I have written about this elsewhere, but I feel I should address the problems with rk2001's calculations. I agree absolutely with Jaez that these kinds of arguments are quite separate from moral or philosophical discussions about religion. Perhaps this is the scientific version of "If the Bible wasn't full of things you disagree with, would you start believing in God? - that is, "If I can prove that proteins CAN occur randomly, would you STOP believing in God?". I sure hope not, since it suggests your faith is on shaky foundations...

In fact, rk2001 has fallen into the exact same trap as many scientists - "if it has maths in, it must be true". The final figure given is already unimaginably large, but still an under-estimate! You might consider things like: availability of each amino acid, reversibility of peptide bond formation, cyclic peptide side-products etc etc. The worst counter-argument would be to go into a detailed study of these numbers, with probabilities and models and whatnot. This would only further put off anyone reading - and would only invite accusations of confusing the issue.

However that kind of response is unecessary since the solution is much, much simpler. I refute the probability calculations thus:

I can make proteins from amino acids at random.

It's really quite simple, just boil up some amino acids and you get protein. Now, rk2001's calculations show that the probability of any particular protein (one whose sequence you decided on before you started) appearing in the mixture is very tiny. This matters not at all - nobody specified a particular protein, and we didn't get one.

So the statement "The Probability of a Protein Being Formed by Chance is Zero" is wrong. The maths might be right, but it's answering the wrong question. As it happens, there is a lot of theory to support much more complicated scenarios for life's origins - but I don't think that the 'truth' of religious belief will be decided in the labs of molecular biology.

I've just thought of an even better counter-argument : polyglycine. It's monomers are achiral, it cannot form anything but peptide bonds and sequence doesn't matter. Experiments have shown that (gly)n forms some secondary structure, so I can confidently class them as proteins. So simple its funny. :)