Evolution Misconception #4 – Random, Chance Process
Evolution is a random, chance process.
How could all the complexity that we see today be the result of random chance processes?
Evolution as a random, chance process is impossible.
This is a misconception that gets mentioned a lot. And I mean A LOT!
Taken as a whole, evolution is not fundamentally a random, chance process.
It is almost impossible to summarise the response to this claim in a blogpost that aims to be short and to the point.
When scientists talk about ‘chance’ they mean one of two things:
(1) outcomes that are predictable in principle, but not in practice – eg, if we had information about every single sperm, and everything else about the environment, etc, we could predict which one would reach the egg first.
(2) outcomes that are not predictable, either in principle or in practice – eg, when a radioactive atom decays, we have no way of knowing when the next high-energy particle will be emitted.
There is a third type of ‘chance’ that people sometimes talk about, which refers to the idea that things happen without rhyme, reason or purpose. This type of ‘chance’ is NOT what scientists mean when they talk about ‘chance’.
(Many thanks go to Dr Denis Alexander for providing the above examples.)
Evolution is actually a very stringent set of mechanisms.
The next time you hear/read, ‘Evolution is a random, chance process’ (or something similar), tell yourself (and your children), ‘Evolution is NOT a random, chance process – it is a very stringent set of mechanisms.’