I will further edit this answer in the coming days;
please don't vote it down before I complete it.
Yes, but so what?
Intelligent design adepts always stated that the emergence of life "by accident", that is without a designer willingly creating it is unthinkable. Emerging hypotheses over how it could have happened proof it is thinkable, but that does not proof it happened, of course.
Their mathematical argument we discuss here states that this "accident", which we call abiogenesis is so improbable we can safely assume it did not happen and the question is, if we can counter this argument by postulating a multiverse.
Yes, in a multiverse, extremely improbable events happen
How ever improbable an event is in a universe, if it is possible and you assume enough parallel universes, it becomes probable. In fact if you assume even more universes, it becomes improbable it happens nowhere.
But abiogenesis is probable enough without a multiverse
Intelligent design adepts did calculate the probability of abiogenesis and came to the result that you need more "trials" than their are atoms in the universe to have a fair chance to generate even a single protein from scratch by accident.
So, they say it is not created by accident, but by design. Not necessary, I reply: who says proteins were created from scratch?
#The history of the argument
You should understand proving the existence of god is a very important topic in theology. Actually, every religion I know is addressing (politely or violently) the problem of atheism emerging in their midst.
Medieval proof for God from abiogenesis failed
If you leave a steak to rot, flies come out. This was long understood as the generation of live from dead substance and seen as a creative act from God. This and similar experiments were even seen as a proof of his existence.
However, these proves are long falsified.
With our current knowledge of biology, we every apparent observation of abiogenesis turns out to be reproduction.
Evolution theory changed the game
Proof for evolution is rock solid ...
Traditional breeding techniques in agriculture proof selection can cause evolution of a species to acquire desirable properties.
Observations of contemporary nature show us both anecdotal illustrations and statistical proof that evolutionary pressure drives the evolution of specious.
The study of fossils and DNA proof this mechanism has, over the long period that life exists on earth, caused species to change so dramatically they crossed the boundaries of families orders and classes.
The apparent branching, in which homogeneous population evolved into distinct species can be explained by separation of sub populations, gradients in environmental conditions and escapes to niches. The classical genesis stories of theists do not match observations.
... but the origin of life is remains covered
If evolution explains increasing complexity and diversity all life might comes from one or a few very simple ancestors. The quest for the one or the few original life forms however stops about 35 billion years ago, with the fossils of bacteria on the oldest rocks on earth More on stromatolites.
The only thing we do know, is that the world was a completely different place, in which carbon chemistry that is now hardly found outside of life and laboratory was quite common in the open.
So atheists and creationists can debate if this probiotic soup could have produces life.
Anyway, creationists conclude evolution theory fails as a non-theistic explanation of the origin of life.
The cell as a survival unit on "Mars"
Imagine a small group of humans colonize Mars. Then the earth explodes and a generation later, a computer bug destroys every record of human history on earth and nobody instructs children on the topic.
If ten generations later, people start speculating on their origin, what would they think?
Nobody would have experienced breathing the natural atmosphere. There would be no tree in the open to take a stick from and make a tool from. Could they imagine humans ever invented technology from the start? Would they not believe technology was created for them, before they came into existence.
Now look at today's life, organized in units we call cells, full of chemistry that resembles the early earth. Does this not look like we (life) escaped into survival units before it was too late?
Failing attempts to repeat abiogenese.
Fair enough, but then why don't we reproduce the conditions of early earth and create life from scratch? Well, scientists tried that time and again and failed.
Probability enters the debate
Atomic mutations and functional evolution
If we look at evolution from a molecular point of view, it is all about small reorganizations of mainly proteins and amino acids (RNA, DNA).
Not observing abiogenesis as a proof of God
The assumption of abiogenesis
Once we understand the evolution from simple to sophisticates that the first life forms were even simpler and emerged from interplaying chemical reactions that we would not call life soon comes to mind.
However this so called hypothesis of abiogenesis is far from evident, as creationists love to say:
- If it happened before, why don't we see it out there now?
- And why can we not provoke it in the lab?
- Even the simplest life form requires relatively complex molecules like protein. Can these really be created “by accident”?
The first two questions can be addressed as follows.
In the so called pre-biotic chemical soup (google it) of the early earth there was an abundance of relatively complex molecules of the kind we now study in biochemistry. These conditions don’t exist anymore.
So far, we have not recreated conditions for abiogenesis in a lab but Rome is not built in a day and science not in a century.
The third one is harder. It makes me think of those board games with two dice where you can only start if you throw two sixes. If you would play that with ten dice, it would take ages to get started.
The traces are swept out
The oldest life forms we find back are simple bacteria and they occur even in the oldest rocks found on earth.
Before that, the earth did not keep fossils, so archeology will not conclude this discussion.
On the mathematics of the argument
Probability of a step in evolution
You can go from one DNA sequence to another in small steps, but you cannot change less than one amino acid at a time.
Many are irrelevant for the functioning of the organism, probably more are detrimental and will die out soon or immediately. Only some make the organism more fit for survival and reproduction.
For the sake of simplicity, let us say all mutations are equally probable in the first place. A mutation that is as such detrimental, could be beneficial in combination with others. It is, however much less probable all these mutations will occur over a few generations. Therefore evolution can get stuck in a niche for very long time before it finds a new path forward.
The minimal complexity of life
Any known natural cell has at least 500 genes, each of which
(Only viruses are simpler, but they don't replicate, they have themselves replicated by cells. Therefore, they are nor even considered to be life.)
You can't climb the roof before you climbed the wall
Evaluation of the mathematical argument
The number of opportunities
Computer viruses and the early earth chemistry
The Mars mission
Is there a wall under the roof ?
What, to my perception, is (dis)proved
What I conclude for myself?