Andy Schmookler is detailing a concept he discovered about humanity. Today he points out that evolution has made humans more humane. It’s his series “A Better Human Story.”
Andy Schmookler has an exciting take on humans & evolution.
Andy Schmookler wrote in the segment “How the Good Emerges from Evolution” in his series “A Better Human Story” the following.
At the heart of the secular understanding of who we are, and how we got here, is the story of the evolution of life on earth. Science says clearly, this is how we came to be.
For many, this evolutionary view – in which the living world is shaped by a process with an apparently wholly impersonal and opportunistic modus operandi — has seemed to strip our being of some of its important meanings. Like the reality of good and evil. Like a dimension worthy of calling “the sacred.”
But there’s another way of comprehending that evolutionary view.
The story of evolution, far from closing off our access to the important moral and spiritual “spaces” that religions have filled with their different stories, provides us a meaningful way to understand the reality of “the good” and “the sacred.”
(Those first two points are fairly basic in the realm of evolutionary thought, though the language about “choosing life over death” and “finding fulfillment” are my own way of framing those ideas. The third idea has a degree of kinship with the philosophical idea of utilitarianism. Taken together, they form the framework for an argument… well, I wouldn’t know how to counter it!)
What is selected for, in biological evolution, are those creatures that do what survival requires. At a certain point in evolutionary development, that required “doing” starts being driven by “motivation.” Wanting to do what’s necessary for survival helps. Wanting to avoid what threatens survival is also a plus.
The interview touches on some exciting concepts about human nature. While I see some contradiction in Dr. Schmookler’s take on Western values, there is much to learn here. It is worth the full listen.
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