Saturday, July 02, 2011

Rota on Evolution, Providence, and Gouldian Contingency

This interesting paper by Michael Rota (University of St. Thomas) came out a few years ago, but I recently noticed that it's now available online.

Abstract: Stephen Jay Gould and others have argued that what we know about
evolution implies that human beings are a ‘cosmic accident’. In this paper I examine
an argument for Gould’s view and then attempt to show that it fails. Contrary to the
claims of Gould, Daniel Dennett, and others, it is a mistake to think that what we
have learned from evolutionary biology somehow shows that human beings are
mere accidents of natural history. Nor does what we know about the contingency of
evolution give us good reason to reject the view that human beings came to be
according to a divine providential plan.

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