Modern natural science has accepted randomness as a main determinate in the evolution of life on earth. In doing so secular science adamantly rejects any notion of teleology (that evolution is moving toward some predetermined goal) in its understanding of how life evolved. Thus in evolutionary terms, life is not progressing toward “higher and higher” forms; rather survival of the fittest creatively and randomly determines what life thrives or survives in any era of the planets otherwise meaningless existence. Adaptability is accomplished through random genetic recombination for higher life forms. In humans, additionally, it is possible that intelligence has now become part of mix influencing the otherwise random process of natural selection.
However what scientists are coming to realize is that purposefulness in behavior is not limited to humans or even to the animal world. In A New York Times science article of 10 June 2008, Loyal to Its Roots, scientists revealed more evidence that plants of various kinds exhibit purposefulness in their behavior. The plants evaluate their environment and then make certain growth choices depending on what they learn from their environment. All of these choices are related to survival, but nevertheless there is now clear evidence that some plant species certainly are doing a form of evaluating which is a bit like “thinking.” Only once the plant has evaluated its environment does it begin its growth patterns. This has according to the article spawned a new science – Neurobiology – which many traditional scientists find to be an absurdity. Despite the controversy generated by this new science, scientists do acknowledge that there is such a thing as plant behavior.
As a non-scientists and a theist, such evidence as plant behavior which works towards a goal – survival of the species – still suggests to me that the universe is not governed totally by randomness. Even plants and other microbes have a “will” to survive; they have purposefulness even for their most natural, biological and chemical activities. And so while there may be a great deal of randomness afoot in the universe, there is great purposefulness in all life forms on our planet. This purposefulness is built into the very DNA of life forms, and is at a minimum a force In nature that should be recognized by science. For theists, such as myself, it also suggests there is purposefulness in the entire universe – it is a sign of the hand of God at work in creation.