February 8, 2012


A creationist (xian) apologist using the Argument from Design recently made this astounding claim to bolster her argument.

"Did you know that you have over 75 Trillion Living cells within your body, each composed of 200 trillion protein molecules?"

Being a skeptic, not entirely clueless but certainly not good enough with math to process a response on the spot, I resorted to the stall… “Let me get back to you on that.”

Fortunately there are skeptics who are quite good at math and in the analysis of such claims. A little Internet research reveals this particular complexity argument, although new to me, is not uncommon… and neither is the response. All were basically the same so, more for my benefit than hers, I randomly picked one using simple terms.

Proteins are made up of amino acids. For the sake of this discussion we will assume a ridiculously simple organism made of just one kind of protein… composed only of a single, simple amino acid. Glycine is the amino acid with the simplest physical structure: NH2CH2COOH. Adding the molecular weights of each of the components we get about 75.04g/mol of glycine molecules.

(75E12 cells/body)x(200E12 proteins/cell)x(75.04 g/mol)
= 1.87E6 g/body
6.022E23 proteins/mol
= 1870 kg (+/- 4120 lbs.)

This reveals that the organism described by my antagonist would weigh in at somewhat over two tons, even using the most incredibly lightweight of protein.

Weight Watchers anyone?

To make the argument remotely viable would require that complexity be reduced by a factor of three digits… turning trillions into billions. If the full range of amino acids and the proteins of which they are composed were considered this particular complexity argument would be further reduced… but still remaining in the 10 digit plus complexity range.

So we cannot say that the argument to complexity (and thus design) has zero merit, but this particular confrontation does a good job of illustrating the apparent need of theist apologetics to exaggerate. The complexity of organisms, and especially the higher order mammals is incredibly fascinating without the need for exaggeration.

As it turns out the young lady was simply repeating something read in one of the xian publications, which likely was quoting something spouted by yet another apologetic. She had accepted it without question because it confirmed her predisposed bias and stroked her need to believe that her particular mythology was true. Even if the original claim of complexity were accurate, it still fails to imply design. The appeal is circular, having no supporting empirical evidence. Exaggerations and omissions abound.

So the next question posed to my particular gadfly was, “Why do xians so often feel compelled to lie in support of their argument?



Old NFO said...

LOL, love it when someone actually DOES the math... Thanks!

montag said...

Her mythical sky being is a simple tool and needs to be dismissed by all sentient beings.

May you be blessed by his noodley goodness.

Mule Breath said...

He boiled for our sins...