== Love God == Delight in Light ==

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When Time Was Still Very New

When time was still very new
And God hadn't yet turned on the sun
He somehow or other made light
He made it dazzling and bright
And He looked at the light in delight
'Cos His wonderful work was begun.

As He lovingly fashioned the sky
He raised up His voice to declare
That the water should part
And make way for the start
Of that great work of art
Of swirled up water and air

He gathered the water together
His voice formed it into the seas
And He gathered the land
All the rocks, mud and sand
And covered it all with a carpet so grand
Of beautiful flowers and trees.

He sprinkled the nighttime with stars
And lit up the silvery moon
And to light up the days
In glorious ways
He called out the rays
Of the sun shining brightly at noon

Then He filled up the oceans with fish
Strange creatures came forth from His words
And He filled up the skies
With abundant supplies
Of melodious cries
And the shimmering colours of birds.

On day six God created the beasts
That scamper and gallop and crawl.
Then at last He began
On His ultimate plan
By making a man
To cherish and love above all

I wish that I had been there
To see all these things get created
Yet when I see trees,
Hear birds on the breeze,
Taste honey from bees,
Watch foaming white seas,
See puppy chase leaves
I just feel so pleased
That His world with such ease
Even now makes me feel so elated.
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

I'm a Little Butterfly

I’m a little butterfly,
Flying up and down
I hold on tight to Daddy’s hand
As he swings me round and round.

He swings me up and down,
He swings me round and round;
Then when I’m finished butterflying,
Dad swings me to the ground.
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

A Lot of Positives

In the last few posts I have been a few of the things that seem to me to be problems with the concept of moving from some initial simple living thing to the highly complex livings we see around ourselves today by a process of random mutation and natural selection. In this post I want to talk about just one more - the length of time required (even if the process wasn't random).

Research into human and chimp DNA indicates that our DNA is about 95% to 98.5% the same as chimp DNA. That doesn't sound like much of a difference, until you realise that our DNA consists of about 3 billion bases (i.e. individual "letters" in the DNA coding). This means that even a small percentage amounts to a lot of differences. In fact, by the more conservative estimates I have come across, there are still around 40 million differences between our DNA and chimp DNA. For example here's a quote from an article from the Seattle PI:
Out of the 3 billion units of DNA, the human-chimp comparison revealed some 35 million simple changes, or mutations, in the single units of the overall sequence. They also found about 5 million additions to or subtractions from the genome involving chunks of DNA sequence.
In other words, if a chimp were to change into a human, its DNA would need to be changed 40 million times.

So how long would that take? Well, let's assume that we start off with a chimp and that the chimp has a baby that has one of those positive changes (mutations) and that baby chimp grows up and has a baby which has another positive mutation and so on until, eventually, the line has progressed to the stage where we have a human.

The length of time taken (based on the assumption that there is one positive change each generation without skipping any generations) is simply the average age of sexual maturity multiplied by the number of changes. Now chimps become mature at about age 9, and humans become mature (well, at least able to reproduce!) somewhere in their early to mid teens, so let's take age 10 as the average. That would mean that we need 40 million x 10 = 400 million years. Even if we started off with something half way between a chimp and a human (which evolved into a chimp on one hand and a human on the other), we wound need 200 million years (half of 400).

This is a bit of a problem because chimps and humans are, according to evolutionary theory, supposed to have separated only around 4 to 8 million years ago. And this assumes that there is a positive mutation each generation without negative changes getting in the way and spoiling things. Realistically, we would expect there to be a number of generations between each positive mutation to allow that mutation to spread through the population enough for it to exist in the same animal as the next positive mutation and for it to be identified as positive by natural selection. If we were to allow, say 5 generations for this in each case, the time taken would shoot up to 1 billion years (5 x 200 million). According to standard evolutionary timelines there were only very basic, single celled organisms around that long ago never mind anything as advanced as a chimp.

