Numerous scientific efforts involving probability theory have revealed that it is extremely improbable that chance could produce even the first complete set of genes and the proteins needed for minimal life. Coppedge found that even after making several concessions to chance the probability of a random sequence yielding just one gene or protein is 10 [to the power] 236. [James F. Coppedge, Evolution Possible or Impossible? (Grand Rapids Zondervan Publishing House, 1973), esp. pp. 230-36.
Calculations by other scientists, even from a naturalistic, evolutionary perspective, similarly reveal that there is only an infinitesimal chance for such a beginning for life. The naturalistic physicist Guye spoke of a probability of 2.02 x 10 [to the power] 231 for chance dissymetry in an extremely simple protein. [Charles-Eugene Guye, reported in Pierre Lecomte du Nouy, Human Destiny (New York Longmans, Green and Co , 1947), pp 33-34, as cited by Coppedge, Evolution Possible or Impossible? p. 234.]
Salisbury suggested a probability of 10 [to the power] 415 for mutations accounting for a new enzyme. [Frank B. Salisbury, “Natural Selection and the Complexity of the Gene,” Nature, October 25, 1969, p 234, cf., Coppedge, Evolution Possible or Impossible? p. 235.]
Yale biophysicist Morowitz calculated a probability of 1 chance in 10 [to the power] 339,999,866 for the chance formation of the correct bond energies for a minimal cell. [Harold J. Morowitz, Energy Flow in Biology (New York Academic Press, 1968), p. 99, cited in Coppedge, Evolution Possible or Impossible? p. 235.]
Quastler postulated two extreme limits of the improbability of life occurring by chance. The smaller figure was 1 in 10 [to the power] 255 while the larger extreme was approximately 1 in 10 to the three trillionth power (13 digits). [Henry Quastler, The Emergence of Biological Organization (New Haven, CT Yale University Press, 1964).]
Using Guye’s probability figure, even if the possible combinations were produced at the speed of light, it would take 10^243 billions of years to obtain even one protein molecule on earth! [Guye, reported in du Nouy, pp 33-34, and cited by Coppedge, Evolution Possible or Impossible? p. 234.]
Astronomer Hoyle and his colleague Wickramasinghe concluded that there is only one chance in 10 [to the power] 40,000 that even a single enzyme could have evolved by random processes, a figure that is “statistically impossible.” It would require more attempts to form one enzyme than there are atoms in all the stars in all the known galaxies. This statistic was not arrived at by guessing but by computations based on the necessary components of enzymes.
Therefore according to Hoyle and Wickramasinghe who were previously non-theists, spontaneous generation is impossible, requiring a miracle. “Because of the impossibility of the chance formation and development of life anywhere in the universe” [Chandra Wickramasinghe’s testimony appears in Norman L Geisler, The Creator in the Courtroom Scopes II (Milford, MI Mott Media, 1982), pp. 148-53.] and since the universe is not eternal, they have abandoned the steady state theory Hoyle helped formulate years ago. [Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (New York Simon and Shuster, 1981), idem, “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature, November 12,1981, p. 105.]
Yockey studied the likelihood that naturalistic processes could account for the origin of life, which would involve some form of spontaneous biogenesis. He concentrated on explanations for the existence of information content in living organisms as contained in DNA. [See, for example, Hubert p Yockey, ‘An Application of Information Theory to the Central Dogma and the Sequence Hypothesis,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 46 (1974) 369-406.] There is more information in the DNA in one human cell than there is in all the books in the Library of Congress, and that one cell contains far more information than there is human knowledge concerning the entire universe! [Robert Gange, Origins and Destiny (Waco, TX Word Books, 1986), pp. 162-64.] Yockey said, “The ‘warm little pond’ scenario was invented ad hoc to serve as a materialistic reductionist explanation of the origin of life. It is unsupported.”
These studies present a formidable roadblock to a rational formulation of a naturalistic theory for the origin of life.