. 7
( 7)

have “ that the probability of a life-bearing planet on which
something like ourselves would emerge is so small that no God
could have used such a risky procedure to create it. According
to my earlier analysis, this is simply not true. Maybe God™s
purposes did not require it to be on this particular planet at this
particular epoch that we made our appearance. Perhaps there
are innumerable other places where it could have happened.
Provided only that the number of possible times and locations
was suf¬ciently large, the chance of ultimate success could, as
we have seen, be made very close to certainty.
If we move on to the evolution of life on earth we have seen
that this, too, may not have been such a risky undertaking as
Overman and his kind have supposed. There is the possibility
that life might have been almost certain to arise in the condi-
tions of the primeval earth. Apart from the chemical evidence
there is Kauffman™s work on self-replication, which suggests,
even if it does not yet prove, that autocatalytic processes are
capable of producing self-replicating entities. But once life
got under way for whatever reason, the phenomenon of con-
vergence seems likely to have severely limited the number
of possible outcomes, making sentient beings like us almost
inevitable. God is not bound by our notions of economy and
it enhances rather than diminishes our place in the scheme of
God and risk 237
things to know that it took a universe as big as this to bring
us into being. The risk of ultimate failure which God took
would then be negligible. As Stuart Kauffman puts it, we are
˜at home in the universe™.7
But if the merest hint of a residual risk leaves us feeling
uncomfortable, perhaps we should re¬‚ect that if God is greater
than anything we can conceive, it might be the case that any
enterprise worthy of his nature would have to push at the very
limits of what is possible.
More worrying, perhaps, are the historical risks, most
notably of the Incarnation. If the redemption of humankind
required the ultimate con¬‚ict between good and evil expressed
in the Cross and Resurrection, and if this could not be guar-
anteed under normal conditions of human existence, where
does that leave us? The position is only slightly eased if we
allow that the ¬nal con¬‚ict might have resolved itself in a
variety of equally effective ways. It raises the unanswer-
able question of whether there could have been as many
attempts as necessary. There seems to me to be no over-
whelming theological objection to such an idea but we should
not take this option too eagerly as there are other alterna-
tives. There is the important principle of likelihood infer-
ence (or inference to the best explanation, in the language
of philosophers) which I have used before and which comes
into play again. I have also dealt with it at some length in
two earlier books (Bartholomew 1984 and 1996) so will not
go into details now but only note that it has wider appli-
cations. If we had made reasonable calculations prior to the

This is the title of Kauffman (1995) which was the ˜popular™ version of

Kauffman (1993). The title was designed to convey the core idea of the
earlier book that life may have been an almost inevitable outcome of the
complexity of the primeval world. Self-organisation was the key principle
at work.
God, Chance and Purpose
birth of Jesus we would doubtless have concluded that the
Incarnation was an extremely risky event. But we do not
stand at that point.8 We have to consider the question with
all the information available to us now “ and that includes
our own existence. That fact has to be brought into the argu-
ment. The likelihood principle used says that we should judge
contending hypotheses by the probabilities they assign to the
actual outcomes, not those which might have occurred but did
not. Therefore any hypothesis which gives a relatively high
probability to the occurrence of a ˜successful™ incarnation is
to be preferred to one which does not. Those probabilities
which, calculated in advance of the event and much favoured
by scientists untutored in statistical inference, give extremely
small probabilities to life and historical happenings should
therefore be rejected in favour of any hypotheses which make
them more likely. The relevance of this argument to the risks
of the Incarnation is that since all the things which might have
thrown it off course did not, in fact, happen then we should
favour hypotheses which do not make it appear so risky. I
do not pretend that this is easy, because of the need to af¬rm
the full humanity of Christ, but it should cause us to exer-
cise caution in rushing to conclusions. Any suggestion that
we might go beyond likelihood inference and use a Bayesian
analysis runs into the insuperable problem of enumerating
the contending hypotheses and assigning prior probabilities
to them.

One way of characterising the difference between the likelihood approach

and the frequentist approach of Neyman and Pearson is by reference to
the stage in the process at which probabilities are calculated. If we wait
until the data are available we consider the probabilities which a range
of hypotheses would assign to those data. In the frequentist approach we
calculate the probabilities of the different outcomes which are possible
before they happen.