This means that, if the evolutionary explanation is correct, there are two possibilities:
  • There have to have been multiple positive mutations happening simultaneously (somewhere between 25 and 125 or more of them per generation depending on how many generations we need to distribute the mutations around). And of course these have to be in a line that is not being subject to an equal or larger number of negative mutations. Now getting just one positive mutation is rare enough. Getting those kinds of numbers of them happening regularly is just, in my opinion, totally implausible.
  • Alternatively there would need to be multiple parallel lines of evolution happening simultaneously that somehow or other suddenly combined at some point (or a various points) to form a human. This is slightly less implausible (to me), but still isn't very convincing because the outcome of this would be far more likely to be a whole range of species ranging from chimp to human rather than just the two ends of the spectrum. [As an aside this is what leads to the kind of thinking that gives people an excuse to believe that their race is more highly evolved that some other race - the kind of thinking that has caused huge racial problems in the past.]
So it seems to me that even if positive mutations happened very regularly from generation to generation, there still isn't enough time available for all the changes we would need to get from a chimp like animal to a human to happen in the time frames that even evolutionists believe are available.
Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Changing in Parallel

Carrying on from the last post, another problem with getting our simple, single celled living thing to gradually change into some complex animal is the inter-relationship between individual changes.

Let me give you a non-biological example of what I mean - the humble zip (or zipper or zip fastener or whatever it happens to be called in your part of the world!). For a zip to work, you have to have:
  • A series of teeth that are shaped in a way that allows them to interlock with each other,
  • A way of attaching the teeth to each piece of cloth that ensures that they are all nicely and evenly spaced with just the right gaps between them, and
  • A device that you slide up and down that is shaped in the correct way to lock or unlock the teeth.
If you don't have all of these at the same time then your zip just won't work, or will be frustratingly inefficient to use so would be rejected by natural (or consumer!) selection.

What's more, if you want to make improvements to an existing zip, you need to change all three of those factors in parallel. If you changed the shape of the teeth, but didn't change their spacing and the shape of the slider to match then it would just get stuck.

This means that making and improving something like a zip is really difficult to do by random processes because the changes have to coordinate with each other very closely. If a piece of molten metal happened to randomly cool into a rudimentary slider, for example, it would be (at best) totally useless unless you happened to already have some adequately shaped teeth that had randomly managed to become arranged in a nice regular pattern along the edges of the two sides of the cloth. However, those teeth would have been long since rejected because, without the slider, they would be very unlikely to be a more efficient solution than just using buttons (have you ever tried to do up a zip without the slider bit?).

This type of thing occurs all the time when you are designing or building things. You are forever designing two or more things to work together in various ways. Even if you are changing something that exists already (as we were discussing last time), you regularly have to change multiple parts of the system in a coordinated way rather than just making one isolated change.

The same applies in nature. Take your blood circulation system, for example. For this to be of any use to you, you need to have blood, a heart, and a series of tubes for the blood to flow through (among other things). Without any one of those, the other two are not likely to be that useful.

Or take sexual reproduction. There would be no point in developing some kind of "male" living thing unless a "female" developed at the same time. And if you did get them both to come into existence at the same time they would be at a reproductive disadvantage - they would have to find each other before they could reproduce, while all the other non-mutants around them could go on reproducing individually without any such hurdle. The advantages of sexual reproduction only become apparent after a number of generations by which time the whole idea would have been selected out. What's more, the reason sexual reproduction is advantageous is that it helps to minimise the spread of mutations. Exactly the opposite of what you want for evolution.

Now, maybe we could come up with theories of how these things kinds of things could come about by gradual, independent changes - for example a set of gradual, independent changes that would allow a button or lace system to slowly change into a zip (with each step being better and more efficient that the preceding one). And similarly for the circulatory and reproduction systems. Not to mention the myriad of other mutually dependent systems that exist in nature.

So I won't say that it is impossible for these things to happen (impossible is way too contentious a word!). But it sure makes it a lot more difficult and less likely. There is a very narrow path that all these changes have to follow. Just think of all those wasted mutations that would have been just the ticket, but were selected out because some other dependent change hadn't come along yet!
Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Starting from Scratch

In my last post I made a start at looking at the problem of taking a simple living thing (that had somehow come into existence) and changing it into something significantly more sophisticated using random processes. Most of the time you just get the biological equivalent of gobbledygook.

