10262

In a lesson plan for Christian middle schoolers, Christian graduate students in Education have a specific purpose:

Purpose: By the end of this lesson, students will have a better understanding of Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” There are basically two religions competing for the minds, hearts, and loyalties of intelligent man. One of the religions is Christianity; the other religion is evolution. Students will be equipped to defend their Christian belief in a Creator who created… out of nothing.

You know this is going to be good.

Not surprisingly, there are mistakes everywhere. But the best error comes when the grad students attempt to show the problems that the evolutionists have not solved.

Like the problem of the creation of human life.

They write:

[S]cientists have computed that to provide a single protein molecule by chance combination would take 10262 years. Take thins pieces of paper and write “1” and then zeros after them – you would fill up the entire known universe with paper before you could write that number.

Tiny Frog jumps all over that:

Wow. An amazing new fact I could only learn from a creationist! 10^262 cannot even be written! But, thanks to the *real-ultimate power* of the internets, we can actually see what this number looks like! (Warning, don’t print this webpage on your printer – it will use all the paper in the universe and still won’t be done printing!)

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000

I think my servers just crashed.

This is reminiscent of the also-embarrassing Christian Science Fairs.


[tags]atheist, atheism, Christian, math, mistakes, fundamentalist, Creationism, Darwin, Evolution[/tags]

  • http://www.WeirdBiz.com Insane Weirdo

    This is truly hilarious. Well I suppose to Christians the entire known universe is the Bible… But even then…

  • J.S.Brown

    Perhaps Christian graduate students write their zeros really really big. Or maybe they heard that from someone else and took it on faith, which is strong and unshakable. Whatever the case, I’m sure there is an excuse. There always is.

  • Richard Wade

    Darn, Insane and J.S. beat me to it: If they think that a one, followed by 262 zeros on a piece of paper will fill up the entire universe, either they think they live in a teeny weeny universe or they write numbers really really big. I think the first is more likely.

    What “scientists” are they talking about? The same nameless, generic ones they pull out of a hat to add credibility to all sorts of absurd claims?

    I feel sorry for those middle schoolers. They are not going to be able to compete in the workaday world with nonsense like this in their heads.

  • Kaleena

    That made me smile. Thanks Hemant!

    p.s. I finally got a hold of your book thanks to the library and I’m in the middle of reading it!!

  • MrG8000

    I feel sorry for those middle schoolers. They are not going to be able to compete in the workaday world with nonsense like this in their heads.

    I say keep it up. It’ll make it all the easier for my kids to get ahead in the world if their primary competition is these mental misfits.

  • http://noamsml.no-ip.org/ Noam Samuel

    Still, if that were true then it would be rather unlikely for life to appear on our planet, which is only 4.5 billion (109) years old.

    However, I have long since learned to take creationists’ numbers with an irreducibly complex grain of salt, as most of them (the numbers) could not have evolved naturally, and were therefore (un)intelligently designed.

  • Kate

    Hahahaha Noam, nicely said.

    Uh Hemant…your site keeps hitting a “site overload” message, I’m a little weirded out by that.

    TOO MANY ZEROS!!!!

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com The Exterminator

    Hemant:

    Are you posting those really big numbers again? Get your ass over here and clean all these damn zeroes out of my neighborhood. They’re breeding like crazy. I can’t even open my front door because nothing is in the way. Help.

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » Posted. Reddited. Crashed.

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » Posted. Reddited. Crashed.

  • Peter

    I think the grad students may have been logically correct. Why? Try following the instruction below:

    Take thins pieces of paper and write “1” and then zeros after them.

    The gramatical mangling here makes it quite impossible to take this literally. Therefore, the lesser impossibility of filling up the entire known universe with paper (at least you can get started on that one!) will indeed occur first.

  • rafi

    What?

