Friday, October 30, 2009

Evolution Is Monkey Business!

How long would it take a monkey to type the word evolution on a standard 104-key keyboard?

Well there is, on average, one chance in 1,423,311,812,421,484,544 attempts (an attempt being defined as a random keying of 9 characters), of typing the word evolution on a 104-key keyboard. This is based on the Multiplication Rule of probability.

Assuming the monkey could type 2 keystrokes/sec, 8 hrs/day, 5 days/week, 44 weeks/year (that's a 52 weeks year - 4 weeks annual leave - 2 weeks public holidays - 2 weeks sick leave) and he stumbled on the right key combination, by chance, in only half the attempts then it would only take him 505,437,433,388.31 years.

Unfortunately, he would have died after about 20!

Such are the overwhelming odds of randomly typing the nine character word coined to describe the very theory which says all things evolved from a primordial soup, it would take 25,271,871,669.42 monkeys working back to back to crack this problem!

7 comments:

goldnsilver said...

*Sigh*

I'm so sick of Christians attempting lame 'comparisons' in order to attempt to disprove a 150 year old scientific theory.

Have you even read the Origin of Species? Do you understand the basic concept of natural selection? Or increasing complexity through a series of small modifications? Do you read at all (outside of the bible?). If you did, you would know that most of your extremely limited 'counter-theories' are actually discussed in the original theory.

I can't believe a fellow Australian is making comments like this; you sound like a fundementalist from the deep south in America.

I'm not against Christianity, I think that the religious texts are a source of great contributions to understanding mankind. But please PLEASE try to be intellectually honest when facing science, instead of repeating illogical tropes or reacting emotionally.

Nathin said...

Goldnsilver -

A 150 theory is still a theory.

I wouldn't actually be a very good Australian if I believed what was written in the 'Origin of Species' since in the book Aboriginal people are named as another race, on a closer level to the apes. Hmmm...

And 150 years later there are no transitional forms between species, which confirms Charles Darwin's fears on page 172 of Origin of Species:

"But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?"

Is a 150 year old scientific unhypothesis, not even a theory.

Sam said...

*Sigh*
I'm with you there!

I'm so sick of Christians attempting lame 'comparisons' in order to attempt to disprove a 150 year old scientific theory.
I prefer scientific facts, not theories! In my argument I am dealing with facts, and that is, statistically, a monkey has almost zero chance of typing the word evolution in his lifetime!

Have you even read the Origin of Species? Do you understand the basic concept of natural selection? Or increasing complexity through a series of small modifications? Do you read at all (outside of the bible?). If you did, you would know that most of your extremely limited 'counter-theories' are actually discussed in the original theory.
The aim of this post was to show the reader the complexity of a seemingly simple problem, and then to present that in a way in which the brain can look at it and go "wow, 500 billion years to crack that problem... mate, that's a lot of monkeys!".

I submit this question to you then... which is more complex: A monkey typing the word "evolution" or the evolution of all living plants and animals from a primordial soup to their present day forms?

I can't believe a fellow Australian is making comments like this; you sound like a fundementalist from the deep south in America.
Fair crack of the whip! I reckon the galah who came up with this whole lamb brained theory had a few Roos loose in the top paddock! Um... How should a fellow Australian sound? I live in the deep South of Australia - maybe that's my problem?

I'm not against Christianity, I think that the religious texts are a source of great contributions to understanding mankind. But please PLEASE try to be intellectually honest when facing science, instead of repeating illogical tropes or reacting emotionally.
I am glad you are not against Christianity! We are not against you either, and the good news that we herald - how you, as a sinner, can be made right with a just and holy God - is for your own good, for your own benefit! I like science, as I am sure you do, but science (whether good or bad) cannot save me on the days of God's wrath... only Christ can! Seriously Mate. On that day, you will be standing before God wishing Darwin was right!

goldnsilver said...

Nathin, it seems that you have either read 'The Origin of Species', or are repeating counter arguments you have heard from other people. If it is the former, good on you. The latter, it would be a good idea to read it yourself. I'm an atheist and currently reading the bible, as I believe educating oneself about all matteres is extremely important.

A 150 theory is still a theory.

That is true. Evolution and natural selection cannot be tested in an experiment (apart from the effects of domestication of species - for instance cattle, dogs etc) due to the extended nature of its method. However this theory is accepted widely in the scientific community and is supported by biological study worldwide.

