Purpose and evolution

Q: Why does the moon shine at night?

A: To help people see better at night.

If it’s silliness to say the purpose of the moon is to help people see better at night, why isn’t it also silliness for evolutionists to assign purpose to the biological structures of organisms?  If it’s true that evolution is a mindless process with no end in mind, how can we, in any degree of sense, speak in terms of purpose?  Is the purpose of the long neck of a giraffe to eat from tall trees?  Is the structure of a primate’s hand to grasp objects?

In what credible way can we determine the ‘purpose’ of a trait which has been derived from a purposeless mechanism?  We have purpose within but not purpose throughout?

Sloughing this dilemma off as mere anthropomorphisms only backpedals the issue.  If evolution were truly an undirected process with no end in view, it actually makes studying evolution pointless.  Think about it, you’re looking to discover why things developed in a system with no whys.

Comments

  1. The moon does not shine; it merely reflects light from the sun. The moon does not have a purpose, but it does have an effect. It functions as a stabilizing mechanism for the earth’s rotation.

    In animals, the heart functions as a pumping mechanism for blood. Is this a difficult concept?

    Evolution is reality; do not be scared of truth.

    • You’re asserting. I want you to argue. You say the heart’s purpose is to pump blood. Purpose entails intention. Evolution is a purposeless mindless undirected process. How does there exist purpose within the system yet the system has no purpose?

      Why is there no purpose with inanimate objects like the moon, but purpose with biological objects.

    • Raju

      Think about this: to know if a thing has purpose you must first know what that purpose is. You could use a gun for a paper weight, but being a paper weight is not its purpose.

  2. Yeah, as created beings locked into time (chronos) and space we define purpose by function but God who transcends time (kairos) and space defines our purpose by His plans. It’s about getting man to see that our understanding of purpose isn’t working and to seek God for a real purpose.

  3. Evolution is a purposeless mindless undirected process. How does there exist purpose within the system yet the system has no purpose?

    Simple. The changes that occur during the evolutionary process have their reasons, usually environmental. You seem to be under the impression that evolution must have an end result. Evolution is just the change over time where advantage prevails over disadvantage.

    @Zanspence
    So, what do you think is our purpose?

  4. The heart has a purpose because the body has a need. Which came first? The need, or the thing that satisfies the need?

    Hospitals exist to fill a need. The need came first. But, hospitals are designed to fill the need.

    When no design is in play, can a need be fulfilled?

  5. I’m reminded of a graphic recently shared by a science page I follow on facebook. I don’t even remember the whole thing, but the phrase “designed by evolution” jumped out at me.

    This from a very pro-Darwinian evolution, anti-ID, anti-“Creationism” group.

    I’m still laughing over it.

  6. John,

    It seems you mistake “function” and “purpose”. It is not the same.

    function: an activity that is natural to or the purpose of a person or thing.

    Heart has the function of pumping blood. It is “the activity that is natural to” it.

    • Isu

      I’m not equivocating. To determine the purpose of a thing, you must know that it’s functioning the way it’s “supposed to”. Like the analogy I gave earlier, a gun could function as a paper weight, but it that it’s purpose, even if it’s the only function it ever serves? Or is a gun’s purpose for something other than to hold down paper, even it it never fulfills the purposed end?

  7. John,

    But there is no a “supposed” way for the heart to function.
    We have observed that the heart pumps blood and therefore it is its function. It is its “natural activity”.

    According to evolution, the blood pumping of the heart is a consequence not a purpose.

    If the heart is a design, in the case of frogs, for example, one would have to say the designer is a blunger because of mixing oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in one ventricle.

  8. I don’t know what a “blunger” is, but it seems to me that the heart of a frog still serves its purpose. So where’s the problem?

  9. Sorry, it was “bungler”.
    The problem is that it is a blotch job for a supposed perfect designer.

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