God and risk 239
The next risk to consider is the one which God took in cre-
ating a world where there would be autonomous beings capa-
ble of exercising their own will and acting contrary to their
maker™s intentions. In this case the very notion of free will
implies a risk, but again we have to distinguish the local and
individual effect from the global and collective. The Law of
Large Numbers may, again, determine long-term outcomes,
not in spite of, but because of the exercise of individual free-
dom. When to this we add the positive gains for human devel-
opment, the ¬‚exibility and adaptability that require the world
to be a risky place, the case may have been overwhelming for
doing it this way, even supposing that there was any choice in
the matter.
But does the world need to be such a risky place given
the immense amount of suffering which this seems to entail?
In responding it is customary to distinguish ˜natural™ suffer-
ing from that which can be laid at the door of humankind.
We are only now beginning to recognise the long-term and
far-reaching damage that can be done by the human race.
Nowadays we not only have to put the harm that one does
to another on the human side of the ledger but increasingly
it is becoming clear that the many so-called natural disasters,
involving climate and ecology, are the (often unwitting) con-
sequences of human greed and ambition. Nevertheless much
remains in the realm of accident which cannot obviously be
blamed on anyone. However, having abandoned the deter-
ministic world-view, we cannot lay the blame directly on God
either “ a view for which there is good scriptural warrant (in
Luke 13. 2“4; John 9. 3, for example). This is a considerable
help because it provides us with an answer to the oft-posed
question: ˜Why me?™ The paradoxical answer is ˜For no reason
whatsoever™; the suffering is not a targeted response on the part
of God to some speci¬c misdemeanour. This is a very positive
God, Chance and Purpose
bene¬t for theology. We are familiar with the moral difference
between having direct responsibility for some heinous act and
a more general responsibility. For example, we do not accuse
the Prime Minister of being personally responsible for every
personal misfortune which results from government legisla-
tion. He and his government are, of course, responsible in a
general sense, as God is, but the moral implications are not
the same.
So we are left with the conundrum with which we started.
We have to explain why there is so much suffering in the
world. Even if it is not totally avoidable could not the all-
powerful, all-knowing God of na¨ve orthodoxy have made a
better job of it? I strongly suspect, for reasons set out above,
that the answer is a categorical no. The possibility of a world
capable of supporting free individuals, tested and tempered
by the uncertainties of life and destined for union in Christ
seems to demand risk on the grand scale. Leibniz may have
been right after all when saying that this was the best of all
possible worlds. That is impossible to know, of course, but
I have already given grounds for believing that complexity,
which is essential to life, cannot exist without the potential
for accident. There is certainly no ground for believing that
any God worthy of the name could do better. We simply
have no basis for such a conclusion, having no idea whether
other worlds might be possible. I suspect the chief constraining
factor responsible for this conclusion is the need to allow for
free will. We value our free will above almost everything; our
human dignity depends upon it and it is that which sets us
apart from the rest of creation. But if we as individuals are
free, then so is everyone else, and that means the risks created
by their behaviour, foolish or otherwise, are unavoidable. To
forego risk is to forego freedom; risk is the price we pay for
our freedom.
God and risk 241
The real question then is not why God chose to create this
world but why he should have created anything at all. That is
a big question for another day but in approaching it we might
start by asking ourselves whether we would have preferred
not to have existed. What we do know is that God did not
exclude himself, in Jesus, from the human consequences of
his choice to create this universe.

a c r i t i c a l o rt h o d oxy
The path we have followed gives us the bones of a critical
orthodoxy appropriate for an uncertain world. If my argument
is correct, the threats to God™s omnipotence, omniscience and
providence are mistaken; the answer to the question ˜Is God
a risk taker?™ is a quali¬ed yes. This answer is not only in
relation to his prime objective but in many of the secondary
events and outcomes along the way. God™s omnipotence thus
remains intact because total control is simply not possible
and God cannot do what is logically impossible. However
our view of the matter is greatly enlarged when we glimpse
the ingenuity in the interplay of chance and necessity. His
way of working involves far greater subtlety than the crude
mechanical analogy of na¨ve orthodoxy.