But there's another problem with this process - it's this: trying to make something really good by making small, incremental changes to something that already exists is not a particularly good way of achieving your goal (even if those small changes are carefully considered by people who know what they are doing).

And I speak from personal experience here. Let me give you a (very) brief resume of my career to date: I stated out by studying at university for four years for a degree in civil engineering and then went on to work for a major international engineering consultancy. This role involved carrying out analysis and design of a wide range of major structures for clients based around the world. I also became a fully chartered civil engineer during that time. Subsequently, I had a bit of a career change and moved into the IT field where I have held a number of positions related to the design and implementation of IT systems (mainly for the international airline that I currently work for).

Now my intention here is not to try to get you to offer me a job, but to show you that I have had a lot of involvement in designing and building things over the years.

On some occasions the situation has been such that it was possible to design the "thing" from scratch. I.e. the thing didn't exist, someone wanted it, so we designed and built it.

On other occasions we were a little less fortunate. On those occasions the "thing" already existed but the needs of the owner of that thing had moved on, so the thing had to be changed to meet those new requirements. Some examples included having to increase the height of a large dam in Sudan, having to adapt part of a high-profile train terminal in London to reduce the likelihood of death or injury in the event of a train crash, and, in IT, I was involved in one way or another in having to make ongoing improvements to several business critical IT systems.

In all these cases (where we have had to "improve" something) there is no doubt that the end result would have been better if we had been able to start from scratch. When you are improving something that already exists, with the best will in the world, you always have to make compromises.

I suspect that you have also see this at least with IT systems. One day a shiny new system is installed and everyone is amazed at how great it is (well hopefully!). However, over time, needs change, and so changes are made to the system. Someone wants the system to do something a little differently, so they write their requirements and IT writes and installs a patch. And then it happens again. And again. And again and again and again. And before long that system isn't quite so shiny and new any more. In fact, it's the department's pet hate. It's ropey and keeps crashing. It does weird stuff with their data when they least expect it. The longer the process goes on the worse things get. So finally the decision is taken that enough is enough. A new system is brought in... and the process starts all over again.

That's just what my experience tells me: making lots of small changes to a system over an extended period of time just isn't the way you get really good systems. Even when the people making those changes are highly skilled and know what they are doing. You are far better off learning the lessons from the old system, taking advantage of new technologies that have become available, and starting again from scratch.

Now, if this principle is true in civil engineering and in software engineering, I see no reason to suspect that it is not true when it comes to designing animals. And when I look at the design of animals I don't see systems that look like they have been continually "patched" (with random patches) and so are very flaky, don't really hang together very well and should really be scrapped so we can start over. Rather I see systems that are amazingly well designed and make my own attempts at designing and building things look rather pathetic. More like the kind of thing I would expect to see if they had been designed from scratch by a highly skilled engineer.
Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.

Random Writing

In the last two posts (on this topic) I have talked about the information and the conditions that would be needed for the first living thing to come into existence.

For this post, let's assume that we (somehow or other) already have the first living thing - so now what we are interested in is getting that thing to change over time into something more sophisticated.

