I think nothing sums up the aggressive atheist’s bashfulness about reality like their famous “infinite monkey theory” – the idea that a monkey typing randomly would produce the works of Shakespeare, given an infinite period of time.
Having such a memorable image and a pleasantly surprising outcome, the idea has become deeply embedded; it is produced with a flourish so often that nobody ever questions it. This means anyone who tries to describe biological machinery as an engineering challenge no different than any other engineering challenge, and therefore requiring intelligence to solve, is laughingly swept aside with, “well, everyone knows if you give enough monkeys typewriters, they’ll produce Shakespeare.” Just as Darwinism is a theory which says whatever survives must have survived, this argument also circles in on itself to handily prove anything you want, while the absurdity itself remains unexamined.
Incredibly, this yawning chasm is the Dawkinian crux of evolution: when bacteria evolve to beat antibiotics it is believed they do so randomly – aimlessly – and survive by natural selection. But random changes must either happen all the time, or not at all. It’s either the way of things, or it isn’t.
So if bacteria are beating current antibiotics randomly, with no intent to beat that particular antibiotic with novel pumps, sluices, ejector systems, protein slicers and various defensive machinery, they must be mutating sufficiently to defeat any conceivable antibiotic at the same time – a theoretical impossibility! Actually this embarrassing theory is being ushered out the back on a stretcher, but the weaker human minds gravitate to dogma, and for dogma-driven biologists it’s become Zombie Science – a theory dead and decomposing, but which refuses to lie down and be buried. Say it often enough and it must be true.
Infinity is a handy mathematical concept that can never be applied practically since an unlimited quantity of anything is an impossibility. The word is used so often that it seems real enough – like the over-used “I’m with you one thousand percent” and is produced when someone wants to express “a very large amount”. It remains impossible to manage, being always a trillion times bigger than the largest amount you can imagine, then a trillion times bigger than a trillion times that. Then keep doubling it every second for a trillion years.
The infinite monkey theorem confuses large spans of time with imaginary ones in which anything is possible. The result is to pretend that infinity can be compared to a few billion years, since both seem equally difficult to imagine. What this actually shows is the inability of the writer or speaker to conceive of a billion as quite a modest amount indeed. Whenever a random evolutionist is asked how a complicated mechanical problem in biology came to be, all you get is a wave of the hand, a patronising, all-knowing grin and the inevitable riposte: “over billions of years, anything can happen.. take the infinite monkey theorem!”
It is the same mindset as someone who wins millions of dollars in a lottery and, comparing this vast amount with the few hundred they’re used to spending each month, imagines it will last forever. They are shocked to find, two years later, the whole lot has vanished and the bailiffs are knocking at the door.
The one thing never acknowledged is that the theory works equally well in reverse. That is, if random evolution can create perfected design over infinity, then the likelihood of it occurring in the 4 billion years of Earth’s history is a trillion trillion trillion times less likely than one trillionth of a trillionth percent, and then you must keep halving it another trillion times.
It’s actually very easy to work out the mathematical odds. Would it take as long as a day or a monkey to write something meaningful? Surely not – a day is a long time in terms of seconds. We know that! Therefore it must be possible.
All we need is 26 characters x 2 (upper and lower case), a space, 10 digits, and maybe 4 crucial punctuation marks giving a total of 67 possibilities. The total number of different combinations represents all possible phrases, not just a target phrase such as “To be, or not to be”, but also “Harry’s cat is blue”, “He owes me 10 bucks” and so on.
“To be, or not to be” seems a trivial goal with 19 characters and only 6 different letters, but the random theory of evolution appeals to the dogmatics precisely for this mistaken impression. The first character has 67 possibilities: at one character a second, about a minute. There are the same 67 possibilities for the 2nd character, 67 for the 3rd and so on. So each letter adds to the total by multiplying all previous ones by 67. And that’s all you need to know.
The total 2-character possibilities are 67 x 67 or 4,489 which is an hour and a quarter’s worth; the odds of the first 3 characters being exactly what we want are 67 x 67 x 67 or one in 300,763 which is 84 solid hours’ work. It’s more than a day, but much less than a year – which is a vast amount of time! So this doesn’t seem such a problem.
