# Olofsson: Probability, Chance, Evolution and Intelligent Design

http://www.talkreason.org/articles/chanceprob.cfm

An interesting blast from the past, written in 2008.

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The author echoes one of my own thoughts on the subject:

When the dust settles, Behe still canâ€™t point to a specific mutation and demonstrate that it was put there by intelligent design. Could Behe compare the chimp and human genomes and tell us which mutations were the product of known natural processes and which were put there by intelligent design? No.

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If one of n individuals experiences a mutation, the estimated mutation probability is 1/n . regardless of how small this number is, the mutation is easily attributed to chance because there are n individuals to try.

The probability approaches 1-1/e \approx 0.63 as n gets large.

That might be more clearly stated: If the probability of a the mutation is **1/**n, and there are n individuals in the population (or n opportunities for this mutation to occur), the probability of the mutation occurring at least once is about 0.63.

@T_aquaticus

bingoâ€¦ Bingoâ€¦ BINGO!

@swamidass

Ill send you money for a steak dinner (you + spouse) if you can get Beheâ€™s response to this â€śassertion by a 3rd partyâ€ť!!!

@T_aquaticus

If you can convince Joshua to accomplish this, you get a steak dinner too!

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Olofsson criticizes Dembskiâ€™s use of a rejection region as not being based on having an alternative hypothesis. The examples Dembski gave in No Free Lunch in 2002 all used a scale of fitness, or components of fitness, with the implicit purpose of showing that we couldnâ€™t get to those high levels of fitness with normal evolutionary processes. At least, not with any reasonable probability. I think that this was a reasonable strategy, but only if you have some mathematical proof that ordinary evolutionary processes such as natural selection could not get there. Dembski claimed to have a proof, which he sketched out, his Law of Conservation of Complex Specified Information. In my 2007 article in Reports of the National Center for Science Education I argued that the LCCSI could not be applied in the right way to enable it to do the job, because it required that the specification be changed each generation. (See also my 2012 post at The Skeptical Zone where I show a simple population genetics example that should be impossible if Dembskiâ€™s claim was correct).

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