    I think you guys are the ones who don’t know anything about math. what the grad student is saying is true.. 10^262 does not mean the same thing as 1 with 262 zeros after it…

    it means 10*10*10*10……262 times…which in fact is a much larger number than the one you posted. i’m not sure it would fill up the entire known universe but its certainly not a number you can punch out on your computer.

    Think before you type.

  • http://hanlonsrazor.wordpress.com/ Hanlon

    “[S]cientists have computed that to provide a single protein molecule by chance combination would take 10^262 years.”

    I stopped right there. The hell does that even mean? That if all of the atoms that comprise a protein molecule were put in a jar and shaken it would take that long? That’s like looking at icicles and trying to calculate the odds of those forming by a chance, assuming that they were made by spraying a hose at the side of a building.

  • Kaleena

    I finished the book tonight! Thanks for the great read!!

  • Ugly American

    So the other day this christian cult member said to me:

    Evolution can’t be real! You just don’t understand how complex life is!

    To which I replied:

    Oh, it’s real. You just don’t understand how long 5 billion years is.

  • AcePincter

    How come nobody notices that the children are fed 4 “quotes” about evolution in order to justify calling it a religion, but no actual data about evolution itself? Critical thinking is reserved for high school, I guess? If all you had to go on was 4 of these “comments” on a website, would you be able to extrapolate what it is the website was about?

    This angers me more than the bad math, it’s the outright non-information that these kids are forced to consider as if it had value. As if everything any random person says should be treated as expert testimony.

  • http://www.eupodiatamatando.com Silveira Neto

    I lol’d!
    \o/

  • Humma Kavula

    LOL, obviously 10^262 can be written… christians are so stupid. Thank god for atheists like us, our truth will set the world free!

    The evidence for a big bang and evolution are overwhelming, I really don’t understand why people are still fighting it. Maybe it would help if we’d redefine the scientific method to comply more with scientific practice? Retard christians are abusing this definition to reduce the big bang and evolution to mere interpretations of the current state of things. What I mean is that it’s impossible to witness, measure, repeat, predict, verify or falsify either big bang or evolution directly. These events have happened way in the past and on a huge timescale, but there’s just too much evidence to ignore it! The universe is very predictable and the half life of radioactive materials is pretty much a constant (well, except at elevated temperatures or closer proximity of unstable atoms i.e. increased pressure). Scientists have a pretty clear picture of earth’s conditions up to billions of years ago, and obviously earth nor the universe have changed much! Fcuk faith, I believe in science :-)

  • Joost

    Maybe they write in base 1?

    |||..(10^262-6 more)..|||

    Oh, they have accepted the 0 already.

  • Obbop

    My invisible unprovable god can smite and smote your invisible unprovable god even with one arm tied behind his back.

  • Polly

    WOW! I can’t believe a grad student would say something so dumb. Unless he got his degree from one of those fine, unaccredited universities that are so popular with creationist scientists, like Hovind. Then, it all makes perfect sense.

    But you know, unless you’re working in a Life Science field, it really makes no difference whether you believe in evolution. In fact, I note that hardly any Americans know the first thing about any science and yet seem to be able to get along quite well. I know successful people who did not believe me when I said that a light and heavy object would hit the ground at the same time if dropped from the same height simultaneously.

  • Richard Wade

    I know successful people who did not believe me when I said that a light and heavy object would hit the ground at the same time if dropped from the same height simultaneously.

    And I know some people who still wouldn’t believe it even if you demonstrated it for them from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, if they had been taught by an authority figure to believe that heavy things fall faster than light things. This is a very old conflict between two ways of thinking: Knowlege comes from authority vs. knowlege comes from observation.

  • Humma Kavula

    [...] I know successful people who did not believe me when I said that a light and heavy object would hit the ground at the same time if dropped from the same height simultaneously.

