By D. J. Bartholomew
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Extra resources for God of Chance
Part I says that the sex of any child is determined, at random, and 40 GOD OF CHANCE quite independently of any other birth. Part II specifies that in any particular case the chance is one half. Now it could happen that there was some (accidental) biasing mechanism in the process of sex determination which rendered one sex more probable than the other. The chance in Part II would then be something other than one half but the outcome in any case would still be uncertain. The new form of the hypothesis still involves no purposive action, chance still has a central role.
While it certainly exalts the power of God, it is power of the ‘brute force and ignorance’ variety, entirely lacking in the finer qualities of planning and control. In short it magnifies power at the expense of intelligence. It puts God on a par with the baboon in the limerick; There was once a hairy baboon, Who always breathed down a bassoon, For he said it appears In billions of years I shall certainly hit on a tune. It would, of course, still be possible to maintain that the personal attributes of the god, such as love and justice, were not inconsistent with this view.
Meynell claims that this is to adopt an impossible position. Where does the principle itself come from? Certainly not from science itself; it has to be introduced from outside. One cannot eliminate subjectivity from scientific research. Scientific theories determine the questions that are asked of nature and these are constructs of the human mind. It is at least debatable whether they correspond to anything in the real world. The mere fact that you can ask questions about the universe and obtain empirical answers implies something about its nature.