Used by Permission from Clay Jones (rev. 7/31/2011)

So how did the universe, and all the complexity we find in living things, arise? There are only two explanations: God or luck. Now, if the Darwinists are correct, this luck is operated on by natural selection but don’t let that fool you: natural selection is still working upon lucky mutations. For the naturalist luck is still at the bottom of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the complexity found in living things. Naturalism is, at its core, based upon luck.

I’m going to just pass on some quotes with little commentary.

Luck and the Origin of Life

Richard Dawkins: “We can accept a certain amount of luck in our explanations, but not too much…. We can allow ourselves the luxury of an extravagant theory [regarding the origin of life on our planet], provided that the odds of coincidence do not exceed 100 billion billion to one [10-20].”[1]

Dawkins:  “Brilliant physicist and cosmologist”[2] Fred “Hoyle said that the probability of life originating on Earth is no greater than the chance that a hurricane, sweeping through a scrapyard, would have the luck to assemble a Boeing 747. Others have borrowed the metaphor to refer to the later evolution of complex living bodies, where it has a spurious plausibility.”[3] Thus, we are just crazy-lucky that life began.

So we are just crazy-lucky that life began.

Luck and the Evolution of Complex Biological Systems

Richard Dawkins:

Evolution is very possibly not, in actual fact, always gradual. But it must be gradual when it is being used to explain the coming into existence of complicated, apparently designed objects, like eyes. For if it is not gradual in these cases, it ceases to have any explanatory power at all. Without gradualness in these cases, we are back to miracle, which is simply a synonym for the total absence of explanation. The reason eyes and wasp-pollinated orchids impress us so is that they are improbable. The odds against their spontaneously assembling by luck are odds too great to be borne in the real world. Gradual evolution by small steps, each step being lucky but not too lucky, is the solution to the riddle. But if it is not gradual, it is no solution to the riddle: it is just a restatement of the riddle.[4]

Notice here that even after life began it is still a matter of luck. Granted that for the Darwinist this luck is operated on by natural selection but the chance mutations themselves are still the result of luck. Consider one example of how lucky. Francis Crick won a Nobel Prize as the co-discoverer of the double helical nature of DNA (what follows is a little long but well worth it):

To produce this miracle of molecular construction [a polypeptide chain] all the cell need do is to string together the amino acids (which make up the polypeptide chain) in the correct order. This is a complicated biochemical process, a molecular assembly line, using instructions in the form of a nucleic acid tape (the so-called messenger RNA)…. Here we only need to ask, how many possible proteins are there? If a particular amino acid sequence was selected by chance, how rare an event would that be? This is an easy exercise in combinatorials. Suppose the chain is about two hundred amino acids long; this is, if anything rather less than the average length of the proteins of all types. Since we have just twenty possibilities at each place, the number of possibilities is twenty multiplied by itself some 200 times. This is conveniently written 20200 and is approximately equal to 10260, that is, a one followed by 260 zeros! This number is quite beyond our everyday comprehension. For comparison, consider the number of fundamental particles (atoms, speaking loosely) in the entire visible universe, not just our own galaxy with its 1011 stars, but in all the billions of galaxies, out to the limits of observable space. This number, which is estimated to be 1080, is quite paltry by comparison to 10260. Moreover, we have only considered a polypeptide chain of a rather modest length. Had we considered a longer one as well, the figure would have been even more immense.[5]

Of course, 10260 is really, seriously, unbelievably, crazy-lucky. And, again, this is just for one polypeptide chain “of a rather modest length”!

No wonder Crick wrote that “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”

Francis Crick, of course, realized that 10260 was indeed way too lucky so with Leslie Orgel they came up with a new solution:

It now seems unlikely that extraterrestrial living organisms could have reached the earth either as spores driven by the radiation pressure from another star or as living organisms imbedded in a meteorite. As an alternative to these nineteenth-century mechanisms, we have considered Directed Panspermia, the theory that organisms were deliberately transmitted to the earth by intelligent beings on another planet.”[6]

In other words, Crick had argued that extraterrestrials designed life and sent it here.[7] Of course, Darwinists believe that these extraterrestrials would have also evolved through natural selection working on luck so we are still back to luck. So, at the bottom of it all it comes down to two possible explanations for the Universe: it arose from God or we’re just lucky. Very, very, very, very, times a centilllion (that’s a 1 with 303 zeros after it) lucky.

Romans 1:19-20: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”


[1] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (New York, W. W. Norton, 1996), 139, 145-146. 

[2] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), 142.

[3] Ibid., 138. Although Dawkins later said that Hoyle’s illustration was based on Hoyle having a ”misunderstanding,” (142) Dawkins makes this statement in the context of natural selection not the origin of first life. Of course Hoyle wasn’t trying to argue that the statistical probablily of first life arising was mathmatically calcuable to a 747 being assembled in a junk yard by a tornado but only that first life assembling by chance is extremely improbable and Dawkins doesn’t disagree. Rather, Dawkins, in The God Delusion is arguing that God is even more improbable than that.

[4] Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1995), 83-84.

[5] Francis Crick, Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), 51-25. Emphasis his. 

[6] F. H. Crick, L. E. Orgel, (1973). “Directed Panspermia,” Icarus 19: 341–348. 

[7] Crick later regretted the ET explanation but that he would feel the need to resort to it in the first place is the point.


Used by Permission from Clay Jones