Is evolution truly random? Chance as an ideological weapon in the 'evolution-creation' debate

October 2014
Science & Christian Belief;Oct2014, Vol. 26 Issue 2, p120
Academic Journal
The theory of evolution by natural selection has been debated by scientists and theologians of all faiths since it was first published by Charles Darwin in 1859. One of the core issues is the extent of chance's role in the evolutionary process and the consequences of random evolution on the classical understanding of the cosmos as a reality created by divine design and guided by a divine providence: if evolution is completely random, what place is left for God's hand? This crucial question has been given a wide array of diverging answers, ranging from the non-existence of evolution to the non-existence of God via several attempts to combine chance and design in a universal theory. This essay discusses the underlying concepts of chance and design displayed by three key movements in today's debate: scientific creationism - that evolution as a completely random process is antithetic to a providential faith; Intelligent Design - that the current theory of evolution is found lacking and must be completed by a divine design and designer; and scientific materialism - that evolution as a partially random but completely mindless process renders providence and design obsolete.


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