Kate, I have read much of Dawkins work in the early days of my degree and for me, he was the first to HIGHLIGHT that the Christian argument was a problem of probability, He was the first for me to reduce the watchmaker argument to one of probability, what is the probability of something complex forming from something less complex. All he was saying was, if christians think that this is how the world works, then god being more complex than his creation, would himself need an even more complex designer than himself, IF CHRISTIANS are to use this argument.
After explaining this interesting reversal of the argument, he then moves on to life in the universe. The probability of it happening is low, but then with the age of the universe and the chemicsl lab that it is, it was going to happen...evident by the fact...IT DID. Humans are very bad at understanding and appreciating probability. How many people do you need in a room to likely have two people with the same birthdate?......... 21. If playing a quiz gameshow and there aee three boxes, one with the prize in, if you choose a box and then one non prize box is removed i.e. You now have two boxes one you chose and one remaining... What is the probability of owning the winning box, what should the player do when offered a swap? Well people think 'there are two boxes with one prize in one box, its 50/50' ....but it isnt, you should always ask to swap the box because of probability! The box you hold has 33.3% of bei b the prize, box two has 50% of being the prize. We have a terrible instinct for probability, so to use it to dismiss anything is unwise. Even the christisns with their silly numbers of improbability dont realise they see,saying it is still possible.
The miller experiment changed my perspective hugely. Amino acids forming from thin air in reconstructed early earth environments. Religious people dismiss the fact thst dna building blocks were formed from thin air by saying nobody knows the exact conditions of early earth, of course they are just trying to throw a blanket over the fact something formed from 'nothing' or thin air, nevermind it was the building blocks for dna! Christians and their dodgy math dont allow for the laws of physics naturally bringing atoms snd molecules together, instead they predict in ignorance that it all has to happen by accident.
I hear you kate, probability is important... But Biologists just want to know how something works, or IF something CAN work. We will never know all the factors and variables to know the probability of these events, so why spend time pretendiNg we can calculate them, besides... as we can see, it did happen.
The only other section I can think of where Dawkins discusses probability is talking about christisns and their examples of probability of life and evolution, JW's did it all the time, quoting ridiculous numbers of improbability. But they do bad math, they multiply every assumed probability of mutation over and over again to get a final number.... in reality its just the probabilty of each stage happening at each point They should be calculating for. It is very deceitful. They are also calculating the wrong element, instead of quantifying mutations, it should be on surroundings as they select the mutations, again as you can see this is incalculable due to the variables, so the math is made up bull crap. Either way... We watch evolution happening all athe time, every time it does we prove all those calculations impotent....