Randomness in evolution

The usual term is stochastic processes and these are dealt with in many disciplines of science.

And I’m a theist who believes it was random and accidental. By chance. I think the only way Yahweh intervenes is by influencing people with the Holy Spirit.

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@ARus – There will be naysayers* that disallow for the existence of God, of course, and others that disallow the possibility of his providential intervention, not accepting the empirical evidence and the explicit meaning induced by the circumstance(s). So since God is timeless (or omnitemporal, ‘timeful’), there is no such thing as true randomness and that God is sovereign even over so-called random mutations. A Christian molecular biologist once told me,

…the most common mutations, transitions, are not really ‘copying errors,’ because the keto-enol transition of the base is driving them and the polymerase is working correctly. So if you’d like, that can be seen as providence more than chance.

That was one of the things that helped me accept evolutionary science, along with a few other factors. Losing a kidney was one of those, which I cover in a short detailed account here: Nephrectomy.

One of my favorite accounts of God’s providence is right here at BioLogos: Maggie’s testimony.

It is a wonderful mystery how God can orchestrate time and space – and timing and placing – to the benefit of his children, but the Bible is replete with such accounts, OT and New, and there are manifold in the last two millennia, as well.

Another one is here at BioLogos, too: My Turkish translator experience.


*Some will say that other religions have accounts similar to the ones listed here, but I would contend not so complex and as concatenated or nested.

He has no choice. And what is the plan?

No and no. It’s chance AND necessity.

You need to elaborate. Necessity means it is inevitable and it is impossible for a contrary to occur, and thus contradicts chance and accidental. On first look, you appear to indulge in a contradiction.

Not at all. Mutation is random. That can positively change the fitness of an organism, confer reproductive advantage. Faster, better, cheaper. Those aren’t random criteria selected by nature. This is utterly fundamental, foundational, definitional as to how life, evolution, works.

Evolution has some predictability. Maybe the word teleology is not correct but if you know the environment, you can predict what type of creatures are favored by natural selection.

One sign of this is parallel evolution. Species that are only distantly related have similar kind of adaptations if they live in the same environment. If we compare aquatic species with terrestrial species, it is easy to see that the environment has a predictable impact on what kind of animals live in the environment.

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If they exclusively mean philosophically random (i.e. unguided), then yes, that is philosophy, not science. If they include chaotic probabilistic events (e.g., dice rolls, where there are a low, set number of outcomes that are highly dependent on initial conditions), thoroughly chaotic events (like weather: exact knowledge of initial conditions could predict it perfectly), and quantum-mechanically random events (known probabilities, no way to measure without altering), then that is completely disjoined from reality.

God has many plans for people.

The first creation story tells us God’s plan is for people to be stewards of creation.
The second creation story tells us God’s plan is for a man to take care of His wife.

And Jesus, God in human form, came that we might have life “to the full.”

And Ephesians 1:10 mentions an overall plan. Here it is in context:

He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight

9 he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ,

10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will,

12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.

That’s what we said. There is no divine plan apparent in nature. If God grounds nature, then it is for a positive transcendent purpose for all, yes. That’s the deconstruction of what we said. And we said what we said as the result of belief in incarnation, the only warrant we have for God at all.

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Tough question. Those random mutations which enable an organism to better fit its environment contribute to its progress.

Fair enough. There is obviously enough freedom in the system for us to see it differently. I’ve never thought in terms of what must be true in order for my life to be worth it. At one point in my mid twenties when when I found my experience and interest in the world flatlining, after a period of struggle I accepted the demotion. When I stopped trying to figure it all out I started noticing more. But it was no longer due to any cleverness of mine. I discovered just how much our lives are a gift and that has awakened wonder and still more gratitude.

No wonder we are so compatible. I’m a nontheist who isn’t so sure.

Yes. That was the point of the article.

For me it just comes down to what can I prove without reasonable doubt.

When we look at things like is the universe actually fine tuned. We can’t really say. It’s beyond what we can do. Either one requires gaps to be filled with faith in science one day providing a answer or faith that a deity did it. We don’t even know for sure how it begin and what was before.

So I try to narrow the focus down a bit. I consider just earth and our local solar system. If I try to say it’s designed it’s just to messy. Did it all work out? Obviously it did. But I think it most likely happened by chance and not supernatural effects. If God controlled whatever blew up to create the sun, and God controlled whatever broke apart and came back together to be earth then there is just no evidence for it. I can’t say that Jupiter is the right size and location because God made it so because that means God would also have to had controlled what erupted and collected to become that planet. Which in return would mean he controlled how those objects ended up where they did which means he would have to have made sure that no other planets or stars got in its way snd so on. FR simpler to just accept a bunch of random events over billions of years just happened to line up right for earth, and possibly lots of other planets.

I also don’t believe that God directed meteors to hit earth wiping out dinosaurs opening up a chance for mammals to expand resulting in these squirrel like creatures to slowly become monkey like and eventually us. If he did that would mean he took away some free will. After all id those squirrel like creatures mated differently or split apart and so on everything could have changed. Then it comes down to if God controlled all of that then what about us? Did God force our parents in a mysterious subtle way to come together so that we are born and exist. If so then that means he did the same for their parents and their parents all the way back to when he guided to knuckle walking primates to have a kid. It’s way to messy.

I think at most God set into motion whatever it is that resulted in the laws of the universe which resulted in everything we now see. I think because God knows all things he knew what was going to happen but that’s different from making it happen. He understands all the free choices we make.

I don’t believe there is any scientific reason to believe in God. I think when we see God in nature, and I believe that we can, that’s just as much philosophical meets cloud creatures as anything else. I believe because I simply believe and that’s all there is to it. I decide to have faith and that’s it. It makes many Christians and atheists mad when I say it but it’s simply the truth. I have no reason to not believe. I believe that God reached out with the Holy Spirit and that’s why I believe.

I could explain it better and more hopeful but I’m tired and craving pancakes and want to watch a 7 hour long documentary on Friday the 13th lol.

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There is no such information; rainfall is influenced by quantum events.

What’s tough about it? Nature progresses to greater complexity because it can. That’s not regress. The possibility of greater complexity exists up to and including within social minds. I suspect we’re beyond the inflection point on a logistic curve and technology can’t ever augment that much. The best we can hope for is equality of high quality life.

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I think I agree but I think you’ve condensed this in a way which carries the meaning for you but is not so accessible for the rest of us.

Meteorologists should give up and find another profession, weather forecasts confirm. :grin:

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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