Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Miraculous Necklace

Ok, so my attempt to demonstrate the virtual impossibility of life beginning by accident might have flopped. If you were at Providence Sunday, you know I wore an orange and white necklace that my son made for me. I told everyone that he put it together randomly and I noticed it just happened to spell out Genesis 1:1 in Morse code. Then I spent WAY too much time showing the statistical ridiculousness of such a feat! At the end I said, "If you believe this (that Drew put the necklace together by random chance), I have a piece of ocean-front property here in Tennessee I'd like to sell you!"

Just in case you're still unclear: Drew DID make the necklace, but he spelled out Gen. 1:1 in Morse code ON PURPOSE. It was JUST AN ILLUSTRATION! I hope that those of you who didn't get my poor attempt to use satire in order to "illustrate absurdity by being absurd" will forgive me. I should have been clearer. On the other hand, maybe my argumentum ad absurdum will help you remember that believing in a naturalistic explanation of the origin of life is MUCH MORE ABSURD than believing Drew accidentally made the necklace that spelled Gen. 1:1, and takes MUCH MORE FAITH than believing in a Creator God.

I’ve had a lot of good laughs with some who, for one reason or another, thought the necklace was a miracle! Thanks for putting up with me trying to be a little creative.

Here’s the stats (for those of you who have asked) on the necklace: The odds that Drew would put 102 beads in the right sequence to spell out Gen.1:1 in Morse code is one in 5x10^30

By comparison, the chances of winning the powerball jackpot is roughly 1 in 1x10^8 (about 1 chance in one-hundred million). That's roughly like filling half a basketball court 1 foot deep in pennies, marking one, and giving a blindfolded person one chance to pick the marked coin.

So I wondered, "how many pennies would it take to illustrate 5 x 10^30?" Bottom line…pennies are way too big. I went smaller. BBs were too big too. So I tried grains of sand.

There are 300,000 grains of sand per cu. in.

x 1728 cu. in. per cu. foot. (518,400,000 grains)

x 27,878,400 sq. ft. per sq. mi.

x 198,000,000 sq. mi. of surface area on entire earth including oceans.
The resulting number is not even close! So I went deeper with the sand covering the world... starting with the depth of empire state building. Still not close! Finally I got it. The sand has to be about 1,500,000 feet deep (284 miles, or that's = 1032 empire state buildings stacked on each other) to get 1 in 5x10^30 (the chance that Drew could randomly make a necklace spell Gen. 1:1)!

Here's my point: Even THAT is not as impossible as the likelihood that life appeared without God. And the comparison is NOT EVEN CLOSE!

In order for life to have appeared spontaneously, there must first have been hundreds of millions of DNA molecules. Under perfect conditions, given the size of earth, it would take 1x10^243 billions of years for only one of these molecules to occur strictly by chance.

According to textbooks written by atheist, agnostic, (as well as theist) scientists, if all the chemical bonds of earth's simplest living creature were broken, the chance of its reassembly, even under ideal environmental and chemical conditions … is less than 1 in 10^100,000,000,000 (one chance in ten to the one-hundred billionth power), a number so large, to write the zeros out in standard notation would take every page of almost 1000 sets of Encyclopedia Britannica.

Facts like these convinced Antony Flew (Oxford scholar and "most famous atheist in the academic world over the last half-century" according to the Dallas Morning News) who wrote the book, There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind said, "What I think the DNA material…has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinary diverse elements to work together."

Be sure to come This Sunday. Dr. Marc Bodenheimer (one of our elders and an eye surgeon), will be teaching as we tackle Genesis 1 and the creation of humankind. That's what all the other days have been leading up to. What does it mean to be human? Come and hear!


Anonymous said...

i thought u were serious about it till the end. i was thinking 'there's no way'!!!!!! i get it now. i am new at providence ch. i really like the geneses series too!!!
janet rogers

Chad Sparks said...

Yeah, I talked with several today at church who said they were thinking, "He's lost his mind." One young man leaned over to his mom and whispered, "I'm not buying it."
I've got to say it...those reactions were exactly what I was hoping for in order to make the point!
Glad you're coming to Providence, Janet!