Evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins tell us that life has no purpose and results from mindless, unguided evolution. That is the accepted doctrine of evolutionary biology. However, Dr. Gunter Bechly writing in the Evolution News website, reports on a review by Dr. Richard Buggs, giving some hope of at least one scientist finding purpose in the evolutionary process.
British plant biologist Richard Buggs wrote in Ecology & Evolution about a BBC science series called “Earth” in which the host, Dr. Chris Packham, made some very “non-Darwinian” statements suggesting purpose in the evolutionary process. Instead of viewing evolution as a natural process without purpose, Packham expresses it as an intentional process with direction.
Packham anthropomorphizes plants suggesting that they “have agency and intention.” He says they don’t “give up easily”; they “developed a new trick” and “were ready to start conquering the world.” He also points out something we have discussed on this site, that plants communicate with one another.
Packham finds purpose in the evolutionary process of plants. He suggests the greening of plants was not a purposeless, unintended process, but early photosynthesis was “something miraculous.” He describes the world as a “bountiful, blooming miracle” and the symbiosis between plants and fungi as “a match made in heaven.” The BBC promotes the series Packham hosts by saying, “Chris Packham tells the miraculous story of how plants turned Earth from a barren rock into a vibrant green world.”
In my graduate work at Notre Dame, an atheist taught our class on the historical development of planet Earth. He repeatedly pointed out that it takes enormous faith to believe that the complexities we see in Earth’s biological history leading to humans resulted from mindless chance processes. However, he justified his atheist faith by maintaining that given enough time, it could be possible.
Dr. Bechly concludes his article by saying he hopes this is “a new trend that would feel like a breath of fresh air amidst all the materialist and atheist propaganda in popular science media.” The current theories of how life developed on Earth by chance are so complicated and unlikely that evolution has become a faith for many. Finding purpose in the evolutionary process is a step toward recognizing that life is not an accident.
For over 50 years, we have said that evolution is a tool of God, designed to allow life to exist on a changing planet. God has indeed built into living things the capacity to change, so we have many varieties of dogs, cattle, grains, and fruit trees. Without this capacity for species to evolve and adapt, humans would have long ago run out of food.
With the verified climate changes in Earth’s history, many global mass extinctions would have occurred. There is a vast difference between the fact of evolution and the neo-Darwinian theories of naturalism and macro-evolution. Many conflicts would be eliminated if both sides could admit to that fact.
— John N. Clayton © 2023
Reference: “On the BBC, a New Openness to Teleology in Biology?” by Dr. Gunter Bechly In Evolution News and Science Today for August 2, 2023.