Probability that life arose by random chance.

By ruling out that the existence of a creator and thus intelligent design how do reason with the probability that life arose from random chance?
Atheist Answer: 

View this excellent video for the leading chemical theory of abiogenesis, or the origin of life:

If you prefer not to get into the details, simply consider that
1. it's a 4.5 billion year old planet with a surface area of about half a billion square kilometres, and
2. it's a fact of evolution that all living things have a single common ancestor. (The ubiquity of DNA is the most obvious evidence of this.)

This means that the process of abiogenesis, however it happened and however unlikely, only had to happen once, and there was a vast amount of time and space to do it in. However small the chances of the particular process occurring in any given time and place, it had a practically infinite number of opportunities.

A similar situation is a lottery. The chances of winning it might be one in 50 million, but imagine if 50 million people each buy a ticket. There's still a chance that nobody will win (with these numbers, 36.79%), but the number of EXPECTED winners is exactly one. So if someone in another city wins it, nobody is surprised.

Don't underestimate random chance if the chances are good. It's only by random chance that you weren't hit by a meteorite today, or any other day.

- SmartLX


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Chances are very good.


Thank you for your answer.

Thank you for your answer. It helps to explain some of the arguments. For myself though I still do not understand how you receive order from chaos. I watched the video, but all it did was explain the steps to constructing life. The video explaining life from simple steps in my mind is analogous to the steps to building a house.As in the video, I could explain all the necessary steps to build the house: lay the foundation, build the frame, fill the frame, etc, but it still doesn't explain how the house was built. Honestly, when was the last time you took all the supplies to build a house, put them onto an empty dirt lot, and came back several years later to find the makings of a house? I know you claim that our case was an exactly perfect one in which case their is one perfect chance for life to exist, but the probabilities that I've read from several scientific sources claim that for all the conditions to be perfect would result in an improbable probability for life to just randomly occur as would a house on an empty dirt lot. Here's a link to a page that better explains the subject than I can in a few sentences. I'd like to know your thoughts on the page. And if you're really interested here's a book I've read that I believe explains the subject matter even better. "Case For a Creator" Lee Strobel. Which is about an atheist reporter who does a scientific case study on the coming of life.

Thank you again for your patience and response.

Not a great analogy.

Firstly, you receive order from chaos through a local decrease in entropy. Total entropy in a closed system can only increase, but smaller pockets of order can emerge in one area with an influx of energy (hello, Mr Sun) if more chaos is created in other areas. I've explained this before here.

The house analogy is a lot like Hoyle's Boeing 747 argument, and I must say it's a great way to make abiogenesis sound even more unlikely, regardless of whether you mean to. It implies not only the absence of a creator, but that all the pieces are just sitting there, inert. That's not the case at all with the building blocks of life; they're thrown about by winds, currents, lava flows, landslides, tectonic shift and anything else on this planet which isn't alive and moves anyway.

As the video I linked shows, it's been demonstrated that the chemicals will bond together when they come into contact. This isn't so hard to accept as all chemical reactions occur spontaneously when the chemicals touch. All they need is a bit of friction, which this universe has in spades.

To fix the house analogy, imagine that there are bajillions of bits of wood and metal components being tossed around in a vast washing machine set to Agitate (or even Hoyle's tornado), and each connecting end has a specific type of velcro or glue on it. Everything will stick to some things and not to others. If you run the washing machine for long enough, with enough material in it, pieces will eventually collide and stick together to form larger structures. Then the larger structures may join, and so on. Some will hit others the wrong way and smash apart, but some won't. It's inevitable that some of these conglomerates will start to look like houses.

This amended analogy doesn't really allow evolution to then begin, but that's because the end product is a house, not a replicator.

To find the flaw in Hoyle's 1983 argument, you need to compare it to my link. Hoyle is mostly concerned with the formation of enzymes, but they're never actually necessary in the process potholer54 describes. Enzymes don't generally allow chemical processes to occur, they merely accelerate them. It's slower without them, but definitely possible.

Hoyle also assumes that all the proteins, enzymes, etc. have to come together at the same time. They might all be necessary for life in his opinion, but they don't all just fall apart if a few are missing. It's a cumulative process, not a purely coincidental one. This increases the chances a whole lot.

The way I think about this is that since abiogenesis almost definitely happened (we're the evidence), it can't have been prohibitively improbable and therefore any piece which says it was, while not necessarily wrong, needs examining. Thanks for providing Hoyle's argument, it was one of those pieces.