My response to the second question is that accidents are
an inevitable consequence of there being a world suf¬ciently
complex for life to exist. Hence suffering is unavoidable. God™s
omniscience is unchallenged because, although he knows all
that can be known about the good and bad, the original act
of creation carried with it certain implications which must
have been recognised and could not be altered now without
self-contradiction. God could and did take upon himself, in
Jesus, the consequences of his decision to create in the ¬rst
God, Chance and Purpose
His providence is to be seen in the rich potential with which
the creation is endowed. The future is not wholly prede-
termined and hence is open to a measure of determination
by God and ourselves. God™s purposes are achieved as we
align our actions with his will and, perhaps, also by his direct
All of this paints a picture on a canvas of breathtaking
proportions beside which na¨ve orthodoxy, with which we
started, appears unworthy of the God which nature and scrip-
ture reveals to us.

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Further reading

Most of the existing books relating to chance and purpose have been
referred to in the text and are listed in the References. Some, however,
have been omitted because they have been superseded by more recent
books covering the same point and others because they deal with the
same issues in a more general way or from a different perspective. An
exhaustive listing of those in the latter category would be prohibitively
long but the following short list includes some of the most important.
In the main, these books come from the science side and a few provide
technical background at a popular level.

Brooke, John Hedley 1991. Science and Religion: Some Historical Per-
spectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Conway Morris, Simon 1998. The Crucible of Creation: the Burgess Shale
and the Rise of Animals. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Davies, Paul C. W. 1982. The Accidental Universe. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press
Eigen, Manfred and Winkler, Ruthild 1982. The Laws of the Game:
How the Principles of Nature Govern Chance. London: Allen Lane,
Penguin Books Ltd
Haught, John F. 2003. Deeper than Darwin: the Prospect for Religion in
the Age of Evolution. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press
Peacocke, Arthur, 2004. Creation and the World of Science: the Re-
shaping of Belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press (¬rst pub-
lished in 1979)
Peterson, Ivars, 1998. The Jungles of Randomness: a Mathematical
Safari. London: Penguin Books

Further reading 249
Prigogine, Ilya and Stengers, Isabelle 1984. Order out of Chaos: Man™s
Dialogue with Nature. London: Heinemann
Ruse, Michael 2004. Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: the Relation-
ship between Science and Religion Today. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press
Southgate, Christopher (ed.) 2005. God, Humanity and the Cosmos:
A Companion to the Science“Religion Debate (second edition,
revised and enlarged). London and New York: T. & T. Clark
Stannard, Russell (ed.) 2000. God for the 21st Century. Philadelphia:
Templeton Foundation Press, and London: SPCK
Stewart, Ian 1989. Does God Play Dice?: the Mathematics of Chaos
Oxford: Basil Blackwell
Watts, Frazer (ed.) 2007. Creation: Law and Probability. Aldershot, UK:
Ashgate Publishing Ltd

accidents, 21, 56“8 belief
action of God in world, see God™s action degree of, 70
in world nature of, 231“5
age distribution of human population, Bell Curve (normal law of error), 37n5,
38, 74 37“40
agent of causation, chance viewed as, 3, Bell, John, and Bell™s inequality, 199
Bernstein, Peter, 223
aggregation, 28“31 best explanation, inference to, 85“9, 96
human freedom and chance, 26“7, best of all possible worlds, 240
biblical citations
integral part of created order, chance 2 Corinthians 2.15, xii
as, 174 Genesis 1.2, 134
quantum theory and, 29, 149, 150 Job, 230
in random sampling, 166 John, 239
statistical laws and, 132“3 Luke, 239
total unpredictability, impossibility 1 Peter 1, 230
of, 221“2 Proverbs 31.10-31, xii
AIDS, 48 biological entities
algorithms, genetic, 170“1 combinatorial objects, mistakenly
anthropic principle, 82 treated as, 69n2, 110“11
approximate order, 51 Intelligent Design, role of bacterial
Arbuthnot, John, 79, 87, 103 ¬‚agellum in, 102, 109“11
arts, human use of chance in, 128n3, 167 biological processes, dynamic order in,
asteroids striking earth, 57, 228 40, 42“3
autopoietic process, 191 biomorphs, 184
Ayala, Francisco, 79 Boeing 747, chance assembly of, 80
bog, railway built on, 233
Bacon, Kevin, 43 Bohm, David, 141
ballot papers, position on, 88 Boolean nets, 41
Barab´ si, Albert-L´ sl´ , 43, 49, 50
a ao Born, Max, 143, 147
Bayesian inference, 94, 95“6, 114, 232n6, Bortkiewicz, Ladislaus von, 33
Brecha, Robert J., 141
Beadle, George, 178 bridge, very small probabilities in, 78, 85

Index 251
Buchanan, Mark, 43 God™s action in apparently random
Buridan™s ass, 220 choices, 216“17
buses, arrival of, 33“6 God™s choice of chance, 218“20
button scatter, random nets in, 47 in¬‚uencing factors (˜nature vs.
