What Are the Chances?

What Are the Chances? Chimpanzees with Keyboards

Advocates of unguided naturalistic evolution say that evolution could have gone in many directions, and we are lucky to be here. But what are the chances of evolution producing you and me as we are today? Evolutionists would say the changes are 100% since we are already here. But, if we go back to the cosmic creation event, or “big bang,” the chances that we would have evolved are nil. On the other hand, if God planned and guided the creation because He had us in mind, the chances are 100%.

The DNA that makes us who we are physically is a highly complex strand of information. What are the chances that it could have written itself by chance? First of all, information comes from intelligence, not chance. Calculating the likelihood of something after it has happened is a statistical fallacy. After all, DNA is here, and so are we, so the chances are 100%. But what are the chances if we go back before the fact? What are the chances that non-living chemicals could come together in a just-right way to form the first living cell? Then what is the statistical evidence for that first cell multiplying and modifying by random chance mutations and natural selection to create humans?

One imagined scenario involves a billion chimpanzees typing on a billion keyboards for a billion years, accidentally typing one line of Shakespeare. What are the chances of that? Well, the short answer is that it will never happen. Computer keyboards have various numbers of keys, but the old-fashioned typewriters had 58, so let’s go with that number.

Forget Shakespeare. Look for the line “I love you more.” without quotation marks. That is a total of 16 letters, spaces, and a period. With 58 keys and 16 letters, what are the chances of accidentally typing that line? To compute that, you would have to multiply 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58 X 58. That is a total of 16 times. If you want to try it, go ahead, but it will probably exceed the capacity of your calculator. The answer would be 16.4 trillion quadrillion typing attempts.

Typing continuously at a speed equivalent to 45 words per minute, it would take 2,100 trillion years to have a 50/50 chance that one of those chimps would type that phrase. Absolutely nobody thinks that the Earth is anywhere close to 2,100 trillion years old. Nobody even suggests that the universe is that old. For this thought experiment, we are only looking for one short line of text, “I love you more.” That is nothing compared to the complex system of life on this planet.

The bottom line is that we can’t explain life or the fine-tuned physical constants of the universe by chance alone. But we can explain those things if God planned and guided the creation because He had us in mind. With God, our chances of being here were 100% from the beginning. (See Genesis 1:1.)

— Roland Earnst © 2023

Reference: “Chances are…” by Bob Berman on Astronomy.com

For more on this topic see “Arranging Books on a Shelf