Stephen C. Meyer, Ph.D.
Philosophy of Science
Whitworth College (1981)
Bachelor of Science – Physics & Earth Science, minor in Philosophy
Atlantic Richfield Company (1981-1985)
M.Phil. – History & Philosophy of Science (1987)
Ph.D. – History & Philosophy of Science (1991)
Whitworth College (1990-2002)
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Palm Beach Atlantic University (2002-2005)
Professor, Conceptual Foundations of Science
Founder of the Center for Science and Culture
Director and Senior Fellow (1996-present)
Existence from Lifeless Matter?
Functional proteins are exceedingly rare among all the possible combinations of amino acids… The odds of getting even one functional protein of modest length (150 amino acids) by chance from a prebiotic soup is no better than 1 chance in 10164.
It is almost impossible to convey what this number represents, but let me try… Consider that there are only 1080 protons, neutrons, and electrons in the observable universe. Thus, if the odds of finding a functional proton by chance on the first attempt had been 1080, we could have said that’s like finding a marked particle—proton, neutron, or electron…—among all the particles in the universe… Unfortunately, the problem is much worse than that.
With the odds standing at 1 chance in 10164 of finding a functional protein among the possible 150-amino-acid compounds, the probability is 84 orders of magnitude (or powers of ten) smaller than the probability of finding the marked particle in the whole universe. Another way to say that is the probability finding a functional protein by chance alone is a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion times smaller than the offs of finding a single specified particle among all the particles in the universe…
More typical proteins have hundreds of amino acids, and in many cases their function requires close association with other protein chains. For example, the typical RNA polymerase—the large molecular machine the cell uses to copy genetic information during transcription—has over 3,000 functionally specified amino acids. The probability of producing such a protein and many other necessary proteins by chance would be far smaller than the odds of producing a 150 amino-acid protein…
A minimally complex cell would require many more proteins than just one. …In 1983 distinguished British cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the odds of producing the process necessary to service a simple one-celled organism by chance at 1 in 1040,000… The probability of producing the proteins necessary to build a minimally complex cell—or the genetic information necessary to produce those proteins—by chance is unimaginably small.
*These excerpts are taken from Stephen C. Meyer’s, Signature in the Cell (New York: Harper Collins, 2009) 211-213.
Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design
Author: Stephen C. Meyer
Paperback: 624 pages
Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (June 22, 2010)
List Price: $19.99