Byl, John, 14, 196, 197“205, 210, 219 nurture™), 215n3, 214“16
paradoxical relationship between,
Calvin, John, and Calvinism, 37n4, 203 211“12
Caputo, Nicolas, 88 randomness in human choice, 212“16
carrier pigeon, packages delivered by, statistical principle, choice as, 91
total unpredictability, impossibility
causation and chance, 24 of, 221“2
accident, 21 Christianity™s development as network,
agent of causation, chance viewed as, 50
Clark, Sally, 68“9, 71
3, 17
pure chance, 23 clocks, pendulum, 51
certainty, 18 coin tossing
cervical cancer testing, false positives aggregation, 29
and false negatives in, 87 approximate order, 51
Chaitin, Gregory, 63, 106 conditional probabilities, 73
chance, see God, chance, and purpose, game theory on decision-making
and more speci¬c entries, e.g. processes, 168“70
de¬ning chance in games, 158
chaos, 7 God™s choice of chance, 219
accidents and coincidences, 56“8 human sex ratio compared, 31
arising from order, 55“66 Intelligent Design argument and, 112
mathematical chaos (chaos theory), multiple probability and assumptions
of independence, 72, 124
7, 63“6, 142
order arising from, see order out of pseudo randomness of, 61
chaos statistical laws and, 120, 121“4, 127,
pseudo-random numbers, 58“63 128
quantum theory and, 142 coincidences, 56“8
statistical laws and, 134“5 combinatorial objects, biological entities
theological implications of, 65“6, mistakenly treated as, 69n2, 110“11
combinatorial (random) chemistry,
chemistry, random or combinatorial, 163“4
comparative methodology, Intelligent
chief executive, God viewed as, 152, Design argument™s criticism of,
206“7 113“14
children™s counting-out rhymes, 60 compatibilist view of free will, 200
Chinese Whispers, 25 conditional probabilities, 73“5
Con¬rmation Theory, 89n5. See also
choice and chance, 211“22
free will, 26“7, 192“5, 200“4, 214“16, Bayesian inference
congestion problems, use of Monte
game theory on decision-making Carlo methods to analyse, 161“2
processes, 167“70 consequences and determinism, 126“9
contingency, 22“3 degree of belief, 70
convergence in evolution, 82, 188, 190 Dembski, William, x, 12, 15, 85, 88,
97“102. See also Intelligent
Conway Morris, Simon, 82, 178,
Copernicus, Nicolas, 175 Denton, Michael, 80
cosmic level, 9, 29 Descartes, Ren´ , 22
cot deaths (SIDS) and probability design, chance not opposed to, 172
theory, 68“9, 71 determinism
counting-out rhymes, 60 in quantum theory, 139, 141
created order, chance as integral part of, theistic problems posed by, 117,
see integral part of created order, 125“9, 151“3
disorder, see entries at chaos; order
chance as
creation, doctrine of, 175“82, 207“10, Divine Action Project (DAP), 117, 137
Dowe, Phil, 3, 91
234, 236
Creationists, 184 Drake™s formula, 178
criminal prosecutions, see forensic dynamic order in biological processes,
science 40, 42“3
criminal prosecutions and probability
theory Einstein, Albert, 141, 149
order of probabilities, signi¬cance of elections
(prosecutor™s fallacy), 75“6, 81 ballots, position of candidates on, 88
SIDS (cot deaths), 68“9, 71 free choice and in¬‚uencing factors,
critical orthodoxy, development of, 231, 215
electric light bulbs, 41, 150
electromagnetism, 83
DAP (Divine Action Project), 117, 137 epidemiology, 48“9, 147, 163“4
Darwinism, 182“4, 187, 191. See also epilepsy, 52
evolutionary theory epistemological chance, 4, 20
Davies, Paul, 71 Erd¨ s number, 44
Davis, Tamara, 179 Erd¨ s, Paul, 44, 46
Dawkins, Richard, 111, 184“6, 227 error, normal law of (Bell Curve), 37n5,
decision-making processes, see choice 38
and chance Euclid, 8
deductive approach to knowledge, 231, evil, problem of, 225
evolutionary theory, ix
de¬ning chance, 4, 16“27 convergence in, 82, 188, 190
