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Batten #8: The Incorrect Calculation

March 22nd, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 1 Comment

Hat tip to Auke for his transcript.
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Please keep in mind this is a transcript of a live talk, not something Dr Batten thoughtfully and carefully wrote himself.

Now here is the piece that I explained in Incorrect Creationist Calculation: Likelihood of Formation of a Particular Protein. Please go read that to see why this calculation is hogwash:

Well, someone says, well, given enough time, anything’s possible? That’s the usual argument, isn’t it? Probably running out of time for doing all that because I want to leave some time for some questions, um, the um, but let’s let me just show you quickly, um, how much time would you like, 14 billion years? If there are 10^80 atoms in the universe, how many experiments are possible?

Well lets assume every atom is an experiment. Is that enough experiments for you? Every atom in the universe is an experiment, over every millisecond of 14 billion years, is that enough experiments? Of course, that’s totally unrealistic, there can’t be that many, but just just for the sake of the exercise, given enough time, anything is possible.

OK, that’s, if you want to check that maths, and you’ll have to use logs unless your calculator does powers to power of a 100, 4.4 x 10^100 experiments, that’s a few experiments. OK, look at one protein by chance. One average protein, say 300 amino acids, which is probably understating it but lets say 300, assume there are only 20 amino acids present, 20 different ones, actually stacks of them, hundreds of them, but only 20 different ones available, which is impossible to get by natural processes, but let’s humour the evolutionary story by assuming they only had 20 different ones, and the right ones there, assume they are all optically pure, which you can’t get by natural processes without enzymes, we don’t yet have enzymes remember. Assume they amine bonds without enzymes which they won’t, but lets make all these assumptions favourable for formation of one protein. How many possibilities are there? 10 to the power of 390. How many experiments do we have? 10 to the power of 100. We’re a long way short of having any possibility of getting even one protein, even with that wholly unrealistic scenario. Folks, it is the height of wishful thinking to suggest that natural processes produced any protein, let alone life, let alone the complexity of life that we see in the world today. You can talk about whatever evolutionary process you like. Natural processes will not produce the incredible information we see in living things.

Invalid arguments. Now he wraps up his talk with silly claim reversals:

[43:34] I would submit, this. People say, how can you be a scientist and be a Christian? I would say, how can you be a scientist and not be a Christian.

Suppose one does believe there’s some guiding hand of some sort… how does one specifically jump to Christianity, exactly?

The truth of the matter is rather the question: how can you be a scientist and not be awed by the universe? From there, you get something like Einsteinian religion, which I do believe to be rather common amongst scientists.

In fact, look at this vase of flowers. No-one would suggest that the vase made itself, but we are told that the flowers in the vase, which are far more complex, did.

No one suggests flowers made themselves, they suggest flowers evolved though. The reason flowers can evolve and vases cannot, is because the vase is not alive.

Dja.. The Bible says in Romans chapter 1 verse 20, for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, that is god, being understood by the things that are made, in his eternal power and godhead, so they, that is we, are without excuse.

We are without excuse when it comes to a sense of awe at the majesty of the universe. Humans find it hard to relate to something that is not human, so we personify things. Many of us direct our awe and thankfulness about this remarkable existence towards a personified idea of something greater, and we call this “God”. It is beautiful, and it is poetic. God is the great big poet, the artist, the very idea… Creationists like Dr Batten worship the God of the Gaps. About that god, I’m also an atheist. My God is bigger than that.

Why don’t people accept that? Because it requires if god owns us, if god made us, he owns us, if god owns us, we’re accountable to him and therefore, we cannot possibly accept that there is a creator.

Another sweet piece to quote mine. ;-)

Dr Batten claims atheists are atheists because they don’t want to be held accountable. There are enough atheists reading this blog that can thoroughly debunk that claim. Feel free to have a go at it, but try to keep it concise. ;)

However, Romans 1:20 still doesn’t have anything to do with whether evolution is true or not.

In fact, C S Lewis said…, this, C S Lewis was an atheist who became a Christian, and he said this, he said

“Does the whole vast structure of modern naturalism which permeates our University environment depend not on positive evidence, but simply on an a priori metaphysical prejudice? Was it devised not to get facts in, get in facts, but to keep out god?”

CS Lewis accepted science, an old earth, and I’m pretty sure he accepted evolution, based on my impressions of Mere Christianity.

I’ll leave it open to questions.

I’m not tackling the questions, I’m tired, and I’m going on holiday. (Actually, by the time this is published, six days from now, I’ll already be on holiday.) Or maybe I’m just embarrassed about how I fumble questions when confronting creationists. ;) I mentioned that briefly in Creationists Believe Lions Originally Ate Plants.

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