Dumb Luck

Yes, folks: That's a Video!Yes, it’s finally time to return to the ICR’s That’s a Fact videos, before Dr Shorey catches up to me. The next of two is Dumb Luck:

[It was working a minute ago…] As you can tell merely from the title, this video is all about the supposed improbability of abiogenesis.

Feeling lucky? Some people believe that a four leafed clover will bring them good luck, but finding one is pretty rare – about one in 10,000.

And yet people do find them – wikipedia claims that some collectors have found more than a hundred thousand.

Don’t like those odds? Well don’t try poker: the odds of getting an ace-high royal flush are about 646739 to one – not a good gamble.

But again, it does happen. More importantly, you don’t need it to happen to win. And yes, he said about in this context.

And don’t even think about playing the lottery – the odds of winning that are about 14 million to one. What a waste!

Which lottery? In many cases somebody has to win on Saturday night. Just not necessarily you.

Interestingly, these three examples all demonstrate three different flaws in the creationists’ argument, and before they even manage to make it. We are presently 30 seconds in to a one-and-a-half minute video.

How about these odds. Scientists tell us that the building blocks of life are amazingly complex. Basic life needs a minimum of 200 proteins, each of which can have anywhere from twenty, to many thousands of amino acids that must be present and in the correct order.

That’s a smaller number of proteins than I’ve seen…

That’s about 1 in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion chance for life to exist.

…But a larger figure for probability.

You’d have a better chance being struck by lightening or attacked by a shark.

Now, there a various problems with this line of argument – you can see a good refutation here. One thing I would like you to consider here is an analogy concerning cities. This ‘basic life’ argument is the equivalent of asking how a modern city came to be. These ‘200 proteins’ are like taking a tiny green ‘eco-village’ and counting the components, and then saying that there a still quite a few. Thus, cities are too complex to arise without divine intervention.

But that’s not how cities ‘evolved’. Modern cities have replaced older cities, wiping out medieval London and all the rest of it. Similarly, the original life most certainly got wiped out by more modern kinds, which were genuinely better. It is fallacious to claim that the most primitive extant life is the ancestor of more complex varieties, and that it represents the far side of the chasm that must be jumped. Just in the same way that London did not evolve from this eco-village.

And yet we see the wonder of life all around us because our creator designed every detail of every living thing, all with great purpose. Nothing was left to chance.

And here’s another counter – considering that we are here, it really makes no sense to argue against it from this direction. Shark attacks are indeed uncommon, but if a friend has a shark bite you cannot claim that it’s really the result of tripping and falling on the basis of the low probability of an attack.

While we’re here, this is a piece of ideological inconsistency – the creationists maintain that weeds and parasites and carnivorous animals are all the result of the fall, while simultaneously claiming that God “designed every detail of every living thing, all with great purpose.” Arguing that God planned the fall doesn’t fix this – there is an inconsistency here.

So maybe you’d better forget about gambling on the lottery, or cards, or even hunting for that elusive four leafed clover: the odds are not in your favour. Better to bank on the marvellous life God gave you, which he called very good.

See also: faith healing.

And that’s all for this video. Here’s Dr Shorey’s latest:

5 thoughts on “Dumb Luck

    • It’s not the perfect metaphor, yes. But in any case it would be the design aspect that would be the problem – intelligence has nothing to do with it.

    • We do not see any evidence that without intelligence there is no design either. No corporate will hire plain energy or probability to do design work in this world.

    • If there no intelligence being, then there is no design of city either. Even a dumpest work requires intelligence.


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