But before Poincare developed the basic ideas of what would come to be called “chaos theory” (I don’t like this name though-remind me to tell you why), this other guy named Darwin wrote a book that became pretty famous. If any creationists have made it this far, let me be clear right now that I am about to direct my comments against neo-Darwinism, the view of evolution developed through the “synthesis” of Darwinism with molecular biology. Darwin obviously never heard the words gene or genome. So please do not trot out any of what I’m about to say as in any way calling into question the clear truth the earth is about 4 billion years old and all life on it has differentiated from a common source. I say differentiated to stress the point which people often forget: The mass of the earth has not appreciably changed over time, evolution doesn’t make “more” stuff, it keeps recombining the stuff that’s already here in more and more intricate ways. So that’s what’s been going on on this planet, mass gaining in complexity because it is turned in ever more cycles in the ever-widening gyre driven by the solar flux.
So then on to neo-Darwinism. I’m assuming you’ve heard of DNA? Yea biology made a lot of gains in the last century, but it brought along with it a lot of theoretical baggage because of its inadequate contact with the developments being made in physics at the same time. You see, the people who were synthesizing the concept of the genome with the idea of natural selection wanted, more than anything, to be able to describe the process of evolution entirely in terms of random genetic variation. Why? Because that would reduce the concept of evolution to a set of “deterministic” chemical mechanisms and thereby prove that evolution by natural selection was a truly "objective" theory. In order to accomplish this reduction, what needed to be done was to rid the theory of evolution of all traces of “purposive” description. Evolution HAD to to be the result of random genetic variation, otherwise the door was left open for this intelligent design nonsense. The biological community at this point seems to have been unprepared for the idea that a non-equilibrium process can display spontaneous directedness, and thus lacked the necessary imagination to forge a third option between design by an extra-physical intelligence and blind, dumb luck. The Greek word for the purpose or goal of a process is Telos, and so this period in the history of biology was also a war on “Teleology.”