“If God didn’t make us then humans are just an accident.”
This saying is similar in its mechanics to that of the slippery slope argument, in that it is designed to invoke an emotional response at some level, namely anger or disgust. It is designed as an insult, as if saying that humans are the result of some accident is a bad thing. But are humans just the result of an ‘accident’ of some kind, and does it matter?
We must first define what we mean by the word ‘accident.’
Wikipedia describes it as “an undesirable incidental and unplanned event that could have been prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence.” This is the definition that we most commonly associate with the word, because an accident usually happens when you are dealing with some level of intent in the first place. By this definition, nothing in nature is an accident. But if you define an accident as “an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause” Then you have a better definition.
As far as we know, we evolved from our ancestors in a seemingly random way which was the result of our changing environment, and when you reach the beginning of life it is widely believed that complex chains of chemicals formed the first DNA. None of this indicates purpose. None of this indicates anything more than randomness.
Evolution works in a seemingly random process, but it is guided by the changes in the environment. It is not as if there was a big hat full of potential animal species and someone just picked out our card by ‘accident.’ As for the Big Bang, I would hardly call it an accident. As far as we are aware, the Big Bang was either created in some way due to matter and anti-matter, or that the singularity existed indefinitely, and a some point something happened to cause the expansion. There is a lot we don’t know, and an ‘accident’ does not describe it well.
There is randomness, there are coincidences, and there is probability, but calling our existence and the existence of the universe an accident is, I think, a poor choice of wording.
But do we care? Does it matter if we are the result of a long chain of events that was not planned out in advance? I don’t think so. Holding the position that we are super-special and made by God is, in my opinion, egotistical. We humans have a natural tendency to think of ourselves, and that we are the most important. Religion further confirms this.
Image courtesy of Pansa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net