The Uniqueness of Humanity

Evolution may have no purpose, but do we?

When we come to ponder how, and to what extent, humanity differs from all other species, one crucial question that needs to be considered is this: what role, if any, does purposive action play in Darwinian evolution?

One point must be made straight away. According to Darwinism - absolutely correctly - evolution itself has no purpose. Living things, however, do have purposes. Living things pursue such goals as nourishment, escape from predators, finding mates, care of offspring, defence of territory, and so on. Darwinian theory tells us that the supreme goal of all living things is survival and reproductive success. All being well, all other goals living things pursue contribute to the fundamental goal.

There are biologists who think it heresy to attribute purposes to animals - let alone insects, plants, bacteria, or viruses. This is because they misconstrue what "purposive action" should mean in this context. First, they may think "purpose" means "conscious purpose".

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