I've been a research scientist in the life sciences since 1965 and a staunch defender of evolution theory throughout my career. Having said that, I've come to the above, quoted conclusion several times before, especially when writing articles for publication and grant proposals.
The trend, at least in my field (endocrinology-neuroscience) is to develop well the 'discussion' section. That's the place in which the justification, and even more emphatically, the 'implications' are developed for the reader. It's also the place where the authors can get onto a slippery slope. I've always felt uneasiness having to depart, like this, from being a empirically-driven scientist to suddenly be called upon to become a seer. That, too me, is a shortcoming of scientists' trying "fit in" with the rest of the world via the media, etc.
What the scientist would do, if allowed, during a TV interview which asks, "But what's it all mean professor, about the future of mankind?"---is to say, "I have no idea. I'm going back to my lab do research your question further and, if I'm lucky I'll have partial answer for before I die. Wait right here."
In summary, "..the neeed to find purpose (evolutionary significance) in every facet of reality..." is strong. But it must be resisted simply because it can be a source of bias.
This reminds me of an anecdote about a wise man who, during a seminar he was giving, was asked:
"What is the future of the World going to look like in 50 years?" His response was to look at his watch and announce:
"It is 2:30 in the afternoon; in 4 hours, I will be eating dinner. I have no idea what I will be eating. If I don't know what I'm eating for dinner in 4 hours, how can I, or anyone else, tell you what the world will be like in 50 years?"
The "wise man" was the Dalai Lama.
BWAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA! There has been a documentary playing on one of the independent channels over the last couple of weeks with that very purpose with respect to physics. I think it was "What Do We Know?".