Is Evolution a Chance Process?
KeywordsRandom, mutation, natural selection, convergence, providence
It is commonly thought that evolution is a chance process, an idea found in popular writings on evolution, but also in academic writing in a broad range of scientific disciplines: scientific, philosophical and theological. One problem is that words such as ‘chance’ and ‘random’ are used with a range of different meanings according to context, and in evolutionary biology the word ‘chance’ is sometimes used in a way that is different from its use in mathematics and philosophy. The present article aims to clarify the range of meanings and to argue the case that the evolutionary process is far from being a ‘theory of chance’ from biological, mathematical, or indeed philosophical and theological perspectives.
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