I was having a conversation today and a friend mentioned an article he'd read that explained how evolution is mathematically implausible or impossible as the time it would take for life to evolve as it is is longer than the universe has existed.

 

I'm not familiar with this argument and wondered if anyone can point me to that article or to something similar. A refutation of the idea would be helpful as well.

Tags: evolution

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At some point, some guesswork comes into it and you have to make up arbitrary figures, e.g. for the rate of mutations or for the proportion among mutations of beneficial, neutral, and detrimental mutations.  If you set such-and-such a constant arbitrarily high or low (depending on how it fits into the computations) you can make evolution need  ga-quad-jillions of years or, like, two days.
its an observed phenomena, scientists look at fossil evidence, genetic evidence, and they can even watch microevolution occur in the lab.  Its as plain to see as the spherical earth, or gravity.    If it wasnt for a strict interpretation of the bible that some feel cannot be reconciled with a universe that is older than 6000 years, no one would dispute it.

Would take longer than the universe existed, or the earth? Regardless, I've heard something like this before, but it was on youtube where this concept was debunked, but I don't know the video off the top of my head, or who the video was made by.

 

There's so many Youtubers debunking so much of this creationist crap, it's hard to keep track of who debunked what. :/

 

You should ask your friend for a link to this article. Meanwhile I'll sift through some old videos. No guarantees though.

I'm very grateful for your efforts. Hope you find something. I did ofcourse ask my pal to cite his source. As I suspected, he couldn't come up with the name of the article or even the publication.

I can't be sure if this video even addresses what your friend's article said, but creationist propaganda for the most part stays unchanged, so it's likely this video addresses your friend's crap.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOHT_dTDQbQ&feature=channel_vide...

Just another christian platitude!  I reply with stupid crap, like, "Hmmmm, I read an article that says it is mathematically impossible for humans to have assholes!"  hehe

Isn't it mathematically impossible for the universe to be pouffed into existence in six days, formed from nothing at all, except by magic from some unseen super-duper thing-ama-jig?

Try watching Richard Dawkins' "Climbing mount improbable". There is a playlist of it split into 8 parts at DrMontague's YouTube webpage. Each part loads in turn, as you finish watching a part. Take your time, and see if it answers your question:-

http://www.youtube.com/user/DrMontague#p/c/EC1BF26E34D3DD0A/0/JW1rV...

 

Try also Dawkins' "The Blind watchmaker - 2/5":-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sUQIpFajsg

When someone claims that they've "read something in an article somewhere" it's always a good idea to try to get more specifics. Of course one can't remember everything, but I would try to press for any details they can recall. It's all too easy to be evasive about it and leave you hanging. Also it's useful to get a sense of who is disseminating such information.

Alli, a lot of the assertions your friend is making is pretty much par for the course, especially when you’re dealing with extreme secularists. I know, it sounds like I’m sour on religious people, but in truth I’m more sour on American Conservative Religiosity, primarily because American religious organizations believe that truth is determined through mass appeal. Facts and theories can be dismissed if the majority of the people ‘believe’ that they’re wrong. I mean let’s not forget that there is a Creationist Museum in Petersburg Kentucky where they have a T-Rex wearing a saddle. This is because it’s widely believed by Creationists that Dinosaurs were brought over on the Ark back during the great flood.

And No, I’ve never been to the museum. I’ve only read about it in a book called Idiot America – How stupidity became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. I’ve also seen pictures of the exhibit on the web.

mmmm... i think I'll have to browse my library to find the correct reference, but i clearly remember reading that, in fact, time is not the problem. Of course, the time evolution might take is dependent on a lot of variables, most of which can only be estimated. 

I think it was in Jerry Coyne's "Why evolution is true" that i read that, in fact, under the right conditions, evolution and speciation can happen in a very short time.

I'll look for the reference and be back :)

They've calculated even Human mutation rates now, you can find an article about it here, but the assertion that it would take too long is flat out wrong.  Experiments have been done in laboratories with flies that create entirely new species within weeks, let alone billions of years.  Also, it would be important to note that probability of anything can't by definition make it impossible, only highly unlikely~ which would pretty much stop the argument anyways, but there is plenty of evidence of mutations in the short term out there~ if there weren't, I suppose there would be quite a few biologists who would be raising hell about it.

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