[asa] Re: chance (formerrly BioLogos - Bad Theology?)

From: Schwarzwald <schwarzwald@gmail.com>
Date: Thu May 28 2009 - 20:10:25 EDT

Heya Don,

Thank you. But let me be more specific: I have no problem imagining a
Designer who allows some chance to be at work in the universe, either
apparent (as in, we the created cannot figure out the reasons/'pattern') or
real (Open theism and the like, where God has tremendous yet still limited
knowledge). That I can get my head around, but my question isn't directly
related to theology.

But I mean, scientifically speaking, how does one determine an event - any
given event - was well and truly chance in the sense it was unforeseen,
unplanned, and unguided by anyone, God included? To me it seems like the
only kind of "chance" science can legitimately refer to is the sort that
reflects imperfect knowledge on our part.

On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 7:34 PM, Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz> wrote:

> Yes, it is a potentially foggy area. For some clarification I recommend the
> book "God, Chance and Purpose: Can God Have It Both Ways?) by David J.
> Bartholomew (Cambridge U.P., 2008). The product description reads:
> "Scientific accounts of existence give chance a central role. At the
> smallest level, quantum theory involves uncertainty and evolution is driven
> by chance and necessity. These ideas do not fit easily with theology in
> which chance has been seen as the enemy of purpose. One option is to argue,
> as proponents of Intelligent Design do, that chance is not real and can be
> replaced by the work of a Designer. Others adhere to a deterministic
> theology in which God is in total control. Neither of these views, it is
> argued, does justice to the complexity of nature or the greatness of God.
> The thesis of this book is that chance is neither unreal nor non-existent
> but an integral part of God's creation. This view is expounded, illustrated
> and defended by drawing on the resources of probability theory and numerous
> examples from the natural and social worlds. "
> Don N.
>
>
> Schwarzwald wrote:
>
>> One question I have about this entire debate...
>>
>> Is ascribing something to "chance" really a scientific statement, no
>> matter how thoroughly we know the conditions? I would understand if "chance"
>> were just a statement about the limitations of our knowledge. But are
>> "biological item X was created by chance" or "chance events resulted in
>> biological item X" scientific statements at all, at least in the opinion of
>> most here?
>>
>> From my layman vantage point, this seems like a foggy area to say the
>> least. I could say more, but I'd like to keep this simple, if anyone is
>> willing to respond.
>>
>>
>
>

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Received on Thu, 28 May 2009 20:10:25 -0400

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