Incidentally, some mathematical sleights-of-hand are needed to get around the difficulty. The advice, like all atheistic proclamations, is packaged with a smug insult, in much the same way that GM crops produce their own toxins: “Well, clearly you don’t understand evolution. If we stop when we get the first character we want, and retain that until we get the second character right, and keep those two together until the third is found, it becomes manageable.”
This seems to only because the maths are reduced to 67 + 67 + 67… which is a very different thing, though it retains a faint whiff of impending vastness.
But biology can’t work that way. A single correct element is usless when surrounded by incorrect ones and therefore as useless to evolution as if it were incorrect. The machinery works correctly only when all elements are the right type, and specified within the DNA in exactly the correct order.
If we take a typical protein with 540 precisely ordered amino acids, that protein folds and functions correctly only when each and every element has the correct affinity or repulsion to water, the right electrical charge – and is in exactly the right place: declaring the first two correct in the future context of 540 correct ones is something which is only possible when the whole thing is correct and cannot be known in advance.
Before that mathematically distant point, the two correct ones contribute to the chaos just as much as the ones declared incorrect. It is as if you have a puzzle of sixty t-shaped wooden pieces which only assemble to make a cube in one possible way. Placing the first two correctly helps only if all the rest are correct. Until that point, the true status of the first two – are they correctly placed, or not? – cannot be known. Their correctness will even be a hindrance to the majority of all other placements, since they only react correctly to one combination out of the millions of incorrect ones. They look wrong until the whole thing is somehow worked out correctly.
This parlour trick is used by Richard Dawkins to good advantage to claim that proteins easily evolve step by step. By mathematical reasoning alone this is impossible in any finite Universe. This is the magic of reality.
By the 6th character, the total number is 67 to the power 6, or 90.4 billion seconds or 2,868 years of solid 24 hour days, one character a second, no sleep, no food. By the first 8 characters we have only a one in 406 trillion chance of getting what we wanted – four times the total number of cells in the human body but in terms of time, 12.8 million years.
Getting the first 12 right has a one in 8,182,718,904,632,857,329,664 or 8 million quadrillion – the total number of seconds in 36,819 universes of 14 billion years each. Or 36,819 monkeys over the entire age of the existing Universe giving one possibility of achieving “To be, or no” – and this is assuming we find a planet which formed in the first second after the Big Bang because the Earth is less than a third this age.
The odds of producing the whole phrase are one in 49, 593, 099, 428, 404, 262, 901, 012, 946, 248, 269, 824. If the Universe was one trillion years old (which it isn’t) and if we had one trillion monkeys each workign randomly at one keystroke per second (which we can still imagine), and if we created a further 1,572 such Universes, populated in the same way, we stand one chance – a single chance – of achieving “To be, or not to be”. We might get quite a few such occurrences – or we might get not a single one.
Every conceivable language is possible, including a kind of Morse code. But the laws governing ordered systems are such that each typed character reduces the likelihood of getting an acceptable possibility following it. This is why computer software systems reach the point of high likelihood of “failure after modification” at a certain point of complexity, because the intelligence required to know the effect of one change on every aspect of the entire system starts to exceed the capacity of any one person, or, of any one system of checks and balances put into place by fallible human beings.
This is also why you cannot win at gambling for very long, and why books are much, much harder to finish writing than they are to start. Blogs require less organisation because each entry is a discrete unit that does not need to fit into any overall arc of logic or plot. If Creation = Energy x Intelligence3 then an almost-zero intelligence will require an almost-infinite amount of energy to make anything worthwhile, which is exactly what we see when using any language.
Deriving creative intelligence from a finished product means measuring the number of combinations in that field which succeed compared to those which fail. For example, an Unmade Bed can be defined as successfully Unmade in every conceivable permutation except one or two: the states at which it can be said to be completely ordered. Therefore to create an Unmade Bed requires a small amount of energy but almost zero intelligence than to make one called Made Bed, which requires planning and intelligence because one is aiming for the very small subset where all disordered parts are eliminated, just as a person throwing a dart at a map with the intention of precisely hitting a specific volcano in Mauii must use far more intelligence than if they were to simply throw a dart out of the window and into the street.
