Lace, damsels, and marrow escapes
I have just realised that I have put nothing on the blog for a while. Not written about the town where the canal offered an easier route out to emigrate to America, nor the marooned marrow or even shared the pictures of dragon flies laying eggs. “Oh the missed excitement” I hear you cry.
While I write up my summer’s little trips to bygone eras can I leave you with a modern fact, one I found of great interest.
According to Schroeder the likelihood of monkeys typing randomly and producing a Shakespearian sonnet of 14 lines (488 letters) is one in 10 to the power of 690, ie 1 in 10 with 690 zeros after it. 13 with 9 zeros after it is the age of the universe in years, so pretty unlikely.
Now if you apply the same to the chance of one common human protein (factor VIII) occurring by chance mutation (by evolution) the numbers are even bigger. ( Factor VIII has about 1000 amino acids, each one has to be the correct one from a group of 22 possibilities). Even if you could convert all the earth’s carbon into human cells, all growing as fast as they could for all the time the universe has existed then the chances of just one protein existing by chance in the right configuration are vanishingly small. How small? 1 chance in 10 followed by 76 zeros, so 1 in 10 followed by 67 zeros, 1,000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 times longer than the universe has existed. The chances of two proteins being of the right sequence are that number times itself (approximately). The blood clotting cascade alone has more than 10 proteins that all have to function together to support life.
And that is just one system of one group of animals.
Evolution by mutation may have been the mechanism, but how was it directed to ensure the required solution? It is certain that it was not random mutation followed by survival of the fittest. It just must have been designed!
What a marvellous world we live in.