### Can you comment on an article titled "Life by chance?" as well as my atheist friend's response to the article?

Question:
I had posted this article “Life by Chance” to a bunch of friends who claim to either be atheists, agnostic or skeptics. I know it’s outdated, but I could use some help as I am not an expert or well versed in electrons and the like. Is there an article that expands on this article- “Life by Chance?” I will paste the article and then a response by a “atheist” listener. Thank you my friend. Also is there a section on your website that deals with atheist questions- up to date atheist questions?

Life by Chance?

Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Gary Parker of the institute for Creation Research have recorded the probability of the chance origin of life in their revised book, What is Creation Science? (pp. 269-276). If the entire universe were crammed with electrons (electron particles), the maximum number of these little particles would be ten to the power of 130. If each particle could do one hundred billion-billion events (steps in ever onward and upward evolution) every second for 3,000 billion years (100 times older than anyone says the universe it), then in the span of history of the universe, ten to the 170th power of events could possibly happen. But to get a series of even 150 events to happen in order (and without God’s help), events that might be moving from non-living chemicals to a living cell, there is only one chance in ten to the power of 450! This means the probability of godless evolution even getting started is zero. There is a law of probability that states that anything beyond ten to the fifteenth power (really minus fiftieth power- but that comes out in fractions and most people do not like to work with fractions is impossible). There aren’t enough electrons in the universe to generate by chance a single living cell of a single evolutionary scientist. And yet these scientists who refuse to believe in God are here. How did they get here? Without belief in God, the only option these people have is the purposeless, mindless evolution of non-living chemicals over aeons of time into a living cell and ultimately into man. For nearly 150 years, some of the most brilliant scientists in the world have attempted to convert non-living chemicals into some form of reproducible life. No one has done it.

Response from Atheist Listener:

“Gabe Cannon – the book you are referencing was published in 1994; the field of quantum physics and cosmology has advanced so much since then that we now have far more accurate data for the age of the Universe (c. 13.8 billion years) the size of the *observable* Universe (approx 92 billion light years across), and we’ve discovered many interesting facts along the way. The hypothesis proposed by Morris and Grant is fundamentally flawed because *we do not know* this size of the Universe – we only know the size of the *observable* universe, which is to say we know how much of it we can see. To make a wild claim such as being able to calculate the total number of electrons you could cram into the universe is ** (expletive deleted).

Respponse:

The place to find more material on this is in my book “Is There a God?” You can pick up a copy at www.ipibooks.com    Also, in the power point section of the web site there are notes and a power point titled “The Existence of God.”  That may be helpful.   In fact, we have an entire course in our apologetics certificate program on this topic.  You can take the class!

As for Morris and Parker, I strongly suggest you not use their material because they are young earth creationists and they essentially deny science in their quest to “prove” that the earth is young. In this, unfortunately, they fail. You will continually set yourself up for having your skeptical friends blow you off if you use materials by anti-scientific people like Morris and Parker. I believe that these gentlemen are sincere, but they will not be helpful to you in your discussions.

Having said that, I am absolutely 100% in agreement with their argument that life could not have been produced by random chemical events. They are solid there, but I just would not use their material. I have two chapters on origin of life in my book and I suggest it will be better for you to use this material in your discussions.

As for your friend’s response, it really has nothing to do with the origin of life which is the chief issue raised by Morris and Parker. The fact that you used an old article does not make it untrue. Your friend is correct that we have more precise data on the age of the universe. He is also correct to criticize Morris and Parker on their rejection of the evidence for the age of the universe. Nevertheless, his response has nothing to do with the question of the origin of life. The age of the universe does not affect how life might have originated. A more relevant number is the age of the earth, which is about 4.6 billion years, at least according to scientific data. The question is whether even the simplest imaginable living thing could be generated by random chemical events. The answer to this is NO!!!! Your friend does not address how life originated. By the way, his statement that the observable universe is 92 billion light years across is also inaccurate, but to be honest, this is really not relevant to how life originated.

Science has no answer to how life might have originated by any conceivable natural event or events. Recent discoveries about the universe do nothing to change this fact. Perhaps you can get your friend to engage this question, but my experience is that most such skeptics are really not very interested in even considering non-materialist explanations. There are exceptions, so keep on trying.

John Oakes