 zeros, that you will won the UK lottery this weekend – a very short timescale in evolutionary terms. Yet someone will, probably, win. In fact, despite the enormous odds and the greater likelihood of you dying than being the principal beneficiary, it is even more unlikely that it won’t be won some time soon.

    Given the complexity of the ‘spontaneous life calculation’ and room for possible error, the point is no one doubts the enormity of this probability (give or take a few zeros – it really doesn’t matter); because, given the length of time it had to come into fruition, it would be equally amazing had it not happend.

    It good to see this blogger accept the likelihood of spontaneous life exists. Given that there is no probability calculable on the existence of Father Christmas, the Tooth fair, the Sand Man, the sun cog Ra or the Abrahamic God, we can only surmise that they don’t exist.

    Of course this is another band wagon Christian fundamentalist want to jump on. It is spectacularly easier to go around bashing and manipulating and distorting theories and comment as this and other bloggers do regularly. Like everything that uses this type of tactic, should be treated with the highest levels of suspicious.

    The creation myth, if judged by the same standards, is quite laughable.

  2. It puts the evolutionist in an awkward position Sir when someone of science unpacks the nature of the evolutionary theory, and that is reflected in the tone of your comment. There is no evidence for the tooth fairy, and it is known and recognised as a myth. However, human history records the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His creation with all its order and design, such as 130 million light sensitive cells in your eye. If it’s a cloud clear sky this evening take a look into the night sky this evening and know that the heavens declare the glory of God – Psalm 19:1.

    • Chris Woods said:

      Adrian,

      You say, ‘It puts the evolutionist in an awkward position Sir when someone of science unpacks the nature of the evolutionary theory’.

      Two points…

      1) With regard to, ‘someone of science’. Hoyle was an astronomer, not a biologist. You might just as well quote a psychologist, oceanographer or phrenologist as they are also people ‘of science’.

      2) At no point did Hoyle ‘unpack the nature of the evolutionary theory’. Quite the reverse in fact.

      You say, ‘human history records the resurrection of Jesus Christ’.

      Two points…

      1) This ‘human history’ is nothing but four anonymous, contradictory accounts, later ascribed to four acquaintances of Jesus.

      2) My daughter could give you a very special one pound coin. This coin is special for a reason. It is the one she discovered underneath her pillow, in the exact same place she left her tooth the night before! It is solid, undeniable, evidence of the Tooth Fairy.

      You would not be able to convince my daughter of the truth because she has been indoctrinated into her belief of the Tooth Fairy. To believe otherwise would shatter her worldview. Even if you showed her a photo of her dad swapping the tooth for a coin, she would not believe you because her account can be backed up by thirty other identical accounts from her friends who have experienced the exact same thing.
      She even has a wonderful story book about the Tooth Fairy and the magical kingdom where she lives. – What more evidence could she possibly need than a big book full of stories that backs up what she has decided to believe in.

      You say, ‘there is no evidence for the tooth fairy, and it is known and recognised as a myth.’.
      There are about 4 million children between the ages of 5 and 10 in the UK. Whereas there are less than 3 million Christian creationists.

      Chris Woods

  3. Chris said:

    When your theory relies on “human history records” from 2,000 years ago… your in a lot of trouble. I would hardly call it the basis for a religion.

    Good we seem to agree that, given evolutionary time (as opposed to the laughable biblical version) we can start to understand how concepts like eyesight emerged and the likely hood of spontaneous life becomes more understandable. it’s rather moot really, as even if these theories were damaged by your playground level mud-slinging, it doesn’t bring us any closer to substantiating the myth of a creator God.

    Or could it actually be you are again looking to bash something for your own personal self interest rather than the more noble and honest pursuit of knowledge.

  4. Chris Woods said:

    Adrian,

    Three points…

    1) You say that…
    “The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it……it is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution.”
    I’m afraid that you are getting confused between evolution and abiogenesis again.
    Allow me tell you again…
    DARWIN’S THEORY OF EVOLUTION BY NATURAL SELECTION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW LIFE BEGAN.
    Forgive the capital letters but I have mentioned this before and it doesn’t seem to be getting through.

    FACT: Hoyle was a Darwinist and spoke at length regarding the truth of evolution.

