Probability Analysis of a Genetic Mutation


article #318

by Bill Nugent


Imagine if a genetic mutation involving just 52 base pairs in the DNA was enough to make a significant change for the better in an organism. In this article, we’ll take a look at the very small probability of fifty two DNA base pairs being arranged by unguided, random processes into a beneficial mutation.


For quick review, remember that DNA is a string of millions of chemical base pairs, all arranged in precise order or “sequence.” DNA is like a huge encyclopedia of design information and the base pairs are like the letters in the words of the encyclopedia. A mutation is like a shuffling of the letters in a small part of the DNA “encyclopedia.” The human genome (DNA) contains about 3 billion base pairs arranged in 30,000 genes contained in 46 chromosomes.


Molecular biologist Harold Morowitz and many others have done the math on DNA and other molecules such as RNA and proteins to determine the probabilities of such molecules forming by random processes in nature. Their findings are astounding in showing the utter remoteness of the possibility of DNA, RNA and proteins forming by unintelligent natural processes.


I’ve pointed out that genetic mutations are caused by radiation, toxic chemicals or other factors that change DNA during the replication process. Radiation and toxins don’t bring new base pairs to the DNA during the replication process but shuffle the base pairs already contained in the DNA.


Now, let’s get back to our 52 point genetic mutation. A “point mutation”is a mutation involving only one base pair. A 52 point mutation shuffles fifty two base pairs. Fifty two is the number of cards in an ordinary deck of playing cards. It’s easy to get your head around that. If the base pairs aren’t properly sequenced, a mutation, even a small one can have devastating consequences for the proper functioning of the DNA and for the health of the organism. Our 52 point mutation better have the proper sequence to give a rare beneficial effect to the organism.


Now imagine you’re out for a walk and happen to find a deck of playing cards by the side of the path. You flip through the cards and notice that they’re all in numerical order by suit. In other words the diamonds are in order from 2 through 10 and Jack to Ace and the same is true for hearts, clubs and spades. You have in your hands a deck of cards arranged in straight flush in all four suits of diamonds, hearts, clubs and spades.


You say to yourself “What an amazing coincidence, someone shuffled a deck and the cards all came out in perfect flush order.” In fact you’re so amazed that when you get home you try to calculate the odds of getting a 52 card straight flush by shuffling a deck of cards over and over.


What’s the chance that the first card in a newly shuffled deck comes out to be the 2 of diamonds? That’s easy, it’s 1 in 52. If you shuffle the deck fifty two times the odds are that only one time you’ll get 2 of diamonds on top. And once you’ve gotten that card to come up first, what’s the chance of the second card being the 3 of diamonds? That too is easy, it’s 1 in 51. Now this is beginning to look like work. You have to shuffle 52 times to get the 2 of diamonds on top but then to get the beginnings of a flush you’ve got to get the 3 of diamonds to come up next on those shufflings that get a 2 of diamonds on top. The chance of getting just the first two cards in the right order would be 1 in 52 x 51 which would equal 1 in 2,652 shuffles. That’s a lot of shuffling!


You then realize that the number of possible combinations of 52 cards is expressed by what your math teacher called “factorial 52” which is 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x 48 x 47 x 46 . . . x 3 x 2 x 1. You get out your calculator and find that factorial 52 is equal to a sum greater than 8.07 x 10 to the 67th power! Think about how huge that number is. Scientists have estimated that the number of atoms in the Milky Way Galaxy is around 1 x 10 to the 65th power. The number of possible combinations of cards in an ordinary 52 card deck is over a hundred times greater than the number of atoms in the Milky Way Galaxy!


Now let’s see if we can get a 52 card straight flush by randomly shuffling decks of cards. If we were to put all seven billion people on earth to work shuffling decks of cards and they each shuffled the card decks at the rate of one million decks per second and we employed them for fifteen billion years you would have less than a tenth of one percent chance of coming up with a 52 card straight flush in any of those decks at the end of fifteen billion years!!!


You then come to the conclusion that the straight flush deck of cards you found was arranged, not by chance but by a human being or some other intelligent designer who deliberately arranged the cards in that order. Getting back to our 52 point genetic mutation, we see that a random mutation in nature will have a vanishingly small probability of getting the proper sequence of base pairs in just one 52 point mutation in 15 billion years!


