Felix J. Thibault wrote: > > > I have been wondering about this argument for a while,as well,so maybe > someone can clear up something for me. It seems that since the argument is > probability based we can interpret it as follows: > Given a multitude of earths,with evolution occuring as it does here, > it the probability of the human eye arising again on one of these earths > in the 4.5 billion years(from my early 80's geology book) it took here is > infinitesmial.
Then there was that old nonsense about an infinite number of monkeys typing the complete works of Shakespeare in a kajillion years or so. The fallacy is that the frequency of letters in the English language is not random. Ie, e is more common than z, which is not what a proper randomizer would produce.
The whole business of mutations has been confused by the radiation guys who so enjoyed torturing fruitflies.
In fact, as has been demonstrated, point mutations (nucleotide substitutions) have not played a major role in evolution. Modern proteins compared to proteins of archaeobacters: the amino acid sequences have been "highly conserved" for all the intervening millions of years.
Instead of calculating around nucleotide substitutions, let's pay more attention to the conserved "boxes" -- the "words" of DNA. This basic vocabulary has not changed appreciably since the archaeobacters, but the phrases and sentences and paragraphs have become far, far more complex.
Also, once a line of development has begun, progress along that line can become accellerated, as Prof. Devries (the mutation theory guy) described in 'Plant Breeding'.
Finally, it is a rarely discussed fact that inbreeding can lead to a pronounced _increase_ in variation. I doubt that these "mutations" are entirely random. For one thing, the character of theses mutations is not the same as that of radiation induced mutations.
Mutations don't really explain anything, anyway. Darwin supposed that the origin of variation is Variation. Devries clarified: that organism change by mutating (=changing). All this tautology.
But Devries may be forgiven, almost, because he was using Lamarck's word ... though in a different sense. Lamarck spoke of mutations in the environment, changes to which organisms had to adapt. Nothing metaphysical there.