    2) Hoyle may have got his maths correct but his conclusion was wrong. The probability of one in ten to the power 40,000 refers to the likelihood of all the necessary enzymes randomly being present to create a cell. However this is almost certainly not how life evolved. Before the first cell there was precellular life and it was from these simpler structures that the first cells formed.
    The likelihood of precellular life evolving is well within the realms of probability.

    FACT: Hoyle’s incorrect conclusion is known as Hoyle’s Fallacy. This fact is well known by the guys at creationresearch.org and answersingenesis but, like yourself, don’t mention it as they prefer to quote-mine old, out of date research, rather than present the truth.

    3) You have previously ridiculed people who believe in panspermia, inferring that they do not have the mental faculties to drive cars. So why are you (mis)quoting Fred Hoyle? Hoyle was in no doubt as to the veracity of panspermia. Why choose someone you regard as mentally sub-normal to support your cause?

    FACT: Hoyle was anti-theist and believed in an infinitely old universe where matter is created all the time . He also believed that influenza arrives on the Earth each year from space, carried by solar winds. I notice that the ICR don’t quote-mine these facts about Hoyle.

    Chris Woods

    PS. As I’ve mentioned before, please stop repeating secular scientist ‘evidence’ that seems in support of your cause.
    Whilst I believe that you are an honest man, the people who run the websites you read are liars and charlatans. They are deliberately misrepresenting modern evolutionary biology. If there genuinely is a hell, don’t join these evil-doers there.

    • Chris Woods said:

      Adrian,

      You refer to God’s, ‘creation with all its order and design, such as 130 million light sensitive cells in your eye.’

      I thought man was made in God’s image. If that is the case, why do human eyes have only 130 million light sensitive cells? Birds have ten times this number. Some birds have five times as many colour perceiving cones in their eyes. Are bird eyes better than God’s?

      If the human eye is so perfect, why do we have a blind spot? Why aren’t the nerve fibres 100% transparent? It seems to me that the human eye is far from perfect.

      As God is perfect, I can only draw the conclusion that we must have different eyes to God.

      Logically we must also be physiologically different in other areas too.
      God surely has no nipples. (That would be ridiculous.) Genitals would also be superfluous to him. (What would He do with them?)
      If God is perfect, he would not need food or air. (He existed before he created either of these so this must be true.)
      Logically therefore He doesn’t have a stomach, intestines, bladder or lungs. In fact He wouldn’t have any internal organs of any description. If this is true, he wouldn’t have ribs to protect organs or even skin to act as protection for His body as there is nothing in His body that needs protecting. He certainly wouldn’t need hair to keep Himself warm. (Who would cut it anyway?)
      He is all-knowing and all-seeing and can hear our thoughts so having eyes and ears are also superfluous to requirement. And anything that is superfluous is automatically less than perfection so He doesn’t have eyes or ears.

      To be honest, I’m having trouble imagining God now as He doesn’t seem to resemble man at all.

      Adrian, please help me out here. Is man made in God’s image or is God perfect? Because it seems to me that the answer to at least one of these statements must be ‘No’.

      Chris Woods

  5. Chris Woods said:

    Dear Adrian,

    Could I be wrong about everything I know?… Unlikely.
    Could I be wrong about some of the stuff I know?… Almost certainly.

    The difference between us is not religion. It is the fact that I know that I don’t know everything. I also know that I never will know everything but that isn’t going to stop me from learning more.

    I have a method of learning. It is called science. Science doesn’t mean that I am against religion but it does mean that I won’t make special concessions for it.
    I look at all the evidence and then look at different theories that may explain what I see. I am neither going to ignore evidence nor not ask a difficult question because a book tells me I shouldn’t.

    When I look up at the sky at night, I am filled with wonder. The galaxy I see around me is truly awe-inspiring and really quite beautiful.
    The structure of the human eye is incredible and the Fibonacci pattern in a pine cone is amazing.
    When I look at the natural world around me, I find beauty. I see patterns in the chaos. I then look for explanations for these patterns and this beauty.

    So far my investigations have led me to believe that the following statements are 100% categorically wrong…
    1) The Earth is less than 6000 years old.
    2) We are not related to the great apes.
    3) The Bible is the Word of God and is word for word literally true.

    These statements are simply incorrect. The amount of evidence disproving the first two statements is overwhelming and the third can be proven incorrect with simple logic. (Is man made in God’s image or is God perfect?)
    Once we have established that the Bible is not the literal Word of God, the rest is up to you. You can pick and choose which bits you want to believe in.

