The developmental process, through which the meaning of life is actualised, starts with biological evolution. The evidence that evolution happens is so abundant that there is no need to argue that point. However, we cannot take for granted the existing explanations of how and why evolution happens. For this reason, in this chapter we will first examine, in some detail, the presently dominant interpretation, Neo-Darwinism. Then we will briefly touch upon some religious perspectives, and finally, we will delineate the Synthesis perspective on the subject.
Neo-Darwinism attempts to operate within strictly materialistic boundaries. Evolution is regarded as a gradual process that comes about through the interplay of two factors: random mutations (accidental changes of genetic material) and natural selection that enables some of these changes to take over due to their adaptive and reproductive advantages.
Most mainstream religions have already accommodated evolutionary biology. For example, the Catholic Church says that evolution should not be seen as in conflict with Christian faith; most Catholic schools teach evolution in their science classes. Evolution continued to be viewed as an anathema, though, among some Christian fundamentalists, especially in the US.
The Synthesis Perspective
If all the above is taken into account, it becomes clear that the current theory of evolution is incomplete. Too much selection, synchronisation, and amplification of the mutation rate take place to render credible the view that random mutations are the only source of evolutionary processes.
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