"Taxi!" by David Rice
One of the many arguments Creationists make against evolution is the
idea that the advent of life on Earth is so improbable, it must have
been created. They often state that if one "assumes" the earth is 4.5
billion years old, that still does not provide enough time for life
to arise "by chance." They very often produce an actual figure on
just how improbable "life by chance" is, generated by some
Creationist authority: they often fail to answer HOW said figure was
Such an argument demonstrates one fundamental misunderstanding that
Creationists have about evolution. Evolutionary theory does not
concern itself with how life started--- it only describes how
contemporary life forms evolved from previous life forms, and that
they continue to do so. "Biogenesis" is not generally a topic covered
Still, when one points out this fact, Creationists see that answer as
avoiding the question. How does one answer the "Odds Against"
Always, the burden of proof rests squarely on the shoulders of the
individual making the claim. Usually the Creationist will hand you a
number, such as "Forty billion billion to one against," and then
expect you to prove her or him wrong. While some might consider such
behavior amusing, others invariably feel frustrated at the fact that
the claimants try to shift the burden of DIS-proof on you--- if you
spend time and effort and prove them wrong, most of the time you will
be ignored or hotly contested, while other times the Creationist just
comes up with yet another unsupported assertion, and the process
Ask a Creationists, who asserts the "Odds Against" theory, what the
odds are for the following: There are 20,000 taxi cabs in the city.
What is the odds of getting cab number 12,345? Is the odds any
different for getting cab 4,286? Or cab 11,111? Cab 666?
As evolution scientists know, the question isn't that simple. There
would be a great many additional variables one would have to know
before a reliable figure would represent the correct odds.
Some of the variables in the taxi cab question:
Are all the cabs working? How many are in the shop being
How many cabs already have fares, and are thus not available?
How many cabs are being refueled at the moment, and are thus
How many cabbies are on lunch break, dinner break, being
mugged, and are thus unavailable?
Which cabs service which areas? If you are downtown and want
cab 7, but cab 7 only works uptown, the odds of getting that
cab are zero. Conversely, if you are on 45Th. street and only
cab 8,542 works that street, the odds of getting cab 8,542 are
100% (providing you're willing to wait).
You can probably think of more reasons why the odds of getting one
particular cab out of 20,000 is different than 20,000:1.
Now, Creationists who make the "Odds Against" claim are telling us
that they know ALL POSSIBLE EVENTS so well that they can calculate
the odds of life arising by chance! I submit that they cannot even
calculate the much simpler odds of getting a particular taxi cab, let
alone how probable life is.