God, Chance and Purpose: Can God Have It Both Ways?

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 21, 2008 - Science
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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.
 

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Contents

1 What is the problem?
1
2 What is chance?
16
3 Order out of chaos
28
4 Chaos out of order
55
5 What is probability?
67
6 What can very small probabilities tell us?
77
7 Can Intelligent Design be established scientifically?
97
8 Statistical laws
116
10 The human use of chance
156
11 Gods chance
173
12 The challenge to chance
196
13 Choice and chance
211
14 God and risk
223
References
243
Further reading
248
Index
250

9 Gods action in the quantum world
136

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Page 3 - ... chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among other possible or even conceivable hypotheses.
Page 3 - ... it necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind...

About the author (2008)

David J. Bartholomew is Emeritus Professor of Statistics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His numerous publications include Measuring Intelligence: Facts and Fallacies (2004).

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