What I'm not planning to do this time is go into the whole mathematical calculation of the probabilities again. For two reasons:
  • I did that already in the Hello World post - all I would be able to show is that as the quantity of information grows so the improbability grows exponentially to figures that no-one can actually conceive of.
  • Because of the fact that the thing is now "live" and so has some kind of interest in survival, the maths becomes a lot more complex and involves factors that are not really very easily quantifiable, so the overall point would be rather obscured by questions about how exactly the calculations should be done.
Instead, what I thought we could do is try a little experiment of our own: to improve a piece of text by applying random changes to it. Here's the approach:
  1. Find some text that is Ok but could do with being improved. I chose one of my poems, but feel free to pick any text - not too long (or the experiment gets a bit cumbersome), but also not too short. The one I chose was about 1000 characters long (including spaces).
  2. Count the number of characters (or let your word processor count them for you!) and get some way of generating a random number in that range (you could use a spreadsheet or you could cut out lots of bits of paper with all the numbers on them). We will use this random number to work out the start location for our random change.
  3. Get a dice to use to work out the length of the random change (we'll assume that our random changes can be anything up to 6 characters long)
  4. Cut out bits of paper with the letters of the alphabet on them (we'll stick to just capitals for now) and one to represent a space.
  5. Generate your first random change: get a random number to show you where to make the change within the text, use the dice (or whatever) to work out how long the change should be, and pick random characters out of a hat to see what you should change the letters to (don't forget to put the letters back in after each draw so that you allow for words with the same letter in more than once). Then go ahead and change the original text and decide whether the result is better or worse than the original.
  6. Repeat until either you are satisfied that you have generated a masterfully crafted piece of prose (or poetry) - or until you die, whichever comes first. (I gave up after 200 attempts because there are other things that I would like to do with my life!)
Basically, this is the process involved in producing literature by evolutionary processes. Except that each person only gets to make one change - when they are born. So if we want to make our experiment a little more accurate what we should really do is make just one change ourselves, then get our children to each make one, and then get the grand-kids to make one each and so on. Once we get to the point (sometime down the generations), where we think we have made a small improvement, then we can pick that version and start improving it.

And so on until we have achieved our goal of producing that wonderfully crafted piece of literature.

Unfortunately, by then, no-one will have the faintest idea what English is (or was), so no-one will be able to appreciate the fruit of all this effort, so we will have to start all over again. (Bother!)

My conclusion is that this is not a particularly viable approach to writing. I suppose that it is not impossible that we may eventually hit upon some word that we wouldn't otherwise have through of that adds something to our text, but writing something in its entirety or making significant and far-reaching improvements? I'm not convinced.

For the same reason I have to admit to being less than convinced when I watch nature films that talk about the incredible and intricate design that is evident in the animals and plants around us but then want me to believe that it all came about by a similar random process.
Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I've got my Daddy's measuring tape
It's a funny sort of thing
You sort of reel it out
And you sort of reel it in.

I've got my Daddy's measuring tape
And I'm walking round about
And I'm doing lots of measuring
'Cos I've got to work it out.

I've got my Daddy's measuring tape
I'm measuring a reed.
It comes to..., um..., three-eleven
Which is very big indeed!
(For a reed)

I've got my Daddy's measuring tape
I'll check the table now
And I'm doing lots of measuring
'Cos I've got to find out how.

I've got my Daddy's measuring tape
And what I want to see
Is what sort of, kind of, biggish thing
A heart like God's must be.

I think it must be bigger
Than I can bounce my rubber ball
Though I'm not sure I can measure that:
I can't quite reach that tall.

I've got my Daddy's measuring tape
And I've pulled it till it stuck
But I still don't think it's long enough
It's - no, it's just not long enough
I'll have to find a longer one
Or I guess I'm out of luck.
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Special Conditions

I was talking in the last post on this topic about the improbability of the "information" required for life coming about by chance. However, there is something that needs to come first - that is the conditions need to be in place under which the appropriate chemical processes can take place in order to for that information to be encoded in some way and for some kind of living "thing" to be formed.

In other words we need the following:
  • A mix of chemicals that supports the formation of molecules that could potentially combine to form a living thing (including encoding that "information").
  • The right conditions for the chemicals to form themselves into those molecules and for those molecules to combine together into the living thing.
  • Laws of physics and chemistry that support the very possibility of the formation of those molecules in the first place as well as their combination into that living something.

Let's look at these in a bit more detail...

Firstly, there's that mix of chemicals. A number of experiments have been done over the years to determine what the mix of chemicals and environmental conditions would need to be in order for the basic ingredients of life to be spontaneously synthesised. The most famous of these is known as the "Miller-Urey experiment" which was seen by some as "scientists creating life in the lab".

In reality, what they actually achieved was to generate monomers (amino acids). However, what was less well known and reported was the fact that they also generated a number of chemicals that would have prevented those monomers from combining to form polymers (which is what would really be needed to build some kind of cell or something like that). They also generated some other chemicals that would be likely to react with the very amino acids that had just been formed (thereby destroying them).

