"A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth
is not worth many regrets." - Arthur C. Clarke
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1.) The observer notes that for each letter of the message, the red pebbles are arranged in a little rectangular grid which is basically 7 spots high and 5 spots wide. So for each letter, there are 35 spots, and each spot either has a pebble or it does not.
2.) It is one chance out of 2, whether a spot correctly has a pebble or does not have one.
3.) The chance that a letter would be correct by randomly filling (or leaving blank) all the 35 spots of the rectangle, is one chance out of two ...multiplied 35 times. --That comes to: one chance out of 6.87 X 1010 ...(1 out of 68 billion)... that a whole letter would be correct by randomly filling (or not filling) in all the 35 spots.
4.) The message: "HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZOEY" is comprised of 17 letters. --So, multiply the chance in point #3 times itself 17 times. --That comes out to: one chance out of 1.69 X 10184 ...that all 17 letters (formed by pebbles) could be correctly assembled at random to contain the message. ---But if the chance is too small (in the extreme), then random assembly is virtually ruled out, and I.D. makes more sense.
A Standard for Evaluating The Probabilities
As explained in my article "A Mathematical Proof of Intelligent Design in Nature," if the probability of something happening by random processes is vanishingly small enough, such a random chance explanation for that event's occurrence is virtually ruled out as a reasonable possibility, and is considered to be zero chance. That vanishingly small chance is called the "Universal Probability Boundary" of chance occurrence. Here is how we arrive at that number: There are 1084 particles (i.e. neutrons, protons & electrons) in the physical cosmos; and there are a maximum of 1045 interactions per second that can occur between any two of those sub-atomic particles; and there are 1020 seconds in the approximate age of the cosmos (about 15 billion yrs); therefore the total number of possible interactions of all the particles in all the age in the universe is: 10149 interactions. --Therefore, the "Universal Probability Boundary" on chance occurrences means that anything less likely than one chance out of 10150, must reasonably be statistically considered to be zero chance of happening in the history of the known universe.
The chance that the 17-letter message "Happy Birthday Zoey" could have been properly assembled (out of 300 pebbles) by random forces (such as water, etc.), was one chance out of 1.69 X 10184. This number is many orders of magnitude less likely than the "Universal Probability Boundary," and therefore, is it most reasonable to figure that the message was not a result of random forces (waves, etc.), but it is most reasonable to conclude --rather-- that a thinking person came along and lined up the pebbles to form the message. This is an instance of I.D. being the best conclusion.
Identity of The Designer
In light of the above considerations, we therefore have a sort of "proof" that the message on the beach was intentionally designed by the purposeful work of a designer --regardless of the message designer's identity being unknown. Random ordering would be expected to virtually always produce a random hash in every 7 X 5 rectangle, and to very rarely produce a coherent letter in even one of the rectangles. However, even though the specific identity of the designer may not be known by the analysts, it doesn't matter; the conclusion of intelligent design still seems to be the best and most reasonable conclusion, and random forces seem most reasonably totally incapable of producing anything like this message --even in all the age of the universe.
This story of the message on the beach is obviously an analogy for something more important:
On this website, you may read about a similar analysis which describes the chances that functional "biological information" in living things (esp. proteins and DNA) could come about by random assembly; see Intelligent Design in Nature.
You may also read about a similar sort of study, in which Hugh Ross has put together a list of factors to give an estimate of the Probability for a Life Support Body arising in the universe without the purposeful work of an intelligent designer.
--If you will read further in this website, you may agree that there is an excellent body of evidence (eg. from predictions) which indicates that the Bible is a supernaturally produced piece of literature, the true Word of God. ...and the Bible claims to identify the living God (and Jesus Christ) who did the intelligent designing of all things. If you want to read about such evidence concerning the Bible, click on this link: "Prophecy Proves the Bible's Authority."
---Concerning Jesus Christ, the Bible says: "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:3). Similarly, it says: "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible" (Colossians 1:16).
YOU, dear reader are loved by God, and that's why Jesus Christ came!
Related Sites & Articles:
Old Earth Articles:
- - (TestingWorldviews.com stance is that the best evidence points to an old earth --and that the Bible teaches this perspective.)
Directory to TestingWorldviews.com
Home Page of WorldView Test Site
Truth-Tests for Worldviews
The Worldview of Naturalism
The Worldview of Eastern Pantheism
The Worldview of Biblical Theism
The Foundation of Science = The Biblical Worldview
Evolution is Partly True
Prophecy Proves the Bible's Authority
$1,000,000 Prize for Evolution ...& Challenge for "Scriptures"
What We Believe
Links to Other Good Apologetics Sites