accident, 21 Darwinism, 182“4, 187, 191
contingency, 22“3 genetic algorithms, 170“1
free will, 26“7 growth of complexity in, 111
importance of, 16“17 independence assumptions and
knowledge and ignorance, 19, 20“1 multiplied probabilities, 185, 187
levels and scales affecting, 24 integral part of created order, chance
necessity, 22, 24“6 as, 182“92
pure chance, 23“4 Intelligent Design and, 98, 99, 184,
uncertainty, 17“20 191
Index 253
nature of belief and, 235 oppositional view of chance and
necessity and chance in, 22, 24“6 purpose, 1“7, 175
˜only a theory™ argument, 98 view of chance as within divine
risk, theology of, 236 providence, 99, 116, 172
exponential distribution, 34 God™s action in world, 6, 12“14
extraterrestrial life, 175“82 chance as God™s choice, 218“20
chance as integral part of, see integral
fairness and chance, 158“9, 166, 174 part of created order, chance as
false positives and false negatives, chief executive, God viewed as, 152,
87 206“7
female to male ratios, 31“2, 79, 87, as occasional intervention, 129“31,
103“5 152, 153
¬re¬‚ies, 52, 53 at quantum level, 140“3, 150“5
Fisher, Ronald, 12, 91, 100, 102, 103“5 as random, 151, 153
forensic science and probability theory in random events, 216“17
risk, see risk
order of probabilities, signi¬cance of
(prosecutor™s fallacy), 75“6, 81 statistical laws, God breaking and
SIDS (cot deaths), 68“9, 71 keeping: determinism, problems
free will and chance, 26“7, 192“5, associated with, 125“9; occasional
intervention, 129“31
200“4, 214“16, 239“40
frequency or probability distributions total unpredictability, impossibility
normal law, 37 of, 221“2
Poisson™s law, 34 gossip and rumours, 48“9
in quantum theory, 139“40, 141 Gould, Stephen J., 81, 186“9, 227
statistical laws and, 121“3, 131“2 Gregerson, Neils Henrik, 191, 223
as type of probability, 69 growing networks, 49

games Hawking, Stephen, 153, 154
of chance, 157“9 horse kicks, Prussian army deaths from,
decision-making processes, game 33
theory regarding, 167“70 Hoyle, Fred, 75n4, 80“1, 111
riskiness of, 230 human age distribution, 38, 74
Gassendi, Pierre, 22 human choice, randomness of, 212“16
human decision-making processes, see
Gauss, Carl Friedrich, 37
Gaylord Simpson, George, 178 choice and chance
genetic algorithms, 170“1 human freedom and chance, 26“7,
geometrical problems, human use of 192“5, 200“4, 214“16, 239“40
chance to solve, 159 human scale, 8
God, chance, and purpose, ix“xii, 1“15. human sex ratios, 31“2, 79, 87, 103“5
See also God™s action in world; human use of chance, 156“72
more speci¬c entries, e.g. de¬ning in the arts, 128n3, 167
chance fairness, ensuring, 158“9, 166
deterministic view, problems posed game theory on decision-making
by, 117, 125“9, 151“3 processes, 167“70
different perspectives on, 14“15 in games, 157“9
human use of chance (cont.) sovereignty of God, strong view
in genetic algorithms, 170“1 of, 196“7, 200, 203“4
for geometrical problems, 159 chief executive, God viewed as,
Monte Carlo methods, 160“2 206“7
random chemistry, 163“4 evolution, 14, 173“95
random sampling, 38, 164“6 human freedom, 192“5, 200“4
Huygens, Christian, 51 life in universe, existence of, 175“82,
ignorance and knowledge, 19, 20“1 reasons for, 173“5
Incarnation of Jesus into risky world, social order, 192“5
Intelligent Design, ix, 10“12, 97“115
228, 237
independence assumptions and bacterial ¬‚agellum, role of, 102,
multiplied probabilities, 70“3 109“11
Dawkins on evolution and, 185 basis of argument for, 97
in evolutionary theory, 185, 187 chance not viewed as within God™s
Intelligent Design, 110“11 providence by, 99
life in universe, existence of, 181 comparative methodology, criticism
statistical laws, 124 of, 113“14
