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Risk, Chance, and CausationInvestigating the Origins and Treatment of Disease$
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Michael B. Bracken

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300188844

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300188844.001.0001

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Chance and Randomness

Chance and Randomness

(p.15) Two Chance and Randomness
Risk, Chance, and Causation

Michael B. Bracken

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses how scientists measure chance as a probability or likelihood that ranges from zero to unity (0 to 1). The extremes are rarely, if ever, necessary since “certainty” almost never occurs. The chapter discusses the theory of evolution and asks the question whether it is a chance event or not. It is argued here that it is most probably not. The right mix of commonplace chemicals in a Goldilocks environment makes it highly probable that strands of DNA will form, resulting in an evolutionary process beginning relatively quickly. This means that forms of life will evolve which perfectly adapt to all the ecological niches of their planet. The chapter also contends that evolution is not a theory, in the sense that there is uncertainty about its main principles, any more than the theory of relativity is still a theory.

Keywords:   chance, probability, certainty, theory of evolution, chance event, Goldilocks environment

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