Evolutionary Theory and Probability Theory

(This was originally a footnote I had to remove from my book to meet the word limit, I added a little to it as a cross-reference)

A major non-partisan (i.e., non-religious) mathematics colloquium, Mathematical challenges, considered the randomness postulate (chance) with regards to evolutionary theory in an exchange between biologists and mathematicians.  The conclusion of the mathematicians was unanimously that given the parameters that the evolutionists offer, there was no credible or plausible path on a probability basis that such a theory could be correct.  The response of a reviewer (of interest as it was by alma mater), available at https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.160.3826.408.a is also informative in the response of the evolutionists – “we just need a better computer model” and “Most biologists are satisfied with a theory that can be tested and that proves predictive.  It is a different challenge to a theory that it should have an effective working model, for failure may imply either imperfection in the theory or imperfection in the model”.

In my view, this is an obfuscated way of saying “yep, there sure is a problem! But we can ignore it in the name of scientific consensus.” Again, it is a matter of dogmatic prejudice that we never hear of this work, and learners are thoroughly indoctrinated in the theory.  I have not been able to find a modern account or refutation of this problem that is written in a language designed to be understood by a non-mathematician.  Even with my fairly advanced appreciation of mathematics, there is a desperate paucity of clarity on this point of the probabilistic argument.  To underline this, some technical critics of Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (Fitelson & Sober, 1998), though wanting to reject Plantinga’s main argument, nevertheless acknowledged there were “questions that evolutionists needed to answer” relating to the probabilistic questions.  The approach of evolutionists seems to be to either ignore the problems or adopt the fallacious position that if you wait long enough, even an event with a probability of 1e-300 (that is the probability of a single cell emerging by chance alone), will eventually happen.

Further Reading

Fitelson, B., & Sober, E. (1998). Plantinga’s Probability Arguments Against Evolutionary Naturalism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 79(2), 115-129.

Moorhead, P. S., & Kaplan, M. M. (Eds.). (1967). Mathematical challenges to the neo-Darwinian interpretation of evolution. Alan R Liss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.