very small probabilities, 79, 82, 84, eliminating explanations from
chance, 102“6, 107“9
individual level evolutionary theory and, 98, 99, 184,
collective vs. (aggregation), 28“31 191
free will and chance at, 26“7, logic of argument, 100, 109, 111“13
probabilistic resources, 108
human scale, 8 probability calculations, correctness
inductive approach to knowledge, 232, of, 100, 109“11
as science, 98, 114“15
inferences signi¬cance testing and, 100, 102,
Bayesian, 94, 95“6, 114, 232n6, 238 103“6, 107“9
to best explanation, 85“9, 96 speci¬ed complexity, 106, 108“9, 112
maximum likelihood, principle of, 92, as tautology, 109,
94, 95“6, 238 112
from random sampling, 164“6 universal probability bound, 107“9
very small probabilities in, see under
theology, scienti¬c inference as
model for, 232“5 very small probabilities
from very small probabilities, 85“9,
Jesus™ Incarnation into risky world, 228,
insuf¬cient reason, principle of, 84 237
integral part of created order, chance as,
Kauffman, Stuart, 40, 42“3, 46, 47, 163,
14, 173“95
advantages to concept of, 205“7 236
challenges to concept of, 196“210; by knowledge
Byl, 196, 197“205; free will, 200“4; deductive approach to, 231, 233
philosophical objections, 199; as ignorance and, 19, 20“1
scienti¬cally unwarranted, 198; inductive approach to, 232, 233
Index 255
multiplied probabilities, see
Large Numbers, Law of, 239
laws and lawfulness, see statistical laws independence assumptions and
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, 199n2, multiplied probabilities
Murphy, Nancey, 66n4, 151
levels and scales, 7“10 music, human use of chance in, 167
cosmic or macro level, 9, 29
degree of certainty/uncertainty and, na¨ve orthodoxy, 226, 231
natural selection, evolution by, see
individual level: collective vs. evolutionary theory
(aggregation), 28“31; free will and naturalism in modern science, 11
chance at, 26“7, 192“5; human ˜nature vs. nurture™, 215n3, 214“16
scale, 8 necessity and chance, 22, 24“6
meaning and, 7n3 negative exponential, 221
micro level, 9, 12“14, 29 (see also networks
quantum theory) Boolean nets, 41
life in universe, existence of, 175“82, epidemics, 48“9
growing, 49
207“10, 234, 236
light bulbs, 41, 150 Monte Carlo method used to analyse,
likelihood principle, 92, 94, 95“6, 238 162
Lineweaver, Charles H., 179 neural nets, 46
Lipton, Peter, 89 number of links per node, 50
literature, human use of chance in, 128n3 order in, 45“50
Lorenz, Edward, 64 random nets, 46“9
rumours and gossip, 48“9
macro level, 9, 29 scale-free, 50
male to female ratios, 31“2, 79, 87, 103“5 World Wide Web, 49
Manchester and Liverpool Railway, 233 neural nets, 46
mathematical chaos (chaos theory), 7, Newton, Isaac, 8, 118, 226, 234
Neyman-Pearson criterion, 86, 105, 112,
63“6, 142
maximum likelihood, principle of, 92, 113, 114, 238n8
Nightingale, Florence, 118“21
94, 95“6, 238
mental construct, wave function in normal law of error (Bell Curve), 37n5,
quantum theory as, 147 37“40
meteors striking earth, 57, 228 No¨ y, Le Comte du, 75n4, 79, 111, 185
methodological naturalism, 11 nuclear force
micro level, 9, 12“14, 29. See also strong, 83
quantum theory weak, 83
Milgram, Stanley, 44
Minsky, Marvin, 212“14 observables in quantum theory, 139
miracles, 30, 133 observations in quantum mechanics,
Moivre, Abram de, 33 paradoxical effect of making, 142,
Monod, Jacques, 3, 11, 25, 227 143“50
Monte Carlo methods, 160“2 odds, probability expressed as, 69
Moray, Robert, 52 O™Leary, Denyse, 184
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 167 omnipotence of God, 225, 241
probability theory, xi, 4, 67“76. See also
omniscience of God, 5, 225
ontological chance, 4, 23, 196, 197. See very small probabilities
