Is Natural Selection An Intentional Process?

I always get flak when I call natural selection a “guide” that directs naturalism. Oh no, they say, it’s just random selection. Basically picking both the good and the bad. But what makes the final decision that enhances the organism? About 150 years ago, Darwin advocated the concept of natural selection being a “guide” which means to assist in giving a particular direction in this case evolution progressing upwards…

It may metaphorically be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, the slightest variations; rejecting those that are bad, preserving and adding up all that are good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.

There is no doubt here, Darwin is implying an “intentional process” which would be highly illogical for an unthinking, and undirected process to have a purpose in fine tuning a species. This is why some scientists have resorted to intelligent design as a better explanation. Same concept of evolution in principle but instead of natural selection, it’s an intelligent agent which is rejecting the bad, and preserving the good while working with what it has.

This is something creationists reject. Christians need to understand and be aware of on this issue. While God is an intelligent designer who is above anything or anyone who is called a designer, He is certainly not creating on the basis of what He has to work with, choosing the good components to preserve while rejecting the bad components. It’s a huge fundamental difference between the two concepts.

Dawkins a well known atheist and promoter of evolution also views natural selection as an intentional process, he states…

“Going upwards means mutating, one small step at a time, and only accepting mutations that improve optical performance. So, where do we get to? Pleasingly, through a smooth upward pathway, starting from no proper eye at all, we reach a familiar fish eye, complete with lens.”

The question that generally comes to mind is, how did natural selection obtain such a purpose in performing it’s duty? Let’s put it another way, why would an unthinking process just select to preserved the good parts or better parts over the lesser? In science daily the so-called; intentional process was obvious in some insects, “new variants or clones, which start off rare, become common because they are favoured by natural selection” says Dr Weeks.

Not all evolutionists believe like Darwin or Dawkins did, that natural section is an intentional process with a purpose. Oxford chemist Peter Aikens contends in his book; “Creation Revisited” that natural selection has no real intentional purpose, but is aimless in what it does…

“Molecules did not aim at reproduction: they stumbled upon it. Accretion of complexity reached the point where one molecule was so structured that the sequence of reactions it could undergo, under the casual pressure of dispersal, led by chance to the formation of a replica. . . .

At every stage of replication there was opportunity for modification because slightly different smaller molecules were in the vicinity and could be incorporated. Many of these daughters may have been unviable, or less successful at replication than their ancestors and sisters; but some were more successful, and flourished into elephants.”

In a science paper written by Neil Broom who is Professor of Materials Science at the University of Auckland New Zealand, refutes such an idea on what an unintentional process can do…

Copies of this new arrangement might somehow be made more easily. Remember, in Atkins’ molecular world, nothing is aimed at. There can be no actual purpose or intended outcome in this wholly material world.

This new tendency of the molecules to stumble upon a mechanism of copying or replication, also embodied failure—a failure to copy faithfully. A kind of molecular variety concert is launched on the primordial stage of the ancient, still lifeless, earth. Act after aimless act is performed, each a subtle twist on the previous as other molecules straying in the vicinity are conveniently co-opted.

A “yes, we got through that act”, or “no, that was a disaster” kind of primordial culling pressure (read – natural selection) acts on this molecular concert, resulting in more replication, more variety, more cancelled acts, more complexification and producing, eventually, elephants and humans!

Professor Neil Broom does have a valid point. His paper without question advocates intelligent design, not creationism. He doesn’t want to totally discard his secular belief in evolution which he should do.

It’s quite clear, most evolutionists including Darwin who made it popular, advocate natural selection as an “intentional process” with a purpose, which only a thinking process is able to do, rather than an totally unguided one with no purpose, and with no ability to assess what would or would not be an advantageous for the creature.

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