Humanity and evolution

Many people understand that evolution theory tells us that humanity is the ultimate current outcome of the evolutionary process. However, this is incorrect—it doesn’t tell us that, and we are not. That view is a judgment based on ourselves as the standard for judgment.

 

Evolution doesn't favour the strongest, cleverest, biggest, fastest, most aggressive, most curious lifeforms. Evolution favours whatever lifeform best fits into the environment that it finds itself in; an environment that is, in turn, created by itself and all of the other lifeforms and nonliving things around it.

 

Evolution has no inherent direction towards an ultimate outcome—it is not a directional force of the universe like gravity, electromagnetism, or the nuclear forces—it is a directionless emergent process without an ultimate outcome. Evolution finds the best fit of life to its current environment that is available.

 

The evolution process isn't something that has a plan or can see into the future; it works only in the moment. If a lifeform fits its environment it continues; if a lifeform doesn't fit its environment it ceases. No amount of past evolutionary success indicates continuing success.

 

Evolution has not placed us at its pinnacle and does not guarantee our continued existence in comfortable and secure lives, or even at all. Humanity isn't the ultimate outcome of evolution, either for all time, or even for the present. The comfortable and secure lives that many of us live are not our due, automatically provided for us as the ultimate creations of evolution; they are our own achievements and may easily be lost.

 

 

This page is linked from:

our place on the Earth

 

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