It was also an illustration of another important principle. For when the cards were laid down for all to see, the two losing players knew something was awry. Four of a kind, a full house and a royal flush all in the same round? And the royal flush just happening to go to the dealer? No way, it must have been rigged.
Imagine a friend calls you over with great exclamation. “Look at this!” he cries, “I just tossed out these Scrabble letters onto the board and look!” What you see are the letters CONSTANTINOPLE laid out in perfect order. “What are the odds?” he asks incredulously. “Yeah, right,” you respond, not willing to play the fool. He obviously arranged the letters and pretended to have thrown them down randomly.
But this principle, of the rigged game, can be subtle. For the four of a kind, full house and royal flush hands have precisely the same probability as any other set of hands. They are just as likely as garbage hands with nothing more than a high card.
Likewise, CONSTANTINOPLE has the same probability as any other set of 14 letters. So why are we suspicious? How do we know it is rigged? As Pierre-Simon Laplace explained so long ago (before Scrabble was invented), we know the game is rigged not because we miscompute the probabilities.
It is true, the great French mathematician explained, that all the possible letter combinations are equiprobable. But we know CONSTANTINOPLE was probably rigged because we intuitively realize that that outcome has a high probability of having been manipulated. Humans are good at evaluating a wide range of possible causes.
Likewise, the three high poker hands were unlikely to have occurred by chance because those are the types of hands that someone would stack the deck to create. The chance hypothesis is unlikely because the non chance hypothesis is so much more likely.
Evolution and poker
So what do these two principles have to do with evolution? The first describes the evolutionist’s predicament. Like the poker players with the four of a kind and full house, evolutionists are convinced. They are supremely confident they have a winning hand. They are certain that evolution is correct.
People sometimes ask me how evolutionists can do what they do. How can evolutionists engage in and promote such absurdity? It is amazing, but please understand, evolutionists are not out to spread atheism or corrupt science. Evolutionists are out to spread and protect the truth—the scientific truth as they understand it. And they are certain they do understand it.
Evolutionists are in a similar predicament as those poor poker players with, what they were certain were, winning hands. And just as those poker players were more than happy to make losing bet after losing bet, so too evolutionists think nothing of making losing arguments for evolution.
For instance, evolutionists claim that all the evidence supports evolution. Amazingly, they say there is no contradictory evidence, no scientific problems to deal with.
When I first heard this argument I was astonished. But when you are certain you are right, then any and all arguments must support evolution.
You can see an example of this claim here where an evolution professor calls some mathematicians dumb***** (while issuing several other profanities) and assures his readers that he is “unaware of any general concerns with the theory of evolution that is not steeped in religion.”
One reason the professor makes this monumental scientific blunder is a fundamental yet typical misunderstanding of our second principle above. While it was obvious to most of us that the poker game was rigged, evolutionists make another one of their losing arguments to get around the problem.
Sure biology may seem improbable but, after all, any outcome has the same probability as any other outcome. Don’t be fooled by outcomes that may seem to be unlikely, they warn. The spontaneous origin of everything is no more improbable than any other outcome. As the professor explains:
Let’s start with a simple probability idea and work our way up. If we get a penny and flip it, the chance of it coming up heads is ½ or 50% (the other possibility being tails of course). The odds of getting heads twice in a row is ¼ (½ x ½) or 25%. Similarly the odds of flipping a coin and having it come up heads and then tails is also ¼. We can take this a little further, the chance of flipping a coin 10 times and having it come up heads each time is 1/1024. 1/1024 is the same as 0.0009765 or 9.77x10^-4 or ~1x10^-3. It’s about 1 time in a 1000. The important thing here is that the odds of getting any specific combination of heads and tails in 10 flips is about 1 in a 1000. However, if you flip a coin 10 times, you will get a specific combination. I just flipped a nickel 10 times and got T(ails), T, H(eads), T, H, T, H, H, T, H. Was the chance of that happening 1 in a 1000? Well, it was before I flipped the nickel the first time, but now that it has happened the chance that it happened is 100% or 1/1. …
Remember when we flipped the coin 10 times above? The odds were ~1/1000 (a 1 followed by 3 zeros) that any specific sequence would come up. Well if we flip that coin 270 times, the odds of it coming up heads every time, or any other specific sequence, is 1/1.9x10^81. If I flip that coin every 15 seconds, it will take me just over an hour to get enough flips to get a sequence of heads and tails. If we calculate the odds of getting that sequence ahead of time, we get a number greater than the number of atoms in the universe! Using the creationist logic, then it was impossible to get the sequence of 270 Heads or Tails we just got.
There you have it. The creationist is wrong again. All of biology isn’t improbable any more than winning a million jackpots. All outcomes are equiprobable so a royal flush, CONSTANTINOPLE, and yes evolution, are not at all unlikely.
Religion drives science, and it matters.