    @Polly: and they’re probably right too because I didn’t hear any mention of a vacuum! I bet most people, even successful one, are talking about real life…

    I assume light/heavy are analog for small/great density. Say you want to compare two objects with different densities. Both objects will have a similar shape so we can ignore drag (i.e. resistance of a medium to movement). Any medium causes upward pressure on both objects i.e. influencing the rate of descent in free fall. Here’s an experiment you can try. Get two identical balloons and fill them up to a similar volume, but use substances of different density for each (e.g. water and air). Which one has hit the ground first?

    [...], it really makes no difference whether you believe in evolution. In fact, I note that hardly any Americans know the first thing about any science and yet seem to be able to get along quite well. [...]

    Actually, evolution doesn’t matter at all, at least not in any science. In my view it’s merely a curiosity paleontologists and biologists can use to try and explain life on earth as it is today.

    What motivates us (humans) to waste so much of our time and resources investigating and debating something as trivial as evolution/creation? No discovery or debate can change the reality of now. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, but where you’re going and how you’re going to get there…

  • Humma Kavula

    And I know some people who still wouldn’t believe it even if you demonstrated it for them from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, if they had been taught by an authority figure to believe that heavy things fall faster than light things. This is a very old conflict between two ways of thinking: Knowlege comes from authority vs. knowlege comes from observation.

    @Richard Wade: funny you mention observation. What you see depends on your point of view, and what you think you see depends on what you think you know. Scientists have great authority, but what is knowledge and who has it? If history tells us anything it is the fallibility of observation.

  • http://thatatheistguysblog.blogspot.com NYCatheist

    They probably got it mixed up with this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googolplex

    “One googol is greater than the number of elementary particles in the known universe, which has been variously estimated from 1079 up to 1081. Since a googolplex is one followed by a googol zeroes, it would not be possible to write down or store a googolplex in decimal notation, even if all the matter in the known universe were converted into paper and ink or disk drives.”

  • http://www.spudart.org spudart

    They probably meant to say if you wrote out, say, the letter x 10^262 times. I don’t know if that would take up the entire known universe with paper. But it would certainly take lots of paper to write “x” 10^262 times.

  • Polly

    rafi said,

    What?

    I think you guys are the ones who don’t know anything about math. what the grad student is saying is true.. 10^262 does not mean the same thing as 1 with 262 zeros after it…

    it means 10*10*10*10……262 times…which in fact is a much larger number than the one you posted. i’m not sure it would fill up the entire known universe but its certainly not a number you can punch out on your computer.

    Think before you type.

    Here’s a quick lesson in exponents (feel free to use your calculator):

    10^3 = 10*10*10 = 1,000 count the zeroes: 3
    10^6 = 10*10*10*10*10*10=1,000,000 count the zeroes: 6

    10^262 = 10*10 262 times = 1 with 262 zeros behind it.

    How hard do you think it is to type out 262 0s? There are more characters than that in many of these posts.

  • Richard Wade

    If history tells us anything it is the fallibility of observation.

    History aslo tells us of the fallacy of assuming and believing without looking. Consider the story of Chicken Little. None of the barnyard animals took the time to simply look up at the sky to see if it was indeed falling. They all ran inside Foxy Loxy’s cave and he had his way with them.

    Do you look both ways when you cross a busy street, or do you not bother to look since your observation must be fallible?

  • Pingback: Life of a Space Ferret » Blog Archive » Been kinda dead…catching up!

  • Humma Kavula

    Do you look both ways when you cross a busy street, or do you not bother to look since your observation must be fallible?

    Why do you want to discard everything, when a little extra caution will get you by just fine? Sounds a bit like religious reasoning to me :P In many occasions there are multiple semi-truths, i.e. they’re not wrong but not entirely right either.