    For example…
    I believe that there was once a man called Jesus. (There is a fair amount of evidence for this.)
    I believe he got nailed to a cross. (Again, this seems well documented.)
    I do not believe he was resurrected. (The only accounts of this are from people with a vested interest. And much of it makes little sense.)
    I do not believe that he was the son of God. (There is not one shred of evidence for this.)

    As to whether there is a god at all. There are two questions that need to be asked.
    1) Do I need a god to explain everything that I see around me?
    2) If the answer to the first question is ‘Yes’ which god and which religion should I choose?

    In my case, as the answer to the first question is ‘No’, the second question is largely irrelevant.

    Most people are ‘born again’ at one of two times in their life.
    1) As a student when they are away from their parents for the first time in their lives. They are at a cross roads in their life and are naive. At this point, they are befriended by people who seem to care and show them the way. (It is not just creationists who are created this way. This is when most people convert to Islam.)
    2) The second age at which people find God is in their forties. Most men get the feeling at this age that they haven’t been doing anything with their lives. Maybe their career has stagnated or perhaps they no longer have the job they loved. They turn around to find that their children have grown and their sex lives are a fraction of what they used to be. Some men remedy this by having an affair or buying a Harley Davison. Some men find God to give their live’s meaning.

    Ultimately, I do not need a god and see no evidence for one. Although, I have no problem with people who do believe. – If it makes them happy, why not?

    However, I do have a problem with people spreading either misinformation or downright lies. Everyone should be able to make their own mind’s up as to what they believe but this cannot be done fairly if it is based on misrepresented, quote-mined nonsense peddled by people who don’t even understand what they saying.

    Sincerely,

    Chris Woods.

    PS. Is man made in God’s image or is God perfect?

  6. So you are using your senses and reason to make knowledge claims; yes?

  7. Chris Woods said:

    Adrian,

    Somewhat disappointed that you refuse to answer my very simple question, however this is your blog and therefore your rules…

    Am I using my senses and reason to make knowledge claims?…

    As stated previously, I am aware that I am ‘almost certainly’, ‘wrong about some of the stuff I know’. However there are a few fundamentals truths of which I am utterly convinced.

    I have told you what I believe to be the truth.
    I have used my ‘senses’ to gather the evidence and then used my ‘reason’ to establish what is the most likely explanation. I have then added this explanation to my ‘knowledge’.

    I don’t really go around claiming anything but for the sake of moving the conversation onward, my answer to your question is ‘Yes, I use my senses and reason to make knowledge claims’…

  8. How can you be utterly certain of anything when you already admitted you could be wrong? To know anything for certain you have to either have absolute knowledge or have revelation from someone who does.

  9. Chris Woods said:

    Admitting the possibility that one can be wrong forces one into investigating all new evidence as it is presented. It is a process of constant re-evaluation.

    Only a fool would decide that everything that they know is absolutely correct and any evidence to the contrary is therefore wrong.

    Are you a fool Adrian?

    Ignoring many thousands of scientific papers and quote-mining tiny snippets where you believe scientists have slipped up does nothing to further your cause. You are either preaching to the converted or displaying your ignorance to the learned.

    Adrian, I’m trying to help you here.

    Elsewhere you have asked how evolution could possibly work and I have tried to explain it just using the example of the horse. But your immediate comeback to my explanation contained the phrase, ‘cats don’t mate with dogs’. This clearly showed that you had not understood a word of what I had said. This is hugely frustrating as you are an intelligent man which means you simply decided to ignore what I had written.

    Natural selection is an incredibly easy concept. To use ‘cats don’t mate with dogs’ as evidence against it is either willful ignorance or plain idiocy.

    You asked…
    ‘How can you be utterly certain of anything when you already admitted you could be wrong?’

    Certainty is a matter of probability.

    Some things I am certain about because the weight of evidence in favour of them is so great that it would be foolish to believe otherwise. For example, I’m pretty sure my wife is not having an affair but it is a possibility. (Perhaps 1 in 1000.)
    However, I would say it would be less than 1 in 1,000,000 that I was wrong about evolution. This probability is so small that I would say I was utterly certain.

    You said…
    ‘To know anything for certain you have to either have absolute knowledge or have revelation from someone who does.’
    Well no-one has absolute knowledge and could not have received revelation from anyone with it.
    Even if someone had received revelation, they couldn’t know it came from someone with absolute knowledge and therefore there is no certainty.
    Your comment is devoid of logic and reason.