That was not the only such experiment, of course. There have also been other similar experiments using different mixes of chemicals and conditions. However, they have not been (as far as I can gather) particularly convincing either in terms of the molecules actually formed (in comparison to the actual molecules we find in living things) or in terms of the likelihood of that kind of environment actually being able to exist for any length of time on a planet like Earth.

That's not to say that there isn't some combination of chemicals and conditions that would work - maybe one of those is correct and we just haven't got the details thrashed out, or maybe we just haven't thought up the right mix yet. However, what is certainly true is that we would need very specialised and specific chemicals and conditions.

Which brings me to my next point: in order to have the right conditions, we would need a very specific planet on which to synthesize our living thing. For example, if the Earth were closer to the sun it would be too hot to have liquid water (a pre-condition for life as we know it). Similarly, if it were further away it would be too cold (water would freeze). Both of which would be a bit of a show-stopper for carbon-based life.

So, not only to we need to have the right mix of chemicals, but we need them to be on the right planet. Right chemicals but wrong planet? No life (bad luck). Right planet but wrong chemicals? No life. You need to have the right mix of chemicals with the right conditions on the right planet.

Finally there are the laws of physics. This one is, perhaps, a little less obvious at first, but the fact is that the laws and constants that govern how the universe works need to be "fine tuned" in relation to one another in order for it to be possible for chemicals to exist and combine in a way that makes life possible. For example, if gravity were a little stronger (and everything else stayed the same), anything that was complex enough to be life would be too heavy to move. We, for example would not be able to stand up, and (depending on how different) would be crushed by our own weight.

And gravity is only one of those things. There are all sorts of laws and constants that need to be in balance with each other or it becomes impossible for any kind of life to exist. Things like the size of atoms, the speed of light, the value of Pi, the charge held by electrons, the fact that when you apply a force to something it accelerates at a certain rate, etc. etc. If these things weren't all nicely in balance with each other then it would just not be possible for any conceivable kind of life to come into existence. In fact, a New Scientist article (24 May 1997, pg 39) suggested that the probability of all the laws and constants being balanced, by random chance, in a way that supports the existence of any kind of life is about 1 in 10229 (another one of those not-so-likely events like we had in the "Hello World" post).

So, in summary, quite apart from the probabilities involved in forming the information needed for life, there is the problem of the fact that we would need to have these very specialised and specific conditions. It's not something that could happen any old day on just any old planet in just any old universe. There are an awful lot of things that have to all be just right.
Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

If God Looked Through My Window

If God looked through my window
And watched me while I played,
Would He see me grumping
'Cos Johnny stole my spade?

If He saw me have a tantrum
Would He send me to the stairs?
If I fell and grazed my knee
Would He wipe away my tears?

If He saw me laughing
As I tickled puppy's tum,
Would He come on over
And join in all the fun?

Then, when the day was over
And I'd snuggled in my bed,
Would He reach His hand across
And gently stroke my head?

I don't know all about Him
But I really think He would -
I think He'd do these kinds of things
To help me to be good.

'Cos when I look at Mum and Dad
And see the things they do,
It helps me - just a little bit -
To see what God's like too.
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Is Love a Banana?

I've thought about it and I've thought about it
But I just can't work it out.
I've pondered and I've pondered
But it doesn't seem to help.

I do like apples, and I gobble down grapes
I like my cereal sprinkled with dates
I love bananas and pears are quite nice
Especially when they're cooked up with lots of nice spice

But still I'm confused 'cos I really don't know
Is love a banana because of its bow?
A banana, you see is smiley and curvy
But I don't think it's love 'cos it's too squashy squirvy.

It could, I suppose, be something like joy
The curvy banana I mean.
But then, if it is, what fruit is for love
And is it still joy if it's green?

I haven't even started on patience and goodness
And I'm not sure if strawberries count
If they do, they're not patience - I'm sure about that
They just last two days, then they're out!

Blueberries are, I'm told by my mother,
Good for myself and good for my brother.
So are blueberries goodness? Is that how it works?
This is just so confusing - it gives me head hurts.

It is in the Bible, so it has to be true
That some of these things that I'm just told to do
Are fruits of the Spirit (or something like that)
But which fruit is which and what fruit is what?

