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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CB940.1:

Successful production of a 200-component functioning organism requires at least 200 beneficial mutations. The odds of getting that many successive beneficial mutations is r200, where r is the rate of beneficial mutations. Even if r is 0.5 (and it is really much smaller), that makes the odds worse than 1 in 1060, which is impossibly small.


Morris, Henry M., 1972. The mathematical impossibility of evolution. Acts & Facts 2.
Morris, Henry M., 2003. The mathematical impossibility of evolution. Back to Genesis 179, pp. b-c.


  1. Morris's calculation assumes that all the beneficial mutations must occur consecutively with no other mutations occurring in the meantime. When one allows harmful mutations that get selected out along the way, 200 beneficial mutations would accumulate fairly quickly -- in 200/r generations using the assumptions of Morris's model. (The real world is quite a bit more complicated yet. In particular, large populations and genetic recombination via sex can allow beneficial mutations to accumulate at a greater rate.)

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created 2003-11-2