# Could it work? Probabilities and Engineering Feasibility Studies

Our engineering department often gets feasibility-study contracts. The client has an idea, but wants to know if he should pursue further investment and research into a proposed solution to an engineering problem.

Our team goes to work. We use all our resources and experience to evaluate the suggested engineering solution.
Our team recommends three possible avenues of approach:

1) Based on our analysis, the probability that it could work is so small that no further investment of effort or resources should be made.

2) Based on our analysis, there is a reasonable chance that this engineering solution could work, but we’ll need to build prototypes and test them. In addition, our analysis suggests that further design modifications should be made so that the proposed mechanism can work as suggested.

3) Our analysis suggests that your engineering proposal has an extremely high likelihood of succeeding. We’ll build a prototype, test it, and empirically validate that our analysis is correct.

A Darwinist comes into our engineering department. He asks for a feasibility-study concerning the following:

Darwinist: I have this microbe here. I propose that by zapping it with random mutations and throwing out the bad mutations and keeping the good ones, I can turn this microbe into Mozart in 10^17 seconds.

Engineer: Are you freaking out of your mind?

## 7 Replies to “Could it work? Probabilities and Engineering Feasibility Studies”

1. 1
Charles says:

So, a Creationist, a Darwinist, and an Engineer walk into this bar….

The bartender puts a 2 ounce glass in front of each of them and pours them each an ounce.

The Creationist smiles and says “My glass is half full, praise the Lord!”

The Darwinist frowns and says “My glass is half empty, darn the luck.”

The Engineer downs his drink and says “My glass was twice as big as it needed to be. I’ll have another.”

2. 2
inunison says:

Gil,

You are vastly oversimplifying engineering work required to build or modify a machine; but I’ll forgive you…this time. 🙂

3. 3
GilDodgen says:

In a post here I mentioned a Hello World computer program:

#include <stdio.h>
int main(void)
{
printf(“Hello World!\n”);
return(0);
}

It includes 66 non-white-space text characters. (Yes, I know that a Hello World program can be written with fewer characters, but that’s not the point.) Even assuming that we only need the 26 lower-case alpha characters, there are 26^66 possible combinations. That’s roughly 2.4 x 10^93, which is the number of subatomic particles in 24 trillion universes like ours. There are about 4.3 x 10^17 seconds in the history of the universe, assuming the universe is 13.5 billion years old, and there are 1.0 x 10^17 seconds in 3.1 billion years, which is the amount of time available for evolution to go from no life at all to Mozart.

If someone were to ask for a feasibility study concerning converting a Hello World program into something like Microsoft Word through Darwinian mechanisms (random changes in the source code), I would point out the unfathomable probabilistic hurdles. Even given intelligent, guided, purposeful selection with a goal in mind like creating a word processor, and given the probabilistic resources in the entire history of the universe, my feasibility study would suggest that no meaningful progress toward the goal could possibly be made.

4. 4
Charles says:

Evolution: “#include &LT stdio.h &gt”

5. 5
Charles says:

Evolution: “#include &LT stdio.h &gt”

Evolution: “Hmmmm…. Thus demonstrating the destructive power of deleterious mutations.

6. 6
GilDodgen says:

I had to include lt (less than) and gt (greater than) so the html interpreter would not assume I was embedding an html tag.

Given the entire probabilistic resources of the universe, even this would be unlikely to occur and produce meaningful results.

7. 7
Mike LaFontaine says:

Good stuff. It really beggars belief that anyone subscribes to that materialist nonsense.