Friday, July 20, 2012

#13 The Infinite Monkey Theorem

Since my last post talked about man descending from apes, I'd like to now take a diversion to put to rest The Infinite Monkey Theorem once and for all. You may have heard about this one. It sort of plays tricks on your mind using the concept of infinity. Infinity doesn't really exist in any practical, scientific sense, but if you accept infinity in an argument, then you can end up also accepting that "given infinity, anything can happen".

If you take the leap from "given infinity, anything can happen" over to "it did happen", you may just be making a leap of faith so great that you are downright foolish. 

Here is the description of The Infinite Monkey Theorem from Wikipedia.[1]

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

In this context, "almost surely" is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the "monkey" is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters and symbols ad infinitum. The relevance of the theory is questionable -- the probability of a monkey exactly typing a complete work such as Shakespeare's Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time even a hundred thousand orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe is extremely low (but not zero).

Note it says "(but not zero)". That is of course a mathematical concept unrelated to any reality we could ever experience. Their emphasis should be placed more on EXTREMELY low probability EVEN given 100's of thousands of times the AGE of the UNIVERSE.

Here is another statement from Wikipedia.

If there are as many monkeys as there are particles in the observable universe, and each types 1,000 keystrokes per second for 100 times the life of the universe, the probability of the monkeys replicating even a short book is nearly zero.

So let's get real. Here we have an example where they plug in some specific numbers that are incredibly gigantic: the number or particles in the whole universe, 1,000 key strokes per second, 100 times the age of the universe. Even with all of that, the odds are "nearly zero".

Do you still think "anything can happen"?

Also, remember, we are definitely not talking about a short book. The DNA of a human contains 3 BILLION characters, and they are not random but exactly in the right order. All the other millions of species that exist also have DNA that would have to be correctly ordered for this world to exist.

There has to be a God.

Somebody tested real monkeys.

Just for your curiosity, there were some professors and students who tried an experiment with real monkeys. They never got even one single recognizable word after a whole month.

Continuing from Wikipedia

In 2003, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to study the literary output of real monkeys. They left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Celebes Crested Macaques in Paignton Zoo in Devon in England for a month, with a radio link to broadcast the results on a website.[11]

Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five pages[12] consisting largely of the letter S, the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it. Phillips said that the artist-funded project was primarily performance art, and they had learned "an awful lot" from it. He concluded that monkeys "are not random generators. They're more complex than that. ... They were quite interested in the screen, and they saw that when they typed a letter, something happened. There was a level of intention there."[11][13]

Even computer programmers can't get close.

Lots of people never give up. Some computer programmers devised random programs to try to get a meaningful sequence. Note again the time span is billions of times the age of the universe just to get a very short sequence located somewhere inside a whole book. To produce the exact book would be "infinitely" harder. (Ha Ha.) Also note that the computer programmers are intelligent beings trying on purpose to do it and they can't do it. And they want us to believe "it could happen"?

Here is the information, also from Wikepedia.

One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the "monkeys" typed, "VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t" The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona". Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from "Timon of Athens", 17 from "Troilus and Cressida", and 16 from "Richard II".[25]

A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulates a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took "2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years" to reach 24 matching characters:

RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r"5j5&?OWTY Z0d...

Again I repeat, there must be a God.



[11]^ a b "No words to describe monkeys' play". BBC News. 2003-05-09. Retrieved 2009-07-25.

[12]^ "Notes Towards the Complete Works of Shakespeare" (PDF). 2002. Retrieved 2006-06-13.

[13]^ "Monkeys Don't Write Shakespeare". Associated Press. Wired News. 2003-05-09. Retrieved 2007-03-02.

[25]^ Acocella, Joan "The Typing Life: How writers used to write" The New Yorker April 9, 2007, a review of The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting (Cornell) 2007, by Darren Wershler-Henry


  1. Your proof of God is incorrect because you assume that human DNA was created entirely at random. In fact it evolved. It wasn't typed by monkeys, or created by any process resembling that.

    You also make the spurious claim that atheists believe that "given infinity, anything can happen." Nobody ever claimed this. You are attacking a straw man.

  2. The leap of faith evolutionists make is there must have been hundreds of thousands of "reincarnations" (so-to-speak) of the universe before life randomly self-appeared. So the universe banged into existence, lived a few billion years with no life within it, collapsed, banged again, etc. Eventually, one of those bangs produced life.

    I just want to know what banged the bang in the first place, since matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. (Without a supernatural origin, of course.)