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Speaker: Jim Bradley, Mathematics Department emeritus, Calvin College

 Abstract:

Most of classic Christian theology denied the reality of chance, asserting rather that God controls all that happens. Furthermore, prior to the mid-19th century, scientists generally saw the physical world as deterministic. However, since that time, evolutionary biology and quantum physics have led a shift toward the view that the natural world is non-deterministic. But such a view has been problematic for Christian theology, especially for the Reformed tradition. In this talk, I will attempt to clarify what scientists mean by chance and how that differs from popular views. I will also argue (without using quantum mechanics) that the physical world really is non-deterministic. And I will conclude by engaging in some shameless speculations about why God might have made it that way.

October 2017
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