Caution: Do Not Print This Page

This post from one of my newest favourite blogs, Tiny Frog, made me laugh so hard I had to post it here in its entirety:

While looking up some quotes on the D. James Kennedy book, I stumbled on a Christian grad school’s webpage (for Education 543, which looks to be a graduate level course) containing teaching materials for children. The author used Kennedy’s book for some of his “facts”. I just couldn’t help but laugh at this claim:

scientists have computed that to provide a single protein molecule by chance combination would take 10^262 years. Take thins pieces of paper and write “1” and then zeros after them – you would fill up the entire known universe with paper before you could write that number.

Wow. An amazing new fact I could only learn from a creationist! 10^262 cannot even be written! But, thanks to the *real-ultimate power* of the internets, we can actually see what this number looks like! (Warning, don’t print this webpage on your printer – it will use all the paper in the universe and still won’t be done printing!)


I’m going to hit print right now. Let me know when the outputted paper starts threatening to crush buildings under its phenomenal weight, and I’ll hit cancel.

14 Responses to “Caution: Do Not Print This Page”

  1. help! help! i’m being crushed!

    admittedly not by the paper, but by the sheer ignorance of some people. i wonder if they actually know how exponents work

  2. Con-Tester Says:

    Why is there never a good I’m-bashing-my-head-against-a-brick-wall emoticon around when you need one?

    Mind you, with place-value notation apparently somewhat beyond the average creationist’s intellectual reach, they probably are more comfortable using Babylonian or Roman numeration, in which case the assertion is actually true.

  3. It’s funny, and the guy is an idiot, but I suspect that he meant to say “…before you could count to that number.”

    I mis-speak a lot, too.

    Still, I want to know who these scientists are, and what calculations they used.

    This guy needs to be ridiculed for making shit up, not for failing to proof-read.

  4. John Marley: If he misspoke, then his entire metaphor doesn’t make much sense.

  5. I did say that he’s an idiot.

  6. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  7. That’s simply beautiful.

  8. Con-Tester Says:

    kyknoord: In future I’ll refer to you as “kykoos”, okay?

  9. Knowing creationists, I suspect it was lifted from one of Carl Sagan’s favourite analogies, where he explained that a googolplex could not be written on all the paper in the universe. It’s an impressive analogy, so I’m not surprised they thought it could be applied to just about any number that sounded big to them.

  10. residentRsole Says:

    For some reason, many people still think that evolution happens by chance rather than through the very slow process of natural selection. Evolution by natural selection is one of the most beautiful and elegant processes I have ever encountered. (Others include the BSP tree and the Carbon atom.)

  11. Be fair, Moonflake! They said, “you would fill up the entire known universe with paper,” not, “it will use all the paper in the universe.” What you have done is found an elegant and simple way to create paper, proving the creationists claims in the first place.

    Basically, the only difference between you and God is that his printer not only “separates the light from the darkness” like yours does, but makes animals after a few days. See? Its all in the Bible after all.

    Now let there be stationery.

  12. “you would fill up the entire known universe with paper before you could write that number.”
    You forget how small is the universe that creationist know. After all the whole thing is contaned in a single book.

  13. sailor: the problem i see, is that even that one book has enough paper for 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
    00000000000000000000000. unless you are reading the condensed abridged version. even the bible according to spike milligan has enough pages, and it is a lot shorter than the other popular ones

  14. yes, I think the problem is definitely one of not knowing the difference to “the power of” and “exponent of”. I suspect someone has read a little proverb about 2 to the power of 64 being all the rice grains in China a little too often.

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