    Observation in itself is not fallible because it is the act of witnessing. However, the word “observation” often includes interpretation and reasoning and in these stages mistakes are easily made. Humans tend to forget that their observations, interpretation and reasoning are all limited or even distorted by their own perspective and whatever they think they know. At certain speeds e.g., one can observe a car’s wheels to stand still or spin in the wrong direction. If you take this observation for what it appears to be, then you are totally wrong. The same thing can happen in other more complex situations, like the earth revolving around the sun instead of what it appears to be i.e. the other way around. Science is a method through which we try to gain understanding of our environment i.e. life, the universe and everything and the laws governing them. Although a new paradigm may appear to be spot on, it probably just is way better than the old one, but someday this new paradigm will be surpassed by one even better. Until we know everything there is to know there’s no way to distinguish between appearance and reality.

    I would suggest a measure of humility is in place when talking science, because most — if not all — of what we know is merely an approximation of reality… it’s the best we were able to do thus far. The discussion on 10^262 is a nice example of human futility in action. Everyone thinks of himself as a sage, while in fact everyone is (mis)copying some authority figure, who in turn has (mis)copied another authority figure, etc… be it a couple of grad students, a math teacher or some scientist. The fact that 10^262 is a 10 followed by two hundred and sixty two 0′s is because mathematicians said so… math is a language with arbitrary rules.

    Some thoughts on the fallibility of atheism, use it to your own advantage. Most atheists know very little about science, just like any other group of regular people. This is understandable, because most of us prefer to focus on our everyday lives in which science plays a peripheral role at best. People tend to trust other people, especially authority figures. Like some religious leaders, many scientists have forged evidence in support of a noble cause. To me this behavior suggests to me that atheists are just as susceptible to self-deception as the rest of us. I know many atheists to whom evolution is a surrogate religion, because they too believe whatever their authority figures tell them, and like mainstream religious people, they easily turn emotional when their beliefs are being questioned. Atheists are very prone to be as unscientific as creationists are, because atheism rules-out the existence of something which or someone who can not be proved nor disproved. Creationism is considered not scientific because it rules-in the existence of something which is outside of the realm of the scientific method. In addition I would like to suggest that even a renowned scientist like Richard Dawkins is in fact religious, his book “The God Delision” proves it. Agnosticism appears to be about as close as you can get to being non-religious and objective…

  • http://thatatheistguysblog.blogspot.com NYCatheist

    Like some religious leaders, many scientists have forged evidence in support of a noble cause.

    However unlike religion, science has a built in system that tries to minimize human error or outright corruption. A scientist has to make his methods clear and repeatable by others.

    To me this behavior suggests to me that atheists are just as susceptible to self-deception as the rest of us.

    I don’t think most atheists would disagree with you. But I bet most atheists have skeptical mind sets and at least try to keep their self-deception to a minimum. I’m not sure supernaturalists put in so much effort to question their own beliefs.

    I know many atheists to whom evolution is a surrogate religion, because they too believe whatever their authority figures tell them, and like mainstream religious people, they easily turn emotional when their beliefs are being questioned.

    How are you defining “religion” here? Geologists and astronomers also get upset when creationists say their research is garbage. Do we now say geology and astronomy are “religions”? Most, but actually not all, atheists accept evolution. This acceptance comes from a wealth of data, books, education, and also personal research. I think this is quite different from the religious model of a single authoritative source like the Bible.

    Atheists are very prone to be as unscientific as creationists are, because atheism rules-out the existence of something which or someone who can not be proved nor disproved.

    If you talk to most atheists they are not saying they have proved God doesn’t exist. They just don’t believe a god exists because the positive evidence isn’t there. I’m not sure if you’re religious, but I constantly hear religious people and creationists overuse the word “prove”. I think the only people who are proving things are mathematicians. Scientists can disprove theories, everything else is provisional with varying degrees of acceptance based on the quality and quantity of evidence.

    In addition I would like to suggest that even a renowned scientist like Richard Dawkins is in fact religious, his book “The God Delision” proves it.

    How does his book prove that? And again how are you defining religion? I think the commonly accepted view of religion is that it has some supernatural element. If you broaden the definition to be just closely held beliefs and rituals, then baseball is a religion too.