A person could indeed throw a vast number of darts at random, but the odds of ever hitting the volcano in Mauii remain terribly small even after the millionth throw, because the result of any throw never changes the odds of the next one, while the energy required to keep trying becomes enormous. If we ask, from where does all this energy come from, the answer is from a dedicated system aimed at a specific purpose: typing a character, or throwing a dart – but all energy needs fuel, and all fuel needs a source. These requirements are always kept out of the picture, to focus people’s minds on the hope that order can come out of nothing. Unfortunately, impartial mathematics never bears this out. In another example, a newborn baby is physically capable of forming all the vowels and consonants of any language on Earth: the muscles are all in place, although the neuronic connections are not. By chance, it should still be possible for a newborn baby to accidentally pronounce a complicated word by fluke of exhaling and random movements of the vocal cords. But despite billions upon billions of newborn babies watched over by adults every moment of their waking lives, there has never been a single case of this happening because the odds of any such occurrence are staggeringly small, and they remain so no matter how many billions of other random experiments are made.
Here we see the reverse of Random Evolutionism. RE attempts to pass off an almost infinitely complex piece of work, the human body, as a meaningless assembly, unintentionally spewed out in nonsensical pieces by accident: to bend the law of order needs much creativity, which is what we see in the elaborate explanations of genetic skyhooks, memes, self-organising molecules, vast spans of time, etc etc. This energy in the form of explanations is the evidence that something is missing in the theory itself. Now, The Saatchi Gallery does exactly the reverse, and their intellect – if one can call it that – is to pass off a meaningless piece of rubbish as a work of creativity, in this case by Tracy Emin:
In genuine music, art, writing and science, the idea that random efforts lead to success is never taken seriously, if only because it forms a serious insult to anyone achieving anything by dint of a lifetime of research and hard work. The very fact that doctorates, medals and awards are given for achievement is confirmation of this position. The large number of failed attempts in all these fields compared to the small number which succeed is the ratio predicting the intelligence required: the level of rarity of a success also predicts the level of recognition granted for it.
The only exception is for writers such as Richard Dawkins, who believe the most complicated creations require no intelligence whatsoever to create. And yet just to create their books, they claim large amounts of intelligence are required – otherwise, how can they ask for respect? For writers such as these, the random theory of evolution is like saying we know we’ll lose, gambling against the house in a few games of roulette, but provided we keep gambling long enough, we’ll amass a vast, uncountable fortune. If only!
The problem of trying to replace intelligence through randomness gets worse the more you look at it. The complete works of Shakespeare would be useless without a person to read them. All the monkeys’ output would need to be checked by intelligence, to decide on its value – for an infinite number of attempts, we also need an infinite number of intelligent entities checking everything and communicating with every other entity to know if the goal has been achieved. Ironically an attempt to remove intelligence creates a situation in which an infinite amount of it is actually needed!
A book is not composed of random characters, but layers of thought which are merely represented by letters. The first layer might be a plot, the second, characters, the third perhaps events, the fourth some justification of the characters’ actions, and on top of all this are layers of vocabulary and writing style unique to the thinking of the writer. It is thought which makes a book cohesive, informative or enjoyable; some universal quality of it might make it a classic. Without intelligence, nothing can be created – if embodied life shows us anything at all, it is this.
The mind can instantly tell the difference between randomness and intelligence. This natural ability recognises qualities related to our own; what is perceived as a grander reflection of order and consciousness has led to religion in its evolving forms. The materialist lacks this ability and attributes everything to chaos, but the interpretative mind is active in this assessment, which makes it a projection of their own self.
The infinite monkeys concept has an interesting conclusion showing how poorly the theory even understands monkeys:
In 2003, scientists at Paignton Zoo and the University of Plymouth reported they had left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Sulawesi crested macaques for a month.
Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five pages consisting largely of the letter S, they started by attacking the keyboard with a stone, and continued by urinating and defecating on it.
