Marsh Blooms

Math Time! The Scientific Lottery or Powers of Ten

Dice I

Dice I (Photo credit: aranarth)

Yesterday I was reading a great post on Dr. Jay Wile’s blog talking about a most interesting “proof” for Evolution. His ideas are great for high schoolers and up (your brain gets a great cardio workout on his blog!), but one idea was so important I decided to jumpstart my post with it:

Well, according to the evolutionist, the probability is absurdly low: about 1 in 1×1039. But wait a minute. The chance that one of the simplest proteins of life, ribonuclease, formed by random chemical reactions is 1 in 10152. The formation of chemicals like ribonuclease must have been incredibly common at some point in earth’s history in order for life to appear as a result of chance.

Do you know what those little numbers next to the 10s are? They show powers of ten. Here’s how it works:

When someone needs to talk about a really big number, it gets hard to write after reaching 12 zeros (1 trillion). For example, what if we wanted to write the number of human cells in the world right now. There are 7+ billion people with roughly 40 billion cells each. Add those two numbers together and you get an answer like this:


What would you even call this number?! There is a name for something with this many zeros, but everyday people don’t usually know it. Scientists have to work with numbers this size all the time. So, what do they do?

They use powers of ten.

Turns out, those tiny numbers to the right tell you how many zeros to put in if the whole number was written out. So, our human cell count would look like this:


(twenty-eight times ten to the eighteenth)

Is that easier to read? Here’s where things get really mixed up. It’s hard for most brains to remember just how big a number like this really is. Let’s look at the size of Dr. Wile’s quoted number, 1×1039. Here’s what it would look like in plain digits:


Whew, it was a lot of work just making sure I put in the right number of zeros!

Dice five

Dice five (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

The next thing to know about powers of ten is how to multiply them. Say you’re an American boy and want to know what the odds are for you to be struck by lightning the same day you find out you’ve been drafted to be quarterback by a major league football team.

The odds of you being struck by lightning in a year are roughly 1 in 280,000, so the odds on the day of the draft are 365 times smaller = 1 in 1.022×108. The odds of being drafted to the NFL in your lifetime is 1 in 100,000, so, let’s say the odds of it happening on our “special” day are 1 in 8.03×109 (assuming you could be drafted from ages 18 and 40). So, what’s the odds of both things happening on the same day?

1 in 820,666,000,000,000,000

Or, 8.2066×1017

Think you need to worry? You can also see the power of ten number didn’t get way bigger like multiplying usually does. In fact, it works exactly like adding. So if you have 1×106 times 1×1022 your answer is 1×1028, which doesn’t look that much bigger.

Now you have an idea why Evolutionists are pretty sure something that has odds of happening 1 in 1039 times isn’t likely to happen.

What they don’t want you to know is the odds of what they believe did happen are.

The chances of a cell just showing up out of nonliving material without a creator is:

worse than 1×1057800

Do you need to know more?

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Genesis 18:14 

PS, we figure there are only about 7.5 x 1018 grains of sand on earth.