Pure Chance Is a Critical Factor in Darwinism
in Spite of Evolutionists' Denials

Dr Jerry Bergman — Author, Speaker, Professor

(Investigator 209, 2023 March)

French-American biochemist Jacques Monod (1910-1976) opines that mutations (damage to the genomic code) are the source of variety that is the engine of evolution. Monod adds that mutations are "accidental … random occurrences" which

constitute the only possible source of modifications in the genome text, itself the sole repository of the organism's hereditary structures, [therefore] it necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observable and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition—or the hope—that on this score our position is likely to be revised.1

The problem is that the vast majority of mutations are either near-neutral, meaning slightly harmful, or are deleteriously harmful, often lethal. Monod also wrote, to emphasize his point, that “man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance.”2  Monod was not a minor fringe player in science, but one of the world's leading scientists. As evidence of his stature he was awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physiology. The quote above is from the English translation of his book Chance and Necessity, described as a short, but very influential, examination of the philosophical implications of modern biology.

Furthermore, the belief that humans emerged “by pure chance … [was] an opinion echoed by many other leading scientists.”3  An attempt to explain away this chance problem for evolution is given by science-writer Dr. Christie Wilcox who explained that

One of the toughest concepts to grasp about evolution is its lack of direction. Take the classic image of the evolution of man, from knuckle-walking ape to strong, smart hunter:
We view this as the natural progression of life. Truth is, there was no guarantee that some big-brained primates in Africa would end up like we are now. It wasn't inevitable that we grew taller, less hairy, and smarter than our relatives. And it certainly wasn't guaranteed that single celled bacteria-like critters ended up joining forces into multicellular organisms, eventually leading to big-brained primates!4

She added that

Evolution isn't predictable, and randomness is key in determining how things change. But that's not the same as saying life evolves by chance. That's because while the cause of evolution is random (mutations in our genes), the processes of evolution (selection) is not. … So while evolution isn't random, it is a game of chance. … mutations themselves are random, and the odds of the same mutations occurring in the same order are slim.5

In short, the source of genetic variety is chance mutations, but natural selection, she claims, is not due to chance but selective. The problem with this claim is that one of the world's leading paleontologists, University of Chicago's David Raup, concluded that natural selection is actually less important than chance. He reasoned in his book, Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck6,  that many, or most, species became extinct in the geologic past not because they were less-fit (meaning bad genes) but because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time (bad luck). Survival of the fittest is most often survival of the luckiest, or, as author John Whitfield puts it, survival of the likeliest.7

A Summary of  Raup's Argument

In other words, the evolution of life is not the result of a fair system of natural selection, as the survival-of-the-fittest doctrine teaches. Rather, most species die out because of bad luck, living in the wrong place at the wrong time, not because they are less-fit. In short, Raup's main thesis is that extinction is mostly due to random events caused by major catastrophes, such as floods, earthquakes, and severe droughts that cause extinction of most every animal in the area. This includes the most-fit, and is not related to the process of evolution that is part and parcel of the Darwinian natural selection concept.

The Chance Concept Fails

The problem with the chance concept conclusion of Monod and Wilcox is that

Life is ultimately about complex information processing, so it makes sense to seek a solution in the realm of information theory and complexity. Since biological information is not encoded in the laws of physics and chemistry  … where does it come from? …. Information cannot come into existence spontaneously … [and] there is no law of physics able to create information from nothing.8

Science and observable fact have driven objective scientists to the obvious conclusion that the only possible source of information is intelligence. The human genome contains the amount of information equal to four complete sets of the 26-volume Encyclopedia Britannica. The people of the book (Christians, Jews, and Muslims) believe that the superior intelligence responsible for the cosmos is the Being we call God. This is the only possible source of the complex biological information in the genome, not random chance.

Evolutionists Strike Back

The evolutionists' response to the conclusion that chance and mutations cannot create life, and the creation of intelligent life therefore requires an intelligent cause, is that this idea is “intentionally stupid.”9  Specifically Bolt opined that

Anyone—milkman or zoologist—who does not accept in 2012 that the theory of evolution is a correct scientific interpretation of the facts is being intentionally stupid. Such people are not just ignorant, they are deliberately ignorant. And they can be held accountable for that. An example of those who fall into that category are the advocates of ‘intelligent design.'10

Bolt claims that Michael Behe, Professor of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences at Lehigh University, is an American supporter of pseudo-science because he is part of

The Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle [which] plays a leading role in propagating this nonsense. This misleadingly named ‘scientific' institute is an Astroturf  body… funded by fundamentalist Christians. Behe is a senior fellow of the Institute and, as a prestigious professor of biochemistry, one of the heroes of the intelligent design movement, which is delighted to finally have a genuine professor among its members.11
Obviously Bolt, a Dutch philosopher, knows very little about intelligent design, and even less about the Discovery Institute. He did not do his homework. Neither did the leading evolutionist of the last century, Julian Huxley (1887-1975) grandson of T.H. Huxley, the first Director of UNESCO, a founding member of the World Wildlife Fund, the president of the British Eugenics Society (1959-1962). Huxley wrote 

At first sight the biological sector seems full of purpose. Organisms are built as if purposely designed, and work as if in purposeful pursuit of a conscious aim. But the truth lies in those two words “as if.” As the genus of Darwin showed, the purpose is only an apparent one… But the purpose, in the sense  of the awareness of a goal. ... does not enter into the basic machinery of the evolutionary process [which is purely the result of ‘chance' genetic mistakes and natural selection.12

As Dawkins notes, the problem in accepting evolution "is that of complex design" which appears to prove intelligent design. This problem of what is obvious to most people is solved by claiming that what is obvious is wrong because it “is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe” that chance ultimately turned nothing into everything.13

1    Pages 112 & 113 in Monod, J. Chance and Necessity, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1971.
2    Page 180 in Monod, J. Chance and Necessity, Alfred A. Knopf, 1971.
3    Page 27 in Davies, P. Life Force. New Scientist 163(2204):27-29, 18 September 1999.
4    Wilcox, C. Evolution: A Game of Chance. Scientific American, 11 January 2012,         

5    Wilcox, 2012.
6    Raup, D. Extinction Bad Genes or Bad Luck. Introduction by Stephen Jay Gould. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1991
7    Whitfield, J. Survival of the Likeliest. PLOS Biology, 5(5):e142, May 2007.
8    Page 29 in Davies, P. Life Force. New Scientist 163(2204):27-29, 18 September 1999.
9    Page 16 in Bolt, R. The Encyclopedia of Liars and Deceivers, Reaction Books, London, 2014.
10    Bolt, 2014, p. 16

11    Page 177 in Bolt, 2014.
12    Page 7 in Huxley, J. Evolution in Action. Harper & Brothers, New York, 1953.
13    Pages ix & xi in Dawkins, R. The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design. Norton, New York, 1986.