Hemoglobin: a sentence in the story of us
If you think those odds were bad, the odds against working genetic designs are far higher. The DNA alphabet is only 4 letters – GCAT, all arranged within the DNA in sets of 3, each set of 3 or “codon” specifying one of 20 amino acids. An amino acid is just a fairly small molecule which can be joined to other such molecules to make much more complicated components (called proteins) which the body uses as part of its machinery. It’s estimated there are about 2 million different kinds of proteins in the human body. So you could say 4 letters make 20 words, and these words are combined into about 2 million completely different sentences. The most complicated protein is called connectin, a component of muscle tissue, a sentence containing 26,926 words. The DNA is divided into 23 chromosones, which you could call chapters, together making the story of a unique human being.
Then just print off 100 trillion copies or so and voila! A best seller.
The protein molecule hemoglobin has 534 codon “words” specifying amino acids, which means a total of 1,602 characters. There are start-and-stop amino acids too, but they are more like punctuation. Hemoglobin has a very, very precise structure – and the total number of different ways it can be messed up is staggering: 20 to the power 534. There’s no way to imagine such a number. If you tried to write it down, it would probably go right the way around your living room. The total number of atoms in the Universe is 10 followed by 80 zeros, but 20 just to the power 147 is 178 followed by 189 zeros! Let alone hemoglobin, can you imagine the different ways to wrongly assemble connectin – 20 to the power 26,926. Remember there are two million such different devices as part of the human body design, any one of which might need trillions of copies, as well as all the machinery to read, store, manufacture, error-check, and deliver them.
Biological duplication is the very opposite of this exponential drive toward a galaxy of waste. The human body’s growth from a single cell also follows an exponential path, but creates order, without chaos. One perfect cell becomes 2, then 4, 8, 16… until you have 100 trillion in the full grown body. Where is the random mutation now? We cannot just apply random mutation just to the gaps between species! For it to be a valid process, we must apply it as equally probable in every biological process. And these cells are not only duplicating, they’re differentiating, specialising, arranging and communicating between themselves in perfect harmony. To prove this, look in the mirror and blink.
If random evolution were a genuine aspect of biological processes, then the odds of these cells wandering from what they are supposed to be through history would be the same within the human body now – the growth of the fetus is even said to be a mirror of our evolutionary journey. But 100 trillion specialised, arranged, and perfectly co-ordinated cells is precisely the opposite of random wandering. And the same perfected system of copying is present in the building of every single life form now on Earth: every genus, every species, every member.
Not only that, some life forms have remained consistent for getting on to half a billion years. Individual variations within species are normal, but they are variations within a strictly defined set of parameters, and these depend on genetic parameters. Species are known for consistency – some have remained constant for hundreds of millions of years. Where then, is the randomness on which Darwinism relies? The argument that forms such as the ant, the fly, the wasp – or even the coelacanth – do not change because they are successful is incorrect since all forms must be successul to exist even a few moments: whether we wish the problem away to the distant past, or try to deal with it in the present, mathematically we can prove that there is order within the Universe, and not chaos.
With the odds against successful biological machinery being so astronomical, so impossibly and unimaginably vast, it’s small wonder the materialists need to completely ignore them.
“Hemoglobin is a remarkable molecular machine that uses motion and small structural changes to regulate its action. Oxygen binding at the four heme sites in hemoglobin does not happen simultaneously. Once the first heme binds oxygen, it introduces small changes in the structure of the corresponding protein chain.
These changes nudge the neighboring chains into a different shape, making them bind oxygen more easily. Thus, it is difficult to add the first oxygen molecule, but binding the second, third and fourth oxygen molecules gets progressively easier and easier. This provides a great advantage in hemoglobin function.
When blood is in the lungs, where oxygen is plentiful, oxygen easily binds to the first subunit and then quickly fills up the remaining ones. Then, as blood circulates through the body, the oxygen level drops while that of carbon dioxide increases. In this environment, hemoglobin releases its bound oxygen.
As soon as the first oxygen molecule drops off, the protein starts changing its shape. This prompts the remaining three oxygens to be quickly released. In this way, hemoglobin picks up the largest possible load of oxygen in the lungs, and delivers all of it where and when needed.” (Protein Data Bank)