Quantifying Paul Davies’ faith in naturalism

According to Paul Davies:

It’s a little bit like going for a walk in the countryside, coming across a pile of bricks and assuming that there will be a house around the corner…Some scientists say, just throw energy at it and it will happen spontaneously. That’s a little bit like saying: put a stick of dynamite under a pile of bricks, and bang, you’ve got a house! Of course you won’t have a house, you’ll just have a mess…You can say that if you replay the scenario often enough, sooner or later, just by chance, the right molecular combination will occur. The argument is absolutely correct. Chance will work miracles given enough time.

But when juxtaposed against the next quote, Davies’ faith claim is unconvincing:

As  [James] Coppedge (1973) notes, even:

  1. postulating a primordial sea with every single component necessary for life
  2. speeding up the bonding rate so as to form different chemical combinations a trillion times more rapidly than hypothesized to have occurred
  3. allowing for a 4.6 billion- year-old earth
  4. using all atoms on the earth,

still leaves the probability of a single protein molecule being arranged by chance is 1 in 10,261. Using the lowest estimate made before the discoveries of the past two decades raised the number several fold. Coppedge estimates the probability of 1 in 10119,879 is necessary to obtain the minimum set of the required estimate of 239 protein molecules for the smallest theoretical life form.

At this rate he estimates it would require 10119,831 years on the average to obtain a set of these proteins by naturalistic evolution (1973, pp. 110, 114).  The number he obtained is 10119,831 greater than the current estimate for the age of the earth (4.6 billion years). In other words, this event is outside the range of probability…

In spite of the overwhelming empirical and probabilistic evidence that life could not originate by natural processes, evolutionists possess an unwavering belief that some day they will have an answer to how life could spontaneously generate.

Quote source
  1. Davies, P. (1998). More Big Questions: Paul Davies in Conversation with Phillip Adams. ABC Books, Sydney, pp. 47-49
  2. Bergman, J. (2000). Why Abiogenesis is Impossible. The True.Origin Archive. Available http://www.trueorigin.org/abio.asp. Last accessed 31st Jan 2015.
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