What does this little card deck example have to do with evolution? We can use it to illustrate the probability of the occurrence of one small step in evolution.


Evolutionists claim that random mutations of the base pairs in the DNA of living organisms can cause advantageous changes in body structure. Evolutionists also claim that the accumulation of such changes has caused new species and even new orders and new phyla of living organisms to form. However, even evolutionists acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of mutations are harmful or neutral.


Let’s examine the odds of the probability of evolution changing an apelike creature into an intelligent modern human being. Let’s look at one step in the evolution process which would be to give the ape a larger and more intelligent brain. Let’s just consider the brain for now and not consider other features such as bone structure of the knee for walking upright, etc. Do you think rearranging 52 base pairs would turn an ape into an Einstein?


Human DNA has been mapped and chimpanzee DNA has also been mapped. This breakthrough in science has revealed over five million differences in the DNA of humans compared to the chimpanzee, our alleged “nearest animal relative.” Five million differences in the DNA is a huge unfathomable gap!


The human brain is the most complex thing in the known universe. An ape brain is also marvelously complex but is at a far lower level of intelligence. It’s absurd to claim that a mere 52 point mutation would be enough. What if  someone were to claim that rearranging 52,000 base pairs would change an ape brain into a human brain? Even 52,000 is an absurdly small number when we consider that Human DNA contains 3 billion base pairs, but I digress.


We saw in our card deck illustration the incredibly large number of possible sequences of just 52 cards. How can we even begin to calculate the number of possible sequences of 52,000 base pairs? Also consider that genetic mutations are rare and a mutation with even one base pair out of place can be harmful.


Any objective probability analysis would show that an unguided random shuffling of 52,000 base pairs needed to redesign an ape brain would have such a low probability of success that it would be consigned to the realm of unscientific speculation. Evolutionists usually attempt to rebut such a statement by saying that such a change in brain structure would not happen with one large mutation. They would claim that it would require many smaller mutations in a step by step incremental way involving a few base pairs in each step.


An evolutionist would probably say that a mutation that shuffled just 52 base pairs would be a small mutation. The evolutionist could say that a series of 1,000 mutations, each involving 52 base pairs would be sufficient to redesign an ape’s brain.


I would counter that even if each mutation rearranged only 52 base pairs in each of 1,000 small mutational steps to accumulate to a total of 52,000 precisely sequenced base pairs it would still be an absurdly low probability for random mutations to turn an ape into a human. Our card deck illustration above shows the outrageously huge number of possible sequences of just 52 base pairs. Imagine the odds of correctly and precisely rearranging 52 base pairs in each of 1,000 mutations!


This shows that a human or any other complex life form could not evolve by random processes in a trillion years!!! This is just one of the many glaring flaws in the theory of evolution. As an aside, I’ll point out that all of the alleged missing link “human ancestor” fossils that paleontologists have dug up over the years, including “Lucy” and skull 1470, have been shown to be either fully ape or fully human. No apeman transitional fossil has ever been found. Apes are apes and humans are humans. “And God said, let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26).


Evolution is the origins myth of atheistic materialism. It’s taught in our taxpayer funded schools. Evolution is taught as an “unguided, blind, unintelligent” therefore atheistic process. This promotes atheism and undermines the faith of school children. It’s high time that children are taught the glaring flaws of the theory of evolution.


Science is supposed to be objective and scientists are supposed to go where the facts take them. I’m grateful for the many scientists who have dissented from Darwinism and have joined the Intelligent Design movement.


Many people are taking a new look at Christianity. The ancient Hebrew prophets foretold the coming of Christ and wrote the prophecies in the Old Testament. In the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, the prophets foretold that Christ would suffer and die, taking the penalty of our sins upon Himself, thereby making atonement. Christ rose from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who turn to Him in repentance. Those who receive forgiveness enjoy an intimate one-on-one relationship with God. It’s a love relationship with God. Turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins!


Steps to salvation:

Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

  • 1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
  • 2) Believe that Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 Bible prophecies to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
  • 3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
  • 4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
  • 5) Follow Jesus Christ as Lord (John 14:21).

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

(C) 2016 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

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