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To: 2ndreconmarine
Ok - here's your math.
From http://expertpages.com/news/dna.htm:
    All the human chromosomes taken together contain about 3 billion
    base pairs from an alphabet of the 2 bases of  or :
 
 	2 ^ (3 * 10^9)	= 10 ^ (3 * 10^9 / Log2(10))
			= 10 ^ (3 * 10^9 / 3.3)
			= 10 ^ (0.9 * 10^9)
So there are about "ten to the .9 billion" different DNA combinations
possible, with DNA the size of a humans.

From http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=342:
    Mass of Universe: 3 x 10^55 gram, 

Large subatomic particles (Neutrons and protons) per gram:
6.022 x 10^23 (Avogadro's Constant)

The number of large subatomic particles (protons and neutrons)
in the universe (if all mass in the universe were such particles)
is approximately 3 x 10^55 x 6.022 x 10^23, or 1.8 ^ 10^79.

A chromosome is a few nanometers across -- let's say one nanometer.
Light travels at 3 * 10^8 meters per second.  There are about
1/32 billion seconds in a year, and the universe is perhaps 15
billion years old.  So a computer fast enough to have
one cycle in the time it took like to travel across the width
of a single chromosome, running continuously for the life of the
universe would execute the following number of cycles:
	1/32 * 10^9 * 15 * 10^9 * 3 * 10^8 * 10^9 = 1.4 * 10^35 cycles.

So replacing every large subatomic particle with a computer capable
of computing, composing and testing the viability of some random
combination of human DNA in the time it took light to travel across
a gene, that ran for the life of the known universe, would result
in testing about 1.4 * 10^35 * 1.8 * 10^79 = 2.52 * 10^114  = 10^114.4
different DNA combinations being tried.

There are 10 ^ (0.9 * 10^9) combinations to try.

So we would need to have 10 ^ (0.9 * 10^9 - 114.4) = 10 ^
899999885 Universes before such a universe of ultra fast
computers tried all DNA combinations.  That's a billion billion
billion ... billion (repeated 100 million times) universes, each
containing a billion billion ... billion (repeated 9 times)
computers, each fast enough to calculate a billion billion
cycles per second (about a billion times faster than your
PC), running for the entire 15 billion year life of a typical
Universe, computing and testing for viability an entire DNA
sequence once each cycle, to find your DNA and recognize its
viability as a human.

That is infinitesmally small.
60 posted on 11/23/2005 12:38:25 AM PST by ThePythonicCow (To err is human; to moo is bovine.)
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To: ThePythonicCow
Mangled html - the phrase: should have been:
62 posted on 11/23/2005 12:44:17 AM PST by ThePythonicCow (To err is human; to moo is bovine.)
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To: ThePythonicCow

You do realize, I hope, the pointless of your 'calculations'? Or shall I spell it out for you?


63 posted on 11/23/2005 12:50:22 AM PST by blowfish
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To: ThePythonicCow; 2ndreconmarine
Ok - here's your math.

Well, it's "math" all right, but it models a really stupid scenario which has no resemblance at all to actual biological processes.

That is infinitesmally small.

Yes, and also infinitismally valid as a meaningful model of reality.

On top of *that*, it makes the common ad hoc probability fallacy. Here's an example just like yours about a more familiar process, in order to show how idiotic your math is:

There are 52! (52 factorial, or 52x51x50...x1) possible arrangements to a single deck of cards. Take a deck, shuffle it thoroughly, and spread the deck face up on the table. See that arrangement of cards you ended up with? The odds of getting that exact arrangement are an astronomically small 1 out of 80658175170943878571660636856403766975289505440883277824000000000000 -- it's a miracle!!!
Nice try.

Sorry, son, but all your "math" has demonstrated is that it you were randomly shuffling DNA like a deck of cards, the odds of producing someone's specific genome from scratch (and which one? Not counting identical twins, everyone's DNA is *different*) are astronomically low. But so freaking what? No one ever suggested that human life came about by *shuffling*. That's highly idiotic.

Instead, human life has come about via evolutionary processes, which are *not* as pointless and unfocussed as shuffling. And for a taste of just how *much* evolution can speed up things over purely random processes like the one you *incorrectly* try to use as an analogy for evolutionary processes, here's an older post of mine:

Or are you one of those who insist that a room full of monkeys with keyboards can write the complete works of Shakespeare?

In theory? Yes they can, if you're willing to wait long enough (where "enough" is an amount of time that boggles the imagination). In practice (by simple random output)? No they can't.

But they can do it pretty quickly and easily if a replication and selection process is involved.

You wanted to see a calculation, so let's do one.

Consider the Shakespeare phrase, "If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me." That's 109 characters (including spaces and punctuation). Upper and lower case letters, plus digits and puntuaction, make up a pool of about 70 different characters. This means that the odds of producing the Shakespeare phrase in one random trial is 1 out of 70109, or 1 in 1,305,227,939,201,292,014, 528,313,176,276,968,928,001, 249,110,077,400,839,115,038, 451,821,150,802,274,449,576, 205,527,736,070,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000.

Needless to say, that's a big number. It's so huge that if every atom in the universe (about 1080 of them) were a computer capable of making a billion (1,000,000,000) random trials per second, the expected time required to produce the above line from Shakespeare would be 2,585,011,097,170,911,314,802,759,827,024,569,612,393, 783,728,161,759,843,736,212,615,624,189,581,658,716,078, 309,043,891,309 times the expected lifespan of the universe. That's close enough to "never" in my book.

But that's for *purely* random production process. How much do you think an evolutionary process could cut down that figure? Knock a few zeros off the end, maybe?

Well let's try it. Using an evolutionary process, which couples random variation with replication and selection and *nothing* else, the above Shakespeare phrase can be produced on a *single* computer (mine), using a breeding population of 1024 character strings in a whopping... 15 seconds (using this applet):

Generation: 0
Tries <= 1024
Best Critter: "xSeOSEpc3Lm6rnRWnpFYL?QEDY7a67XlfRoJ0e8Len'X'1u'BhdrNqSNaXr7kVjondNozkf2CH9d96SaI?'f43M.CUGJ5XHbqfeR.UJP'tgNP"
Score (0 is best) 101

Generation: 100
Tries <= 26624
Best Critter: "vf,ioV c3RKlooioifBFQXh, PeHTskof!oJ0e,Lrn'X'1u BhkchESNaXr kVjo dNozpanSI div1Qwi8h taQ,jswMkk,us1S'ugYtmm7."
Score (0 is best) 72

[...]

Generation: 1115
Tries <= 286464
Best Critter: "If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me."
Score (0 is best) 0

Checked 286464 critters in 15 seconds == 19097 tries/sec.

Hmm, 15 seconds is a hell of a lot faster than zillions of times the lifespan of the universe, isn't it? Evolution sped things up (compared to a purely random process) by a factor of more than 10195 -- that's a "1" followed by a hundred and ninety-five zeros, or: 1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000.

Lesson: Even simple evolutionary processes are *incredibly* more efficient and effective than simple randomness alone. Evolution can *easily* accomplish things which would be *impossibly* improbable by purely random means.

For further discussion of the many ways in which your analysis is flawed, see:

Probability of Abiogenesis FAQs

65 posted on 11/23/2005 12:56:18 AM PST by Ichneumon
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