also integral part of created order, comparative methodology,
chance as Intelligent Design argument™s
oppositional view of chance and criticism of, 113“14
purpose, 1“7, 175 conditional probabilities, 73“5
order, chaos out of, 55“66 correctness of calculations,
order out of chaos, 28 importance of, 67“8, 78, 79, 81
aggregation, 28 (see also degree of belief, 70
aggregation) expression of probabilities, 69
frequency probabilities, see
approximate, 51
coin tossing, 29, 31, 51 frequency or probability
dynamic order in biological distributions
processes, 40, 42“3 Intelligent Design™s probability
in networks, 45“50 calculations, correctness of, 100,
normal law of error (Bell Curve), 109“11
knowledge and ignorance, 20“1
37n5, 37“40
multiplied probabilities, see
Poisson™s law, 32“7
in random sampling, 166 independence assumptions and
sex ratios, 31“2 multiplied probabilities
˜small world™ phenomenon, 43“5 number, expression as, 69
spontaneous synchronicity, 28 numerical measure of uncertainty,
statistical laws, 29“30 probability as, 67
Osler, Margaret J., 22 odds, expression as, 69
Overman, Dean L., 2, 3, 4, 7, 14, 15, order of probabilities, signi¬cance of
(prosecutor™s fallacy), 75“6, 81
40n6, 75n4, 77“9, 80, 99, 185, 197,
quantum theory and, 143, 151
prosecutor™s fallacy, 75“6, 81
paint spray droplets, 160 Prussian army deaths from horse kicks,
Peacocke, Arthur, xi, 200 33
pendulum clocks, 51 pseudo-random events, 204, 219, 220
personifying chance as agent of pseudo-random numbers, 58“63, 125
causation, 3, 17 pure chance, 23“4, 197, 201
purpose, see God, chance, and purpose
philosophical objections to chance as
integral part of created order, 199
philosophy and statistics, parallels quantum theory, ix, 12“14, 136“55
between, 89n5 as aggregate of processes, 149
pigeon, packages delivered by, 90 aggregation and, 29, 149, 150
Poisson, Sim´ on-Denis, and Poisson™s
e basics of, 137“40
law or distribution, 32“7, 180, 218 chaos theory and, 142
Polkinghorne, John, 66n4, 139, 141, 147 determinism in, 139, 141
Pollard, William, 151 frequency or probability
Popper, Karl, 89n5, 232 distributions in, 139“40, 141
principles, see under speci¬c principle, God™s action in world and, 140“3,
e.g. suf¬cient reason, principle of 150“5
probabilistic resources and Intelligent God™s choice of chance and, 218“20
Design, 108 observables, 139
Index 257
observations, paradoxical effect of sovereignty of God and, 226, 235
making, 142, 143“50 theology of, 235“41
probability theory and, 143, 151 world, theological implications of
Schr¨ dinger™s cat, 143“50
o riskiness of, 227“9
statistical approach to, 136“37, rumours and gossip, 48“9
Ruse, Michael, 100
superposition of multiple events, 142, Russell, Robert John, 151
R¨ st, Peter, 155n8
uncertainty in, 137, 151
wave function in, 139, 143, 147 sampling, random, 38, 164“6
Quetelet, Adolphe, 119n2, 194n11 SARS, 49
queueing theory, 161n2, 161“2 Saunders, Nicholas, 137, 138, 140
scale-free networks, 50
scales, see levels and scales
radioactive emissions
God™s action in random events, Schr¨ dinger™s cat, 143“50
God™s choice of chance, 218 biblical view reinforced by lawfulness
integral part of created order, of, 226
challenges to chance as, 198 Intelligent Design as, 98, 114“15
normal law, 39 theology, scienti¬c inference as
Poisson™s law, 36, 218 model for, 232“5
statistical laws, 131“2 SDA (special divine action), 138
total unpredictability, impossibility sex ratios, 31“2, 79, 87, 103“5
of, 221“2 SIDS (cot deaths) and probability
railway built on bog, 233 theory, 68“9, 71
random chemistry, 163“4 signi¬cance testing
random nets, 46“9 Intelligent Design and, 100, 102,
random numbers, genuine, 59 103“6, 107“9
