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Category: Creationism and Intelligent Design

Darwin, God and chance

One of the enduring objections to evolution of the Darwinian variety is that it is based on chance, and so for theists who believe God is interventionist, it suggests that God is subjected to chance, and hence not onmi-something (present, potent or scient). Darwin and his friend Asa Gray debated this issue in correspondence, and it ended up as the final pages of his 1868 Variation (below the fold). Effectively, Darwin argued that we cannot “reasonably maintain” that God intended for chance events that are useful to humans or to the species concerned. It is this that I want to discuss, following a line of argument made to me by Phil Dowe in conversation. Phil and I intend to make a talk out of this sometime, so this is my taking of useful notes. [Late note: Phil’s views can be found here.]

First, let’s look at the text in question…