    Agnosticism appears to be about as close as you can get to being non-religious and objective…

    I have a feeling you think atheism means 100% faith there is no God. Dawkins defined that as a 7 on his scale of belief. But even he said he was just a 6, which he called a defacto atheist. Some might want to insist that is really agnosticism, but then Dawkins and I would also be agnostics about fairies in our gardens which just sounds silly.

  • Pingback: carapace » Blog Archive » Sunday September 23, 2007 - “To what excesses will men not go for the sake of a religion in which they believe so little and which they practise so imperfectly!” - Jean de La Bruyere

  • Rafi

    Polly Said,

    “Here’s a quick lesson in exponents (feel free to use your calculator):

    10^3 = 10*10*10 = 1,000 count the zeroes: 3
    10^6 = 10*10*10*10*10*10=1,000,000 count the zeroes: 6

    10^262 = 10*10 262 times = 1 with 262 zeros behind it.

    How hard do you think it is to type out 262 0s? There are more characters than that in many of these posts.”

    No. Wrong again. Think about what the grad student is saying, not just the numbers. We are talking about the chance of a protein having so and so structure…well guess what, 10^262 in that case means raising 10^10 262 times. thus this isn’t just an exponent…its really ((10^10)^10) until you’ve raised each resulting number by 10, 262 times…that is a HUGE number.

    Let me demonstrate:

    10^10=10000000000 (for those of you counting thats a 1 with 10 zeros behind it.

    Now, take THAT number and raise it to the 10: 10000000000^10=?

    GUESS WHAT PEOPLE, NO CALCULATOR YOU OWN WILL EVER GIVE YOU THAT NUMBER. And we’ve only used 1 of the 262 10s we need to use…after about the 5th or 6th 10 you can cover up this entire planet with zeros…and that number increases 10 tenfold each time.

    I ask all of you kindly, before you open your mouths again to THINK before you TYPE. This gradstudent is not wrong, and I’m not even christian or a diehard creationist.

  • Rafi

    And for the record..even if we use your shitty math skills, 1 with 262 zeros behind it is still ALOT of years and its still longer than the actual age of the universe…MUCH longer.

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » Did He Think We Wouldn’t Catch Him?

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » France Needs Your Prayers!

  • Paul

    Help me out here. Which is right above?

    Polly’s explanation (the consensus) is what I’ve always thought, too. So, what is the problem with Rafi’s explanation? Is it the “now, take THAT number and raise it to the 10: 10000000000^10″ part that is wrong? Why compound the 10s like that? Maybe my math skills are “shitty”; help me understand.

    Google “exponent calculator” and use the first link to get this answer: 1.0000000000000002e+262. Is that the same as what Polly said or what Rafi said?

  • Steve LaBonne

    Rafi can’t even keep his creationist bullshit straight (forget about actual science). This bogus “probability” “calculation” is always presented as yielding a simple exponent like 10^262 (or whatever other large number the particular cretin recycling this chestnut has pulled out of his ass), not the crazy expression Rafi postulates.

    In any case it’s total nonsense with no relevance to the way evolution actually works, as explained here and here and, at greater length, here.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    The main fallacy of intelligent design theory is that if the current scientific theory cannot account for some evidence, then that proves that there is a creator. In reality, if the current scientific theory cannot account for some evidence, then the theory just needs to be changed (sometimes it needs small changes, sometimes it needs radical changes). This link shows how the intelligent Design community is modifying the scientific method to suite their purposes.

    For a better articulated Intelligent design argument for the 10^262 idea, see this link. Of course, the assumptions used to come up with these numbers are contested in the scientific community. They also completely ignore the idea of “parallel processing”. If billions of events are simultaneously happening over a long time, the odds are a lot better. There also may be certain yet discovered “self-organizing” tendencies of nature (for thermodynamic reasons) that are also in play that can greatly increase the probabilities of the “right” proteins forming. It is not necessary to “jump to conclusions” to say a supernatural deity is behind it all. This scientific field is still young.