random sampling, 38, 164“6 very small probabilities, 85“7
Rappoport, Anatol, 46 ˜six degrees of Kevin Bacon™ game,
rationality, chance not opposed to, 172 43
Sliding Doors (¬lm), 128
rejection sets and signi¬cance testing
Intelligent Design and, 100, 102, Small Numbers, Law of, 34
˜small world™ phenomenon, 43“5
103“6, 107“9
very small probabilities, 85“7 snooker, 230
relative probabilities and inference to social order, role of chance in, 192“5
the best explanation, 91“5 sovereignty of God, 5
R´ nyi, Alfr´ d, 44
e e accidents and coincidences, 58
Rhinehart, Luke, 128n3 chance and, 99
risk, 5, 223“42 integral part of created order,
bene¬ts of, 229“31 challenges to view of chance as,
critical orthodoxy, development of, 196“7, 200, 203“4
risk and, 226, 235
231, 241“2
free will and, 239“40 statistical laws and, 125
God as risk-taker, 223“7 special divine action (SDA), 138
Incarnation of Jesus and, 228, 237 speci¬ed complexity and Intelligent
nature of belief and, 231“5 Design, 106, 108“9, 112
spontaneous synchronicity, 28 Tegmark, Max, 72
spray paint droplets, 160 theistic evolutionists, 184
Sproul, R. C., 1“2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 14, 28, Till, Howard van, 110
total unpredictability, impossibility of,
99, 197
statistical approach to quantum theory, 221“2
Twain, Mark, 53
136“7, 143“50
statistical laws, 6, 116“35. See also
speci¬c laws, e.g. normal law uncertainty
aggregation and, 132“3 chance as, 17“20
breaking and keeping: determinism, games of chance and, 157
problems associated with, 125“9 probability as numerical measure of,
occasional intervention, 129“31 67
chaos and, 134“5 in quantum theory, 137, 151
coin tossing, 120, 121“4, 127, universal probability bound, 107“9
universe, existence of life in, 175“82,
consequences and determinism, 207“10, 234, 236
as constraints, 30 very small probabilities, 77
de¬ned, 118 correctness of calculations,
descriptive vs. prescriptive, 30 importance of, 78, 79, 81
fate, viewed as, 118“21 Dawkins on evolution and, 185
frequency or probability inferences drawn from, 85“9, 96;
distributions, 121“3, 131“2 Bayesian inference, 94, 95“6, 114;
keeping and breaking, 124“5 best explanation, inference to,
miracles, 30, 133 85“9, 96; maximum likelihood,
non-statistical laws distinguished, 118 principle of, 92, 94, 95“6
order out of chaos, 29“30, 53 Intelligent Design: comparative
as process, 120“4, 131“2 methodology, criticism of, 113“14;
radioactive emissions, 131“2 multiplied probabilities and
randomness, intertwining with, 33 assumption of independence,
theistic and atheistic approaches to, 110“11; speci¬ed complexity, 106;
universal probability bound, 107“9
statistics and philosophy, parallels multiplied probabilities and
between, 89n5 assumption of independence, 79,
Stephenson, George, 233 82, 84, 110“11
Strogatz, Steven, 52, 127 order of probabilities, signi¬cance of
strong nuclear force, 83 (prosecutor™s fallacy), 76
suf¬cient reason, principle of, 199 signi¬cance of, 78
superposition of multiple events in signi¬cance testing, 85“7
quantum mechanics, 142, 143“50 theistic signi¬cance attributed to,
Swinburne, Richard, 89n5, 94, 232n6 78“85
synchronicity, spontaneous, 28 voting
ballots, position of candidates on, 88
tautological nature of Intelligent Design free choice and in¬‚uencing factors,
argument, 109, 112 215
Index 259
Ward, Keith, 189“90, 192, 200 likelihood ratio and, 96
wave function in quantum theory, 139, Wesley, John, 234
Wickramasinghe, N. Chandra, 75n4,
143, 147
weak nuclear force, 83 80“1, 111
weather Wildman, Wesley, 117
chaos theory and, 63“6 World Wide Web, 49
inference from the best explanation
and, 92“4 young earth Creationists, 184


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