In terminology, blind is an adjective that tends to be employed, in an uncited manner, in evolution and or philosophical discussions, in respect to topics, such as origin and variety of species, e.g. "blind necessity" (Newton, 1867), concerning "forces" (e.g. blind force), or "chance" (e.g. blind random luck; blind random, accidental, chance, etc.); a laymanized anthropism, of sorts, of the electromagnetic force and or the gravitational force; often done as unwritten code for some type of religious objection, reaction, or retraction; a term used as synonym for ignorance of mode of action (Holbach, 1770).

Newton | Holbach
In 1687, Newton, in his Principia, stated the following on “blind necessity”: [6]

“From a physical and blind necessity, which should preside everywhere, and he always the same, there could not emanate any variety in beings; the diversity which we see, could only have their origin in the ideas and the will of a being which exists necessarily.”

In 1770, Baron d’Holbach, in his ridicule of Newtons’ theology, states the following on this peculiar term: [7]

“As for the ‘blind necessity’, as is elsewhere said, it is that of which we ignore the energy, or of which, being blind ourselves, we have no knowledge of the mode of action.”


Sometime going into the mid-20th century, or before, scientists began to employ the term “blind” in reference to physical forces, as some way as an explanatory tool, supposedly done as code for godlessness, or something along these lines; the following is one example quote:

“The whole intricate fabric of civilized life was a standing record of achievement, not by atoms pushed and pulled by blind purposeless forces, but by resolute minds working to pre-selected ends.”
James Jeans (1943), Physics and Philosophy [1]


In 1986, English zoologist Richard Dawkins published his The Blind Watchmaker, wherein he employed the term "blind" some 100+ times to explain the operation of Darwinian evolution, as he "saw" it, no pun intended. [4]

In 1995, Dawkins published his River Out of Eden, wherein he gives the following quote, oft-cited by anti-atheists: [2]

“In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

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In 2014, American political theory philosopher Curtis Johnson, in his Darwin’s Dice, devoted a number of pages discussing the use of the term “blind” in respect to causality-based evolution; the following being one example: [3]

“David Hull (2001) has urged evolutionary biologists and philosophers of biology to eschew any qualifying adjective for ‘variation’ in biological evolution. ‘Blind’, ‘random’, ‘chance’, or what have you, are ‘extremely misleading’ terms, insofar as they cannot be accepted as literally true. Variations are caused, he notes. No one working in this area doubts this, and neither did Darwin. ‘Chance’ and associated ideas might seem to suggest otherwise.”

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The following are related quotes:

“Those who have said that a ‘blind fate’ has produced all the effects that we see in the world have said a great absurdity; for what greater absurdity is there than a blind fate that could have produced intelligent beings?”
Charles Montesquieu (1748), The Spirit of the Laws (pg. 3) (Ѻ)

“I protest against that blind and thoughtless mode of investigating nature which has become generally established since that corruption of philosophy by Bacon and of physics by Boyle and Newton.”
Friedrich Schelling (c.1820)

“Think about atheism for a second. As an atheist, you must believe that you are the result of the purely mindless, random chance interaction of particles over an immensely long period of time—the classic monkey typing Shakespeare scenario. (I know that the origin of species involves natural selection—however what created our universe with natural laws, which make life possible? Blind chance) Being a soulless bag of chemicals created by unguided, meaningless random chance you of course have no free will. You are merely a zombie acting automatically according to the chemicals swishing around in your brain. I don't find this too plausible for many reasons.”
— Jacob Stein (2012), “Does Egyptian History Contradict the Torah”, Jan 10 [5]

See also
Forest blind

1. (a) Jeans, James. (1943). Physics and Philosophy (pg. 21). Dover, 2012.
(b) Rahim, S.A. (1990). “The Ideal Society and the Ideal Solution”, paper presented as the General Presidential Address by Prof. Dr. S. A. Rahim, University of Karachi, at the 28th Annual Seminar (June) of the Pakistan Philosophical Congress at Baragali, Peshawar.
2. (a) Dawkins, Richard. (1995). River Out of Eden: a Darwinian View (pg. 133). Basic Books, 2008.
(b) Jinn, Bo. (2013). Illogical Atheism: a Comprehensive Response to the Contemporary Freethinker from a Lapsed Agnostic (eB) (loc 5836). Sattwa Publishing, 2014.
3. (a) Johnson, Curtis. (2014). Darwin’s Dice: the Idea of Chance in the Thought of Charles Darwin (blind, random, chance, pg. 18; accident, 41+ pgs). Oxford University Press.
(b) Curtis Johnson (faculty) – Lewis & Clark College.
4. Dawkins, Richard. (1986). The Blind Watchmaker (natural selection, pg. 5; blind, 100+ pgs; random, 49+; chance, 37+ pgs; accident, 6+ pgs). W.W. Norton & Co.
5. Stein, Jacob. (2012). “Does Egyptian History Contradict the Torah” (Thread comment) (Ѻ),, Jan 10.
6. (a) Newton, Isaac. (1687). Principia Mathematica (pg. 528). Publisher, 1726.
(b) d’Holbach, Baron. (1770). The System of Nature: Laws of the Moral and Physical World (notes by Denis Diderot; translator: H.D. Robinson) (§:2.3: Examination of the Proofs of the Existence of God given by Descartes, Malebranche, and Newton, pgs. 225-; quote, pg. 230). J.P. Mendum, 1889.
7. d’Holbach, Baron. (1770). The System of Nature: Laws of the Moral and Physical World (notes by Denis Diderot; translator: H.D. Robinson) (§:2.3: Examination of the Proofs of the Existence of God given by Descartes, Malebranche, and Newton, pgs. 225-; quote, pg. 230). J.P. Mendum, 1889.

Further reading
● Broom, Neil. (1998). How Blind is the Watchmaker? Nature’s Design and the Limits of Naturalistic Science. Intervarsity Press.

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