Jerry Coyne marvels at Rubik’s Cube:
Like everyone else, I once had a Rubik’s cube (the world’s best-selling toy, 350 million of them had been sold by 2009), but I am simply puzzle-illiterate, and gave it up quickly.
Coyne quotes Wikipedia:
The original (3�3�3) Rubik’s Cube has eight corners and twelve edges. There are 8! (40,320) ways to arrange the corner cubes. Seven can be oriented independently, and the orientation of the eighth depends on the preceding seven, giving 37 (2,187) possibilities. There are 12!/2 (239,500,800) ways to arrange the edges, since an even permutation of the corners implies an even permutation of the edges as well. (When arrangements of centers are also permitted, as described below, the rule is that the combined arrangement of corners, edges, and centers must be an even permutation.) Eleven edges can be flipped independently, with the flip of the twelfth depending on the preceding ones, giving 211 (2,048) possibilities.
which is approximately 43 quintillion.
The puzzle is often advertised as having only "billions" of positions, as the larger numbers are unfamiliar to many. To put this into perspective, if one had as many standard sized Rubik’s Cubes as there are permutations, one could cover the Earth’s surface 275 times.
And Coyne is right. The combinatorial possibilities are astonishing, and the likelihood of arriving at a combination that successfully solves the puzzle is nil, unless intelligence is applied.
Living things are an immensely more complex "solution" to adaptive puzzles than a solved Rubik’s Cube.
Darwinists will argue that evolution is not random. They will insist that while variation is random, natural selection is not.
Honest people will reply that we must look at evolution as a whole — random-variation-and-natural-selection. Evolution is a solution to an adaptive puzzle, just as a correctly aligned Rubik’s Cube is a solution to a puzzle.
Both solutions are impossible without intelligence, because quintillions of undirected combinatorial possibilities preclude success.
Life, like a solved Rubik’s Cube, is incontrovertible evidence for intelligent design.
Photo credit: Cathy Crose/Flickr.