There is a popular argument that the chances of us being here are so remote that the only reasonable conclusion is that we are the work of [insert god du jour here].
Indeed the chances of any of us being here in the form that we are are so staggeringly small that they are quite literally incalculable.
However, note that we make that observation as that which exists, not from the standpoint of any of the other infinite possibilities, each of which would have made the same observation.
Let me explain…
Take a jar of a thousand pennies. Grab a fistful and throw them onto the floor. Then grab another fistful, and do it again. Do it again, and again, and again, until you are all out of pennies.
Now look at your floor.
What you will see is a unique pattern. There will be pennies on top of pennies, some will be heads, some will be tails. But whatever the exact configuration of pennies on the floor, you must be aware that that configuration was next to impossible to achieve. If I took a picture of it, and asked you or a million others to reproduce that exact configuration by throwing pennies, it couldn’t be done. The chances of getting that exact configuration by mere chance is next to impossible.
And yet that configuration occurred.
The fact is that any outcome had next to zero chance of occurring. But there is an infinite number of possible outcomes, and exactly one was in fact going to occur. The chances of that outcome, that exact configuration, or infinitesimally incalculable. Yet it happened.
The universe could have been put together any number of ways. The system is chaotic, like the weather, and as such even a tiny change can, over a long enough period, change the entire system everywhere.
So yes, you can look at each person alive today, and correctly state that the chances of that person being born in that time and place are infinitesimally small. But they would have been the same for anyone and everyone who was and/or could have been born at that time and place.
If we all had 17 fingers, three heads and 431 distinct genders – each of them completely incompatible with each other, the exact same argument could and would be made… What are the odds?
Well, incalculably remote. But we know how chemicals combine, we know how they make larger structures, we know how evolution works, and we’ve reproduced most of abiogenesis in the lab already.
It appears that the creation of life is actually not particularly difficult. That we exist on this exact planet in this exact solar system, in this exact galaxy, and so on and so forth, may be infinitesimally remote occurrence. But that is no evidence whatsoever that it has been divinely ordained– and no matter what we looked like – or where in the universe we were – we would make the same error. Any life on other planets today is likely making the exact same error – our existence is so remote that it must be ordained.
As in “random” system – the incalculable probability of the conclusion is not evidence of a designer or a plan. Each and every one of an incalculable number of conclusions had an infinitesimally small probability of occurring – and yet one of them was going to happen. Our arrogance once again plays a part – that we exist instead of don’t must be proof of favor of some God – that we were meant to. When instead, we are just the lucky ones who exist, and those who don’t exist aren’t around to point that out. And did we not exist, those that existed in our place would make the same mistake we do.
Again, this is in no way whatsoever proof that there isn’t a designer… Perhaps there is. But the extreme improbability of our existence is in no way whatsoever evidence to support it.