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Of Monkeys, Men and Atheists

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Many of you have probably heard Dr. Stephen Hawking's famous statement that given enough time, enough monkeys plucking away at typewriters could produce one of Shakespeare's sonnets.

The implication of this statement is that the mutations necessary for macro evolution to occur is simply a matter of time and opportunity.

Dr. Gerald Schroeder has done an excellent job debunking this idea in an article, "When Pigs Fly and Monkeys Type."

In the article, Dr. Schroeder points out that the probability of a monkey hitting a specific key is 1 in 26 (if we posit merely 26 choices, rather than the over 50 keys on most keyboards - my keyboard has 104 keys). The probabality of the monkey hitting the next needed key is also 1 in 26, meaning that the chance of stringing two correct letters together is 1 in 676 (26 x 26). To give you an idea of the enormity of the task of producing the sonnet, I will point out that the probability of a monkey typing something as simple and as short as my name - Frank - is 1 in 11,881,376.

If you continue to figure this out, you will find out that the odds against this are incredible. In an approximately 500 letter sonnet, the number would be more than astronomical. You would have to multiply 26 by itself 500 times. This would come out to a number that would be around 10 to the 700th power (1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).

To give that some perspective, Dr. Schroeder points out that "the number of basic particles [protons, neutrons, electrons, mesons] in the known universe is 10 to the power 80."

Wow!

I don't know if Dr. Schroeder is a Christian or simply a Theist, but this article is a pretty powerful article.

FWIW, Dr. Schroeder was the man who famous Atheist apologist Antony Flew was supposed to debate the night that Mr. Flew declared that he was no longer an Atheist.

Just someone else's thoughts,

Frank

3 comments:

Jim Peet said...

Thanks Frank,

Good read ... I linked to from my blog!

God bless!

Jim

Frank Sansone said...

Jim,

I found a number of pretty well-written things over there. The site is not specifically Christian, but they do a good job of poking some holes in the popular atheism of the day.

I am a presuppositionalist, but believe that evidentiary apologetics can also play a role in strengthening the faith and in debunking specific arguments at times. This can be especially helpful when dealing with someone who has a legitimate doubt raised by some specific claim.

Anyway, I am glad you found it helpful.

Frank

Esteban said...
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