I have been arguing with a Creationist on Youtube and he presented this as evidence that variations in species happens by chance. I thought this would be a good question of Deluded God and other hard scientists (developing psychologist here).
English is not one of my strong suits but here is my understanding.
Origins of Species chapter 6:
"To sum up, I believe that species come to be tolerably well-defined objects, and do not at any one period present an inextricable chaos of varying and intermediate links: firstly, because new varieties are very slowly formed, for variation is a very slow process, and natural selection can do nothing until favourable variations CHANCE to occur, and until a place in the natural polity of the country can be better filled by some modification of some one or more of its inhabitants."
My translation is that favourable variations need to be given the chance to occur and then the natural selection process begins. Further, that the right environmental conditions need to be in place for variations to happen.
The creationist first cited this as evidence that variations occur by chance. So the question is the tranlastion mean given a chance or happen by chance?
"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."