I'll have to keep thinking and working this out
I think it will take quite some time;
But then, when I've sussed it I'll say with a shout
"I know - self control is a lime!"

I'm not saying it is - it could be a plum
Or something nice like a peach
Though, maybe a peach is for something like kindness
If it is, we could all have one each!

Still, till then I'll keep trying, as I eat my fruit salad
To do all those Spirit fruit things.
'Cos I think, if you do them, and eat lots of fruit
You'll get all the good that God brings.

So I'll try to be loving and I'll try to be kind
And I'll try to be faithful and good
And I'll try to be gentle and I'll try to have patience
And to do all the things that I should.

And whatever those fruits are, I'll just trust in God -
I'll look up to Jesus and give Him a nod,
'Cos whatever they are, and wherever they grow,
Though I'm quite confused, I'm sure He's in the know.
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Deity of Christ

A short poem this time:

Sometimes I wonder
Just how can it be
That Jesus is God
Yet human like me!
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hello World

"How did life begin?"

At some point in the dim and distant past there was no life. Then something happened, and after that something, there was life.

The question is: What was that "something"? And what could have caused it? And, most critically, how likely (or unlikely) was it to have happened?

I'll sort of touch on the first two of those questions in a later post. For this one I want to constrain myself to talking about the last one.

There are various definitions of "life" (typically they talk about the ability to respire, reproduce, etc.). However, to me, when thinking about how life may have originated, a key consideration is information. For life to exist for an extended period (i.e. in order to be able to reproduce, eat, etc.) there needs to be information that is passed from one generation of that life to another (so that the life continues to the next generation).

In all life that we know of, that information is passed by genes (DNA and / or RNA). Genes are, in effect, a way of writing down information using an "alphabet" of 4 "letters". The "letters" are specific types of molecules - these are arranged in specific arrangements in the gene in order to code the information - just like letters are arranged in a certain order to encode information in writing (like this text you are reading right now).

Another place where information is often encoded is in computers. In this area, there are just two "letters" (0 and 1) which are arranged in specific orders to encode information.

Now, a couple of years ago, my brother-in-law and I were talking about how possible it would be to randomly generate a copy of Microsoft Word (I think we were using version 2000 at the time - licensed copies, I hasten to add!). The theory was that if you could randomly generate the relevant files, presumably you would be able to use it for free.

This hypothetical idea caught my interest, and I decided to have a go at working out the probabilities. However, rather than starting off trying to generate the whole of Word, I thought that (in the tradition of people learning to write programs) I would start with trying to generate the following simple Java program:

public class h
public static void main(String[] a)

To do that I made that assumption that I had another program that was capable of generating random 0s and 1s into a file of the correct length at a rate of 1000 attempts (i.e. complete files) per second. How long would it then take to generate that program?

I was surprised at the result.

I'm not sure what your estimate would be, but before I started, I had assumed that the answer would be in the order of 10s of years - i.e. if I set it off now, then I would get a result sometime in the next, say 20 to 50 years.

How wrong I was.

According to my calculations, I found that - get this - even if every atom in the known universe was itself a universe, and each atom in each of those universes was a computer generating 1000 files per second, it would still take about 5 billion billion years before I would be likely to generate a program similar to my simple "hello" program (never mind exactly the same as it).

That's quite a while. In fact, it's about a billion times as long as the earth is supposed to have been in existence (claimed to be around 4.6 billion years).

It also requires quite a few more computers than I have at my disposal at the moment.

So the long and short of it is we can forget about generating that program. And we can certainly forget about generating Microsoft Word which is vastly more complex than that.

This all lead me to think about the amount of information that would be required for the very simplest living thing. The answer was, at best, several times more than the amount of information in that program code (again resulting in vastly lower probabilities).

Something that improbable would, of course, normally not even be considered as an option. And I mean not even considered. Like - you would send me to the loony bin if I suggested it.

So, I ask myself, is it reasonable to consider it as a possibility for the origin of life?

Or, to put it another way: is it unreasonable to at least consider the possibility of an alternative explanation?

Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.