One of the arguments that Richard Dawkins uses against the existence of god is the claim that it is improbable that an intelligent being could come into existence, without evolution. But is that true?

The answer is “who knows?” First, a little probability theory. The probability of something occurring at least once is equal to 1 less the probability of it never occurring. Well, how do we calculate that? We need to know two things: the probability of it occurring for any given trial, and the number of trials. So for instance, if we wanted to know the probability of at least one head for a coin flip, we would need to know how many flips.

Biologists use the same idea when countering arguments of the improbability of evolution resulting in humans. The probability of humans, or even something remotely close to life forms that exist today, evolving may seem very small, but there are just so many instances in which it can happen, in part because evolution has had billions of years, that the probability of life like ours evolving is really not all that small.

So how many trials have there been for an intelligent life form to pop into existence? We can come up with an estimate, at least going back to the beginning of our universe. But what about before the universe came into existence? One factor in estimating how many trials have occurred is looking at how much time has passed. But as we get closer and closer to the big bang, time “blows up” and we don’t even know anything about the nature of time before our universe formed.

This essentially makes it impossible to even guess the probability of a intelligent being coming into existence, at least with our current understanding of physics. Unfortunately, although not surprisingly, this does not occur to Dawkins, since Dawkins’ thought process is fully embedded in the evolution of life, within our own universe, and within our own sense of time. It also satisfies his need for “evidence” that there are no gods, and if valid, would automatically show evidence against just about all god claims.