There is nothing inevitable about evolution. It does not have to arrive at where we are; nor would it have arrived at, necessarily, reptiles sat at computer screens blogging to each other, without the catastrophe of 65 million years ago. It could have been just sets of animals roaming around for ever more, living and dying and that's it.
One can make an analogy with a very large pack of cards that, each time they are thoroughly shuffled and laid out, produce a pattern. There is the pattern, and here we are, and we can look back from that pattern. But there is a percentage of producing that pattern, and that remains what it is: it is quite wrong to say because there is "potential" to have our laid out order that this will come about. This is despite the existence of the pack of cards, what might be the equivalent of carbon based life.
The joke is to leave monkeys for long enough and they'll type Shakespeare. This is actually false, in that each time the monkey sits at the typewriter is a new session of the same probability.
Another way of looking at it is having a 14 million to one chance of winning the UK Lottery. It is wrong to say wait long enough (several lifetimes) with one attempt each time and eventually you will win. No, because each time is memory-free, and each time is the same probability.
The objection to this is that evolution is a process, and does not start from the same place each time. It builds. So it builds towards a potential. But that's only like saying the odds reduce each time, but in the game of evolution we don't know by how much or what are the permitted variations. There is no inevitability of a humanoid outcome, treated very broadly.
We do know that some developments were so advantageous that they spread throughout species, and one is the eye, that developed stage by stage but has one DNA origin. We also have environmental advantage constraints so that a mammal getting into and evolving in the water gets to look somewhat like a large fish.
All that is so, but producing the humanoid is this precision language producing and storing being. Well, where is the candidate for that? Washo was an important ape in that he learnt some hand based symbols for some basic communication. He didn't get to Descartes but he did communicate such that the keepers realised that he expressed forms of longing with them that meant he would have to be in their care until he died. Dolphins might be doing the same to some extent and could extend. The dog that mutates to say "sausages" and mean items manufactured and sizzling in a pan is going to be a breeder's delight. It would certainly help to get the sheep rounded up, and of course how there is genetic engineering. If we can grab the jellyfish genes for glowing in the dark we might be able to collect in the sheep at night.
Darwinism as a system - and it becomes a system - is chaotic in the sense that weather is a chaotic system. You cannot predict where it will go. However, you can predict climate, and so it does depend on where you have got with the process and what the constraints are that exist. What sort of life forms could exist, for example, on a world with one sixth gravity that we have. Perhaps the Bouncy would he a really good animal, where a sac at its base means it can bounce around and jump out of harm's way. I can imagine it: maybe rounded or fatter at the bottom, maybe narrowing to its head: let's hope something like eyes evolved and perhaps it has ribbed handles on top for a symbiotic relationship with another creature that bounces around on it and could provide its arms.
The point I'm getting at here is that the system is contingent and transient. catastrophes can wipe out all life, or so much of it that what's left has little mutations that go a long way. High stress, low resources, contained, environments lead to rapid change. In all these cases the transience of death over life is the engine of change.
It is against this that I, for one, must modify my religious beliefs. There can be nothing eternal in this system, such as the eternity of the Word for example, and even first born (Arian) it has a hefty problem. The process is entirely local and specific and contingent, so there is no intervention. So the guiding principle is nothing eternal and everything transient.
Therefore there is incompatibility between the Darwinian system and the Christian system, unless the Christian system is understood as human generated myth for its own creative purposes. Having religion may well be beneficial, of course, in terms of exchanging between members of a tribe and binding them together. But that's fine, that's what conscious of being conscious people do: and they project outwards. They create Gods. The Muslims have done this, the Christians have done this and the Jews have done this. The Hindus have. It seems to me that only the Buddhists have grappled with the meaning of transience, though others have within religions, and some Buddhists have lost the plot with their add-ons.
There are forms of objectivity in Buddhism useful to the Westerner, though the Westerner is bound to become more story based, more subjective that leads to the postmodern, more fantastical with their transient understood inventive religious forms and much of this contrasts with the Westerner's inherited understandings of objectivity. Westerners have almost to refashion their religious inheritances towards these qualities of change, towards the subjective and towards the postmodern.
There are all sorts of possibilities: what clashes with the Darwinian bases of understanding is the eternal supernatural claim that is a psuedo-science of its own, and yet whilst ought to be falsifiable presents itself as out of reach. Young earths, virgin births, resurrections, are all pseudo-scientific statements, all of which ought to be open to testing, and none of which are. The arts and religious imagination are not open to testing and yet are meaningful, so here is where religion resides. The eternal is simply defeated by the contingency of everything and by the chance of everything, that, from the position before the cards are laid out, the best we have is extreme probability, but from the position after the cards have been laid out, humans are likely to be highly creative and very self-deceptive.
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