DNAI hate this type of post.  It seems so redundant to display the fault in an argument that displays its own faults to obviously!

On page 51 of “The God Delusion”, Richard Dawkins attempts to make the creation of life (though he is not talking about life at all but merely the creation of something similar to DNA) seem like an obvious outcome of simple probability (chance, odds, whatever you prefer).  His argument is so flawed in every way that I am amazed he makes it without blushing.

His simple assertion is that they believe there are a “billion billion” planets in the universe and therefore, “If the odds of life originating spontaneously on a planet were a billion to one against, nevertheless that stupefying event would still happen on a billion planets.”


The first flaw of Dawkins’ argument is that of “begging the question”, or assuming something is true that one would have to prove.  He assumes that something like DNA actually could originate spontaneously, which is not proven to be true.  I’ll use a simple example to illustrate what I mean.

If you take a standard deck of 52 cards and deal 4 hands of 13 cards, the odds of each hand containing all the cards of a single suit (all diamonds in one hand, all clubs in another etc. etc.) is incredibly improbable, but certainly possible.  Now lets take the same deck of cards and throw them into the air.  What are the odds of them landing in the formation of a four story house of cards with each story being all of one suit during a hurricane?

It is impossible.  Not just because common sense at some point finds the odds so great that we consider something impossible, but because the hurricane winds would keep the cards moving so they could not land during the hurricane at all.

Dawkins assumes DNA could be formed “spontaneously” without proving that is actually possible.  I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but it has not been proven to be possible at all and without that proof his entire argument is flawed immediately.

But lets give him the benefit of the doubt and allow that it is possible.

Dawkins then goes on to assign the “stupefying” odds of it occurring to a “billion to one against”.  If you roll a single 6 sided dice the odds of it landing on 5 is six to one against.  The odds of it turning up 5 two rolls in a row is 36 to one against.  The odds of rolling 5 twelve times in a row are over 2 billion to one against.

So in the logic of “The God Delusion”, it is twice are hard to roll a 5 twelve times in a row than it is to spontaneously create DNA.  Dawkins is by training a biologist.  He claims to know something about DNA.  That leaves only 2 explanations for his gross misrepresentation of the odds of DNA spontaneously occurring, if it is even possible at all.

He is either dishonest… or delusional.