From yesterday's Los Angeles Times: 10 myths—and 10 truths—about atheism by Sam Harris.
I'd like to express my disagreement with #4 "Atheists think everything in the universe arose by chance." Harris says,
The notion that atheists believe that everything was created by chance is also regularly thrown up as a criticism of Darwinian evolution. As Richard Dawkins explains in his marvelous book, “The God Delusion,” this represents an utter misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. Although we don’t know precisely how the Earth’s early chemistry begat biology, we know that the diversity and complexity we see in the living world is not a product of mere chance. Evolution is a combination of chance mutation and natural selection. Darwin arrived at the phrase “natural selection” by analogy to the “artificial selection” performed by breeders of livestock. In both cases, selection exerts a highly non-random effect on the development of any species.That's not quite right.
Nobody denies the power of natural selection and nobody claims that natural selection is random or accidental. However, the idea that everything is due to natural selection is the peculiar belief of a relatively small number of people, of whom Richard Dawkins is the most outspoken.
A great deal of evolution is the result of chance or accident, as is a great deal of the rest of the universe. It's perfectly okay to say, as a first approximation, that lots of evolution is random or accidental. This is a far closer approximation to the truth than saying it's the all the result of design by natural selection.
See Evolution by Accident. As far as I'm concerned, it's Harris and Dawkins who represent an "utter misunderstanding of evolutionary theory."