From The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand, p. 126:
[The botanist Asa] Gray, of course, had not actually seen species migrate, any more than [Louis] Agassiz had seen God create them. he only had his data. But by subjecting them to statistical analysis he was able to show that the geographical distribution of plant species followed patterns consistent with evidence of glacial activity and movements of the earth’s crust. Gray was thinking in terms of relations and probabilities. Agassiz, though, was still thinking in terms of types and ideas. He was unable to see how chance could be a cause of order, and he was unable to imagine order that was not the product of a mind.
Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species — Gray was one of Darwin’s American connections — helped define modern scientific thinking; it is this mode of thinking — the terms of relations and probabilities — that defines contemporary uses of big data. Consider: He was unable to see how chance could be a cause of order. The positive restatement of that phrase is succinct and powerful: Chance is a cause of order. Bill James figured this out on his own.