I agree that it does this but why? Why does evolution “care” about the survival of “things?” Why not propagate the color blue or furry ears just because? Why propagate anything? What does evolution “get” out of the deal? What does the universe get? In my estimation it gets very little positive or even nothing at all. It does however consistently increase the odds of its own destruction at the hands of the very creatures it pushes toward strength. If your answer is along the lines of “it is a law of nature” or “logic leads me to that conclusion” I still ask why a law of nature or logic should favor life vs anything else? And not just life but life with specific attributes, e.g, those that tend toward the continuation of life or propagates the best survival mechanisms as you put it.

Another answer I have heard to this line of inquiry is to suggest that if it did not we would not be here to ask the question. This non-answer only begs the question and illuminates nothing. Perhaps one may say God or (God substitute such as powerful simulators a la the simulation hypothesis) knows the plan, the purpose, etc. Of course anyone is free to do and more power to them if it satisfies. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth however and smacks of the too good to be true problem that I feel is the death knell of all simulation hypothesis scenarios and all religions with an omnipotent/omniscient deity at the helm. It is quite simply too strong of a hypothesis. It is just too easy to use the cop out answer of “because (insert God or God substitute) made it that way” as the answer to any question that seems unanswerable.

Lastly I have heard it said and even read the words written by my favorite philosopher L. Wittgenstein that we must stop philosophizing when we reach these sorts of impasses. We must let it go. We will never be at peace if we do not. Of course I am paraphrasing wildly but that is his basic point. This is perhaps the only topic on which I have strong disagreements with Witt’s philosophy. I for one will never stop, perhaps never be at peace then, but I am willing to make that sacrifice to find the answers I seek.

I have written some about this topic before. See…

and

Those essays were more humorous then serious and mostly stayed away from proposing possible answers to the really hard questions like the ones I raised above.

Written by

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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