I wouldn't actually be a very good Australian if I believed what was written in the 'Origin of Species' since in the book Aboriginal people are named as another race, on a closer level to the apes. Hmmm...

Whether or not Darwin had some eugenics based ideas in the 'Origins of Species' does not discount the entirety of his study.

And 150 years later there are no transitional forms between species, which confirms Charles Darwin's fears on page 172 of Origin of Species:

"But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils

There have been many cases of transitional fossil discoveries since the time of Darwin. Please check out the above list for an introduction.

goldnsilver said...

Now, to reply to Sam:

I prefer scientific facts, not theories! In my argument I am dealing with facts, and that is, statistically, a monkey has almost zero chance of typing the word evolution in his lifetime!

The aim of this post was to show the reader the complexity of a seemingly simple problem, and then to present that in a way in which the brain can look at it and go "wow, 500 billion years to crack that problem... mate, that's a lot of monkeys!".


I think everyone prefers scientific facts - including atheists and scientists. It makes everything simple and clear cut. However, the nature of the study of biology cannot be tested by experiment alone, rather by ongoing research of extreme complexity. Leading back to my early point, this means that it will remain named a 'theory', however the overwhelming evidence and scientific consensus points to natural selection having a staying power beyond that.

ExPatMatt said...

Nathin,

Please provide a definition of 'scientific theory'

Thank you.

"But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?".

I assume then, you being able to quote Origin of Species and all, that you are aware of what Darwin wrote immediately following this sentence?

Or were you quote-mining?

Sam,

It doesn't matter how long it would take a money to type the word 'evolution' - the statistical improbability of this event has no bearing on the statistical likelihood of other events occurring; so what was the point?

Cheers,

PS. take comment moderation off - you can always ban abusive people and it makes conversation much, much easier.

goldnsilver said...

My reason for reacting against your monkey example is that it was manipulative and contained many falsehoods concerning the theory of natural selection and how it works in nature. This is commonly known as the 'straw man' logical fallacy.

The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of "reasoning" has the following pattern:

Person A has position X.
Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
Person B attacks position Y.
Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.


I do not mind discussing the theory of evolution candidly and openly with anyone, including those that don't agree with it. However, intellectual honesty is necessary on both parts.

I submit this question to you then... which is more complex: A monkey typing the word "evolution" or the evolution of all living plants and animals from a primordial soup to their present day forms?

The second option, undoubtedly. However, complexity has never staggered the theory of evolution - the theory thrives on the complexity of nature. Give the monkey the right evolutionary conditions and enough time and chances are it will type for you.

Even though I answered this question, you must realise that this question is again based on the straw man logical fallacy.

You must also realise the irony of using a statistical improbability argument against evolution when the statistics of God being possible are infinitely small – but either way, this method doesn’t prove anything, so why don’t we both drop it?

Fair crack of the whip! I reckon the galah who came up with this whole lamb brained theory had a few Roos loose in the top paddock! Um... How should a fellow Australian sound? I live in the deep South of Australia - maybe that's my problem?

My previous comment was based on this: attacking evolution and science in general as a means to prove the word of God is common fundamentalist Christian ploy, particularly amongst Americans. It disheartens me to see fellow Australians resorting to this.

In the end, saying the Subject A sucks, does not prove that Subject B is correct (just that you think A sucks). Saying that evolution could be false does not prove the biblical account of how animals and man were created. In a reverse of this logic, it is not honourable for an atheist to attack religion in order to prove the worth of science. The atheist should just speak of the pros of science (and the cons) without trying to bring religion in as a crutch.

I respect spirituality and I would prefer you talk to me about that, rather than attacking evolution in an intellectual dishonest fashion to prop up your claims of belief.

I am glad you are not against Christianity! We are not against you either, and the good news that we herald - how you, as a sinner, can be made right with a just and holy God - is for your own good, for your own benefit! I like science, as I am sure you do, but science (whether good or bad) cannot save me on the days of God's wrath... only Christ can! Seriously Mate. On that day, you will be standing before God wishing Darwin was right!

I think there is worth in the concept of sin - that humans are indeed imperfect and a capable of folly, but not necessarily in the specific types of sin the Bible sets out.

I'm sure that if I died and Jehovah suddenly appeared I would be frightened and I would wish Darwin was correct. I am not denying that.

But leaving an implied threat of hell and punishment is unfortunately not going to work on me. I don't believe in God.

It also reveals something of your emotional state, given that you feel the need to resort to this kind of veiled threat during a simple discussion.