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Abraham's DiceChance and Providence in the Monotheistic Traditions$
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Karl W. Giberson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190277154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190277154.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 August 2021

Chance, Uncertainty, and Unknowability in the Universe and Beyond

Chance, Uncertainty, and Unknowability in the Universe and Beyond

(p.36) 3 Chance, Uncertainty, and Unknowability in the Universe and Beyond
Abraham's Dice

John D. Barrow

Oxford University Press

Human attitudes toward divine action play a part in explaining why mathematical theories of chance—so important in modern science—did not develop in ancient times despite the universal prevalence of games of chance. The traditional Platonic and Aristotelian perspectives focused on different aspects of reality—the unchanging symmetries and unseen “laws” of nature, and the haphazard asymmetrical outcomes of these laws, respectively. This leads to the two categories of design argument—one from laws, the other from outcomes—found in natural theology. Exploring their interplay—still relevant today—addresses the question: “Is the world simple or complicated?” Chance, uncertainty, and unknowability play significant roles in contemporary cosmology, arising in the investigation of the beginning of the universe, the life-supporting properties of the universe, the finiteness of our visual horizon, and the possibility that a complicated multiverse exists, described by a fundamental Theory of Everything.

Keywords:   cosmology, chance, laws of physics, cosmological outcomes, cosmic history, complexity

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