Joined: Mar. 2007
I'm posting this here because the "debate" has finally moved on to ID and I don't want to disrupt the progress that's being made.
It should be pointed out that Floyd has constructed a strawman by merely stating that Ken Miller called humans "lucky accidents" in Finding Darwin's God.
Miller does acknowledge that the existence of humans is based on a series of contingent events in natural history, but he goes on to point out that each and every one of us is the result of such contingencies in human history.
|The biological account of lucky historical contingencies that led to our own appearance on this planet is surely accurate. What does not follow is that a perceived lack of inevitability translates into something that we should regard as incompatibility with a divine will. To do so seriously underestimates God, even as this God is understood by the most conventional of Western religions.|
Yes, the explosive diversification of life on this planet was an unpredictable process. But so were the rise of Western civilization, the collapse of the Roman Empire, and the winning number in last night's lottery. We do not regard the indeterminate nature of any of these events in human history as antithetical to the existence of a Creator; why should we regard similar events in natural history any differently? There is, I would submit, no reason at all. If we can view the contingent events in the families that produced our individual lives as consistent with a Creator, then certainly we can do the same for the chain of circumstances that produced our species.
The alternative is a world where all events have predictable outcomes, where the future is open neither to chance nor to independent human action. A world in which we would always evolve is a world in which we would never be free. To a believer, the particular history leading to us shows how truly remarkable we are, how rare is the gift of consciousness, and how precious is the chance to understand.
In other words, contingent events are a part of our existence. They are built into the very fabric of the universe. If a Christian rejects the evolutionary history of life because it has involved unpredictable processes that could have resulted in a very different outcome, then those same Christians should also be required to reject all other scientific explanations that include unpredictable processes.
For instance, does the contingent nature of the sorting of chromosomes during meiosis mean that all humans are merely "lucky accidents" whose existence had nothing to do with the will of God?
Is the apparently "random" nature of the joining of egg and sperm during fertilization incompatible with the belief that human beings are knit together by God in their mothers' wombs?
As Miller explains in FDG, all of us can point to specific, life-changing events that--when we look back--appear to have been entirely "random" or "indeterminate." And yet, Christians of all stripes are willing to accept these small-scale contingencies as part of the process by which we came to exist. I see no rational reason for Christians to reject evolution simply because it involves these same type of contingencies on a larger scale.