Lee Spetner, author of NOT BY CHANCE (a critique of neo-Darwinism), asked me to post this response to Tom Schneider:
I just became aware of Tom Schneider’s “response” to my objection to his criticism of my calculation of probability (go here for Schneider). I don’t know whether he can’t read or if he has a mental block against admitting to criticism. He thinks that my probability p = 1/300,000 is the probability of an adaptive mutation. I clearly stated that it is the probability that a particular mutation will occur in a population and will survive to take over that population.” He did not understand this clear statement and thought that I meant it to be the probability of a particular point mutation occurring in a given genome. (His comparison of this number with 10-8 for the probability of the mutation rate in bacteria is irrelevant and is indicative of his misunderstanding.) Evolution requires that a sequence of many of these occur, and for the example I chose, a sequence of 500 of them was necessary. I am going to go through this once more and I hope he is listening carefully. Once the first adaptive mutation in the sequence has occurred and has taken over the population, a next one must occur and then a next one and so on 500 times. The event that consists of the appearance of an adaptive mutation followed by natural selection of sufficient effect to take over the population is an event that is independent of subsequent events of the same character. Therefore the probabilities multiply, and the probability of the entire sequence occurring is 1/300,000 raised to the 500th power. The only way he can criticize this calculation is to distort what I am saying and claim I was calculating something else.