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Evolution is a random, unguided process… and Mr. Plantingas effort to leave room for divine intervention is simply wishful thinking.

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Presentation on theme: "Evolution is a random, unguided process… and Mr. Plantingas effort to leave room for divine intervention is simply wishful thinking."— Presentation transcript:


2 Evolution is a random, unguided process… and Mr. Plantingas effort to leave room for divine intervention is simply wishful thinking.

3 A popular definition of randomness: Not having a governing design, method, or purpose; without order; without cause.


5 There isnt a consensus among experts! Its a family of related ideas. Two main features. Unpredictability Absence of pattern HTHTHTHTHTHTH... THTHHTTTTTHTH …

6 Is unpredictability due to the limits of our understanding? Is the absence of pattern due to our inability to perceive it? Or is the randomness a deeper property of the nature of things?



9 Gregor Mendel

10 A complex ecosystem

11 Osmosis

12 What would it mean to say no? With more knowledge we could predict outcomes, or with more knowledge we could find patterns, or there is a hidden causal agent producing the outcomes. However, the question cannot be answered scientifically.

13 Most likely, the situations I just described are exactly what they appear to be – random. Why this conclusion? Long experience. Im a realist. Generally things are the way they appear to be. God isnt trying to fool us – The creator is subtle but not malicious.


15 Coin flips Human births Osmosis Biodiversity The beauty of nature


17 Does randomness conflict with Calvinism?

18 TAC (Traditional Augustinian-Calvinist) Yes, God causally determines everything that happens. RFW (Randomness Free Will) No, God created randomness (including free will) and uses them to accomplish his purposes.

19 I proposed to bring forward my forces against Free- will. But I shall not produce them all for who could do that within the limits of this small book, when the whole of Scripture, in every letter and iota, stands on my side? Nor is there any necessity for so doing; seeing that Free-will already lies vanquished and prostrate…

20 Calvin and Luthers principal insight is the idea that we cannot save ourselves. They were speaking against a particular abuse at their time. The fields of probability and statistics trace their origin to roughly 1640 – well after the deaths of both Luther and Calvin. We can affirm their fundamental insight without affirming universal divine causal determinism.


22 TAC RFW Possibilities

23 Human births Osmosis Biodiversity Diffusion (air pressure) Key points – God can have it both ways – randomness & order – the subtlety of Gods control

24 God empowers and sustains nature rather than controlling it; God gives each of his creatures the capacity to be a causative agent in and of itself. Nevertheless, paradoxical as it may seem, God accomplishes his purposes.

25 Whats the role of randomness in evolution?

26 Each seed is the result of a random selection from many possible genetic patterns. Occasional mutations allow for creativity – changes that are outside the scope of the genomes capacity. Some seeds succeed in passing on their genetic material and some do not. The cumulative effect of these changes is that the gene pool is never static. My favorite definition of evolution is any change in the gene pool of a species.

27 A metaphor: Riding a bicycle down hill – I dont need to peddle. I just need to steer. Randomness is analogous to gravity – it keeps the evolutionary process moving. I doubt that we will find evidence of Gods direct action along the way other than the big picture of creation. (Perhaps in the origin of life and the origin of human consciousness.) Guided evolution?


29 Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. God intends for us to be stewards of creation. To be good stewards we need to understand how nature works. Evolution is a process we can understand. Evolution provides raw materials that we can use to exercise that stewardship - we can steer evolution.

30 Most numbers have no pattern – they cannot be generated by any computer. Dynamically stable systems that depend on randomness for their stability. Gods providence expressed in dramatically different ways at different levels. The incredible stewardship that God plans to entrust to us.

31 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.


33 Open future (God knows all that might be.) Simple foreknowledge (Knowing the future doesnt determine it.) Molinism (God knows future random events and has organized the world taking all of them into account.)

34 I will freely admit that foreknowledge alone imposes no necessity upon creatures, yet not all assent to this.

35 It: cannot offer a coherent interpretation of scripture. cannot be rationally affirmed. makes God the author of sin & denies human responsibility. nullifies human agency. makes reality into a farce. William Lane Craig

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