    How can man be made in God’s image, when God is perfect and yet man is clearly flawed? The human spine and knee joints are poorly designed for bipedal walking. – God cannot be poorly designed and yet we look like Him! Please explain.

    If you can give me a logical answer to this very simple conundrum I shall go away and plague you no more.

  10. You said, “…Well no-one has absolute knowledge and could not have received revelation from anyone with it” Do you know that?

  11. Chris Woods said:

    Yes, I know it.
    Absolutely.
    Categorically.
    Beyond any reasonable doubt.
    Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Do you have absolute knowledge, Adrian? Have you received revelation?
    If so, was it a voice in your head? Or did you receive revelation from someone else who had a voice in their head?

    Your continued refusal to answer my simple question makes me believe that you do not have absolute knowledge.

    God existed before gravity or land to walk on and yet He has feet and looks like a man.
    He is omnipotent and so could make Himself to be any shape He wished but He prefers to stay a shape that is poorly designed.

    Is man made in God’s image or is God perfect?

    I have answered all your questions. Please answer mine.

  12. Patience, please. You said no one has absolute knowledge, and that you could be wrong about everything you know. And yet, you continued to make a knowledge claim. You have contradicted yourself. From where do you get your authority to make the claim no one has absolute knowledge?

  13. Chris Woods said:

    You claim…

    “You said no one has absolute knowledge, and that you could be wrong about everything you know. And yet, you continued to make a knowledge claim. You have contradicted yourself.”

    Wrong. This isn’t even classic creationist circular reasoning. It’s just plain incorrect. There is no logical progression to your comment. I am not claiming ‘absolute knowledge’. There is no contradiction.

    You ask…

    “From where do you get your authority to make the claim no one has absolute knowledge?”

    I do not need authority from anyone to think for myself. If God gave me a brain, do I really need permission from Him to use it?
    As previously stated my ‘knowledge claims’ are based on statistical probability. There is not one shred of evidence to show that anyone, anywhere, throughout history has ever had ‘absolute knowledge’. Therefore I believe that the chances of it occurring are so infinitesimally small as to be effectively non-existent.
    I consider it far more likely that the year is actually 2743 and that we are all mathematical algorithms in a child’s handheld games console. – I consider it more likely but it doesn’t mean I believe it to be true.

    Adrian, your logic is deeply flawed.

    Once again I have answered your question. Have a look at the statement below and then tell me, using logic only, if you agree with it or not.

    If man is made in God’s image then, by definition, He is not perfect.

    True or false?

    This is at the heart of your belief. Surely this is far more important than quote-mining secular scientists that ultimately prove nothing.

    Alternatively you could come back with another avoidant question of your own or just ignore this thread and start a new post with a new quote-mined scientist.

  14. Thank you, that is clear. You are using your senses and reasoning by which to make your knowledge claims. The same senses and reasoning which you admit could be wrong. You ask the right question about whether you need God’s permission to use your brain. You have his permission, you simply choose not to show any gratitude. The Bible says that only the fool says in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). Romans 1 also tells us that man suppresses the truth by their unrighteousness despite the invisible qualities of God being readily apparent in Creation. You can know nothing apart from God. There is no point entering into a discussion about Scripture with you, for that is what you question about our position as image bearers demands, as you reject its authority. Your very logic and reason come from God so what you need to do at this stage is repent. Who are you or we to demand evidence from God in whom all authority lays? The Bible tells us that God commands men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). Today is the day Chris. May God bless you. Adrian

  15. Chris Woods said:

    Is man made in God’s image or is God perfect?

  16. Man and woman are made in the image of God; men and women with equal value, dignity and worth. God is Holy, that means perfect. His character and nature includes justice, goodness, and mercy. To understand how we were made as image bearers and then see the effect of sin on his creation read your Bible. However, before doing that you must receive the gift of repentance. Confess your sin, repent, put your faith and trust in the Saviour Jesus Christ and then the Holy Spirit will enable you discern the things of God through his Word, the Bible. There is nothing for you to do, the work was finished at the Cross in Calvary. Thank you for your question. Please feel at liberty to plague me, you are most welcome.

  17. Chris Woods said:

    So it is Holy to have a spine better suited to quadrupeds?

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