Those sneaky rascals at the Templeton Foundation have asked one of those ridiculous questions that gets some otherwise rational people stumbling over themselves to give an inoffensive answer: does the universe have a purpose? Of course, the irrational people have no trouble piping up with a happy “Yes!”, which should clue everyone in, as Larry notes, that it’s a gimmick question designed to provoke a range of waffly answers … and waffles, especially the tepid, limp kind, are the stock-in-trade of the Templeton House of Waffles.
I’d say “no, there is no evidence of universal purpose and no reason to assume one,” and be done with it. Except, perhaps, to ask those who say “yes” to specify exactly what that purpose is, and how they know it.
Near as I can tell, the primary purposes of the universe as discerned from the casual expressions of religion’s proponents are 1) to bias victory in local football games, and 2) to regulate the appropriate orifices into which certain people are allowed to place their penises. How the creation of Betelgeuse, the concentration of planetary material in our solar system in one body which we can’t reach and which is uninhabitable to us, and the ubiquity and success of bacteria all play into these purposes is unknown to me … it must be one of God’s mysteries.