History is composed of a web of innumerable interacting causal chains,
many of which are composed of millions of discrete events. The complexity of
history puts us in a position of having knowledge of only a minuscule portion of the
consequences of any event, actual or proposed. Our almost complete lack of
knowledge of the data necessary to know if an event is gratuitous makes it very
likely that we would be mistaken about a very large number of events. The
complexity of history, therefore, poses a significant challenge to certain types of
evidential arguments from evil that begin with our observations of evils that appear
to be gratuitous.
For want of a nail the shoe is lost,
For want of a shoe the horse is lost,
For want of a horse the rider is lost,
And all for the want of a nail.
Benjamin Franklin, 1757