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Are the evolutionary changes we seen in creatures occur with a purpose? or is it just due to random changes over millions of years?

It just came to me that evolution seems to be purposeful... meaning it seems to me that an organism changes/evolves almost(!) as if because it "wants" to change. In previous conversations we were talking about evolution happening as a series of mutations that results in benefit to the organism and that organism passing on that change to the succeeding generations. But lets take a look at these "mutations".. if these are just random changes then how did "random" changes push some sea creatures to generate anatomic structures to enable it to survive on land? Fins are said to have developed into feet/legs. Can random mutations actually develop that? to me these seem to be mutations with a direct purpose FOR the organism...that is to develop legs... if that is the result then can it actually develop from a random mutation? or lets take it in another way.. why did the wolf like creature that eventually developed into whales loose their hind legs? did random mutation just shut down those genes for leg development? Some say its because of disuse and eventually the whales lost them. But if its simple disuse, i would expect whales to STILL be born with legs that gradually atrophies as it grown older. But instead a whale is born without legs at all (at least with bone remnants)... to me this is like evolution is intentionally shutting down a system. If evolution is shutting down a locomotion system for the animal can that be a random occurrence? I find random mutation hard to achieve this kind of changes.
Can random mutation over millions of years actually drive the changes we see in animals including man. Or is there something more amazing happening with evolution... creatures developing something unique because it actually wants to evolve that way.... (i hope that made sense). Random? or somehow with some kind of "purpose"?

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  • Jul 2 2013: There is a point of misunderstanding in this whole issue. It is a popular but wrong belief that the evolution process is random, but like I said, it is wrong and it is just a belief. Yes, mutations occur indeed "random" (please notice the quotation marks), however most mutations are not beneficial for the individual, just a very small amount of mutations are truly beneficial for the individual. In most cases the mutant individual is in disadvantage and dies before becoming adult, and that way is "deleted" from the "evolutionary record", giving the false impression such mutations did not occur, when they actually did. Evolution is driven by natural selection, a process which happens to be the exact opposite to random!!!, meaning evolution is not a random process at all.

    Another aspect of evolution that most people don't seem to understand is that evolutionary changes are cumulative, meaning they accumulate one on the top of the previous one. Most of the times changes are very small, almost unnoticeable for us, but when hundreds or thousands of them accumulate we can clearly tell the difference. Species are not statically waiting for a major change to occur all at the sudden in just one day, like magic. Magic is not science.

    Finally the core issue of your question: propose requires intention and intention is an act of consciousnesses, so whether you like it or not, the sole use of the word "propose" implies someone in charge, and the obvious question here is: who is that one in charge?... the most likely answers is: God, but then we are in big trouble here, because once you allow God to be part of the discussion it voids all its scientific relevance. So, the answer is: NO, there is no propose behind evolution, even if it SEEMS so. And the proof of it is that we humans can tap on it, interfere with it, and even manipulate it (partially) at will. If evolution had a propose of its own, we couldn't be able to develop new breads of pets, cattle and crops.

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