  • Pingback: Life before death :: :: January :: 2008

  • http://enklabloggen.blogspot.com simple Z

    As some of the commentators are trying to explain, that creationist school probably got the magnitude wrong.
    10^262 is probably only the exponent to the number they want to refer to.

    10^(10^262) has 10^262 zeros which is a greater sum than the number of particles in the entire universe

  • Anton

    There are 206 bones in a human body. That is 1.0e206 possible ways of aligning them.

    And by the way, so far as mathematicians are concerned, anything over the 40th power is considered impossible.

    Simple Z is right,
    Guys look at the order of Growth! It is exponential, not n! This is huge #!
    When the # is said to be ten to the two hundred and sixty second power, that
    means that each time you will multiply 10′s, not add them. The order of growth is exponential, which is the second largest order of growth in our universe. The next one is only n-factorial.
    So, according to science, first time you will have 2 zeros(10*10), second time you have 4 zeros(100*100), third time — 16 zeroes(10000*10000), and so on till 262th power with so many zeroes that you can’t even imagine.

    If you don’t believe me, Just to take your Ti-83 calculator and put in 10 to the 262 power. The memory in the calculator is lacking the capacity to calculate and display that it gives an error. Even your computer will display the number in the scientific notation. The number is very huge. Don’t be fooled.

    Science is on God’s side, don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.

  • Tuomas

    Anton, you’re so funny! I am sure nobody else wanted to tackle a troll but you made my morning ( okay, and the coffee too ) so I decided to give you a reply.

    1st the bones, yeah, I can take 206 different balls and reorganize them in 206! ways. Wow, bones are actually a bit poor example, as they are not, you know, interchangeable. It kind of lessens the wonder. “The skull could have just as easily been the pelvis! It must have been designed.” Yeah, right. The exclamation mark, btw., is factorial, something we here in Finland learn in high school.

    What do you mean by 1.0e206?
    1,0 * e * 206,0 = 559,97
    1,0^206 = 1,0
    1,0 * e^206 = 2,92 * 10^89
    1,0 * 10^206 = 10^206

    None of them are 206!.

    40th power is impossible? Damn. I did not know that. Good thing no one has tried it yet, it is not good to do impossible things.

    You have a really weird understanding of simple exponentiation.
    10^5 = 10 * 10 * 10 * 10 * 10 = 100 000,
    NOT 10^(2^1)+(10^(2^2))+(10^(2^4)) etc. or whatever you were explaining.
    You sir, would not have succeeded in a basic math test in Finnish High School.

    And yes, 10^262 is a huge number, but still it is just 1 + 262 zeroes. If you were referring to the 10^(10^262), well then, try to learn to refer. That’s all.

    Good day to all,

  • http://virginiaatheist.blogspot.com Dee

    I’m pretty that the figure 10^(10^262) was from a random commenter and has no relevance to the quote from the lesson plan. Obviously, 10^262 does not take pages and pages to write out in the form of 1 followed by a bunch of zeros.

    Anyway, with some googling, I found this: http://creationsafaris.com/epoi_c06.htm
    Scroll down to 114 and you get the quote:

    A single protein molecule would not be expected to happen by chance more often than once in 10^262 years on the average, and the probability that one protein might occur by random action during the entire history of the earth is less than 1 in 10^252.
    For a minimum set of the required 239 protein molecules for the smallest theoretical life, the probability is 1 in 10^119879. It would take 10^119841 years on the average to get a set of such proteins. That is 10^119831 times the assumed age of the earth and is a figure with 119,831 zeroes, enough to fill sixty pages of a book this size.

    I haven’t read the whole thing, so I don’t know what sort of assumptions Dr. James Coppedge is making. I just thought people might like to know where these guys get their numbers.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X