Looking at it from a slightly different perspective:
Evolution is Time driving Matter forward.
From the cosmic perspective of some 14 billions years,
Evolution has no intent, it has matter, time, motion, outcomes.
An under appreciated analogy for “Evolution,” is to recognize that “Evolution” is a result of time’s relentless forward momentum.
The sum total of human knowledge shows us with overwhelming consilience that our “Reality” started at what’s been coined the Big Bang some 14 billion years ago, when massive pure energy was released to create our Universe.
It’s time/motion that pushed this primal energy to coalesce into bundles such as quarks, and it’s time that drove the universe to expand and cool. It’s time/motion that saw atoms and molecules form.
Time/motion/gravity is what brought vast clouds of atomic, molecular dust together into swirling nurseries for stars to be formed, only to run through their life cycles. Some dying stars exploded and producing all the elements heavier than iron. Time/motion/gravity is what sweeps together those remnants into new stars and planets.
Here in our corner of the Universe, conditions were promising for something special to happen and it did. It’s time/motion/gravity with sunshine and radioactivity that created Earth’s geological turmoil which is the source of life
Time married Earth’s geology with biology and it has driven all the changes since. One second, minute, day, season at a time. Resulting in folds within folds of cumulative harmonic complexity flowing down the cascade of time.
It’s time/motion/awareness together with changing environmental conditions that allowed the most primitive creatures to form and make babies. It’s time/motion/awareness that’s driven Earth’s ever evolving background geochemistry along with biology’s learning cure.
Evolution never had to condition us, what happened happened and was exploited to the best that current conditions allowed, until something new came along, or not, then things took a different direction.
But always time cracking the whip, keep on moving, no stopping on this ride, even if your time is up, the off-spring will take it from here thank you very much, move along.
We are creatures that survived by sensing the world and reacting to it. The better we did that, the better we survived, or not.
Keep in mind “survival of the fittest” only covers one aspect of Evolution.
Often factors besides “fitness” tipped the scales and even the fittest during the best of times are sometimes ruthlessly mowed down, leaving room for the wimps to evolve the new fitness, if environmental conditions were conducive. If not, something else showed up to try.
Life (evolution) is pragmatic. It is our fertile Human Mindscapes that dream their dreams unencumbered by Physical Reality’s ways and means.
It’s our Human Mindscapes that think it’s owed an answer for anything it can dream up.
Perceiving reality unfolding around us is not analogous to simplistic computer interface, or games theory, or holograms, it’s orders of magnitude beyond.
Physical Reality is not a product of, nor dependent on, our perceptions. Seems to me it’s indulgent self-destructive folly to entertain as much, particularly in this age.
I believe that some scholars forget that mathematically elegant formulas and theorems are residents of our brain’s mind, that is our “Mindscapes” – something ephemeral, not exactly of physical reality, it gets complicated.
It sounds to me like too many very very smart people have lost sight of a simple fundamental reality of our human condition:
Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape
Physical Reality is Earth, her biosphere and creatures, our physical bodies, along with the world of atoms and molecules, natural forces and time and stuff and organisms and more evolution and time.
It is our brain’s, but then when it comes to “me, myself and I”, my ego, sense of self, my thoughts and my mental intellectual library – none of it is tangible. No thought is a physical anything, it is of this reality, energy, sure, beyond that, who knows, but it’s not of atoms, molecules or any of that, so much is scientifically near certain.
Mind is of a class onto itself.
~ ~ ~
Some makes it sound as though evolution were intelligent design and intentional – they get applauded for presenting provocative ideas, so I’d like to share one:
Philosophically speaking, let’s conjecture that:
Humanity is the greatest example of the Universe’s need and desire to know itself.
We can make that poetic conclusion on the basic fact that taken in whole, and especially when life showed up, evolution has been a fantastical relentless process of evolving ever greater awareness; through sensing, processing, manipulatory abilities, with successes becoming feedback loops.
It is only through improving senses, absorbing data, processing that input, improving manipulatory abilities, grasping and moving and such, that the universe can be observed.
Universe was not only populated by time and evolution’s creations, it is only through that population’s cumulative individual awarenesses of their little worlds, that the universe has a change to behold itself.
From that perspective no doubt, we people are the champions, even if we were/are too stupid to do anything intelligent with all our knowledge* – so now we're trapped watching as Earth’s biosphere is transitioning into a regime beyond any recognition or surviving as the next decades and century ticks past.
Then Earth will be left with the eons to settle down, reassemble itself and see what comes next.
Our mindscapes will become more important than ever as these seasons progress and weather's onslaughts get ever worse - but if we lose all respect and understanding for actual factual Earth Science and what's going on with our planet, we're banished to a truly hopeless nightmare.
Only honest respect, curiosity and learning about Physical Reality and all science has learned about Earth Systems and our biosphere do we have any hope of finding a way to reverse this drive to self-destruction we're on.
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