Schroeder then calculates the probability of producing a Shakespearean sonnet. All sonnets are 14 lines long. The one he chose happened to have 488 letters in it. The chance that these monkeys would produce a sonnet like this by chance turns out to be a 1 followed by 690 zeros. If you wonder how big that is, Schroeder points out that the number of estimated particles (protons, electrons, neutrons) in the entire universe is only 1 followed by 80 zeros!.
“I was particularly impressed with Gerry Schroeder’s point-by-point refutation of what I call the ‘monkey theorem.” This idea, which has been presented in a number of forms and variations, defends the possibility of life arising by chance using
the analogy of a multitude of monkeys banging away on computer keyboards and
eventually ending up writing a Shakespearean sonnet.”
Schroeder first referred to an experiment conducted by the British National Council of Arts. A computer was placed in a cage with six monkeys. After one month of hammering away at it (as well as using it as a bathroom!), the monkeys produced fifty pages—but not a single word. Schroeder noted that this was the case even though the shortest word in the English language is one letter (a or I). A is a word
only if there is a space on either side of it. If we take it that the keyboard
has thirty characters (the twenty-six letters and other symbols), then the
likelihood of getting a one-letter word is 30 times 30 times 30, which is
27,000. The likelihood of getting a one-letter word is one chance out of
Needless to say, the very simplest living cell is incalculably more complicated than a Shakespearean sonnet! Most of us simply don’t have enough faith to believe the universe originated without some kind of intelligent designer.