Here’s another consideration from my very cursory reading of Thomas Aquinas on providence.
As I showed in the first post Aquinas, writing in the 13th century, deals with the common patterns we see in the world (what we should call “Natural laws” – things always fall down, fire always burns etc); he deals with chance (a man meets his debtor coincidentally at the fair); he deals with human will (people make decisions freely, for good or ill). All these he places necessarily under the detailed control of God’s determining providence. I didn’t mention it, but he also includes miracles as certainly part of God’s repertoire – whether elsewhere he says anything about their “mechanism” I don’t know, but it’s not important.
Through the Enlightenment, we have got a different handle on “natural law” and defined many. We have a statistical knowledge of chance, and have related it to deterministic physics, to chaotic systems and to apparently genuinely random quantum events. But it’s still the same chance that Aquinas covered in depth. And there’s been much discussion about free-will, which only a minority of eliminative materialists deny entirely. Miracles are more controversial, but as I’ve said elsewhere Christians, at least, are more open to them than they were a couple of generations ago.
So science has described no categories of event in the world beyond what Aquinas also described, and subordinated to God’s providence. So why is it that so many theistic evolutionists have a problem with teleology in nature? Why do they insist that for God to determine nature’s outcomes would be “breaking natural law”, or “interfering with nature’s randomness/freedom” (or “trampling on human free-will”, though that particular complaint ranges far wider than the scientific community)?
I suggest it’s yet another case of ill-informed people embracing a theologically inadequate metaphysic and grafting it on to their science. It’s bad enough when new atheists do it, but for Christians with an intellectual heritage millennia old there’s really little excuse.