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Purpose Of Evolution

  1. In the video and in some articles in his website, Ray Peat talks about the purpose of evolution. What I want to know is: what is the purpose of evolution? Is the purpose "to get maximally structurally energetic" (whatever that means [if you know, please explain]) (as from the idea that energy and structure are ultimately dependent)?

     
  2. Purpose of evolution? You're so far deep into metaphysics you don't know what you're even asking. The coinage of the term is even pretty weird. It has little relation to Darwin's ideas.

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  3. It's not me saying there's a purpose -- it's Ray Peat.
     
  4. Perhaps he means life has a tendency to become more organised and energetic, evolving into higher forms with a more developed consciousness. Maybe the 'purpose' is more of an axiom, in that in this Universe, having more energy is a value. Like an inbuilt law. So perhaps biological evolution is directed towards obeying a wider cosmic goal: that of using and organising more energy than its previous forms did.
     
  5. The way I see it is evolution is consciousness having a myriad of experience through evolving physical forms, gradually gaining greater self-awareness and ultimately experiencing itself as unitive non-physical consciousness.
     
  6. I know he believes in teleology.
     
  7. Ray is a fan of process theology (he said that in the latest One Radio Network interview) and he aligns his view of God with David Ray Griffin's view. In the book "Panentheism and Scientific Naturalism", Griffin argues that there is a "Divine aim towards richness of experience" and that experience is the only thing that is "intrinsically valuable." Therefore, Griffin's hypothesis is that the divine aim is to "bring about conditions that allow for the emergence of individuals with more complex modes of experience and thereby the capacity for greater intrinsic value" (p. 85). I think this is similar to what Christopher R. and Atma have posted and I could imagine that Ray sees the purpose of evolution similarily.
     
  8. In the interview with Danny and haidut, his views seemed quite similar to a consciousness-only model, aka idealism or advaita vedanta.
     
  9. Evolution is the result of random mutations being acted on by natural selection.

    Any talk of pantheistic ideas makes no sense. The universe did not create itself. The universe is a wonderful and unimaginably complex (to the human mind at least) creation pointing to a transcendent Creator.

    Genetic mutations are one of the results of the Fall, when humanity chose to turn away from God, and we have all been repeating that same mistake day in and day out becoming vain in our imaginations seeking to deify ourselves or other created things.

    The good news is is that God became a man in the form of Jesus Christ to save us from our own self-destructive pride. And even though from the moment of His incarnation we all waged war against Him, He never stopped loving us and still does.

    He doesn’t want much from us, not fancy charitable works or whatever other thing we think we can do to gain favor, He just wants us to come back to Him. All of humanity is the Prodigal Son.
     
  10. Yes its important to have a sense of humor in these times.
     
  11. Look at maslows hierarchy of needs. He seems to model the idea of our needs bringing us closer to self actualization. I think we are slowly part of a process that is aimed at enjoying life and loving everything. I think that enjoying and loving everything is an infinite approach to a limitless concept. If you look at everything in the universe it seems to follow a feedback loop, for example seasons constantly change, fruit is born, it lives, it dies, and is born again. Im not sure of a feedback loop in maslows hierarchy pov or anything similiar that leads back to suffering from self actualization but it is possible. To say that there is a purpose is not necessarily objective, but all experience is dependant on observer anyway so im im not sure if anything isnt isnt subjective. Im just rambling tho haha
     
  12. I've started becoming very careful with religion because I realized submissiveness is just as bad as pride. I think religious people tend to think submissiveness is good and pride is bad but both are driven by ego. It's not possible for an ego-less person to be submissive. And at the same time even being egotistical is better than having low vitality. Rocks have no ego but if the purpose of life is just to be ego-less then we wouldn't have been created. In my opinion the trick is to decrease ego (both submissiveness and pride) while increasing vitality.
     
  13. How is this not just death?
     
  14. There’s a big difference between humility and submissiveness
     
  15. Fool
     
  16. Same.
    Back to square one.
     
  17. What's the point of making it so hard to come back to him? Seems cruel, or at least a bit dumb. I think we know at this point that a good environment can make a person the most compassionate, kind, and wise person in the world. And a bad environment can do the opposite. Why doesn't God just tweak the environment to give us all the most nurturing environment? Everyone would love that.

    In other words, everything I do, good or bad, is just a reaction to something outside of me. If the environment is good, I am triggered to do good things. You would think it should be easy to just change the environment if the end goal is our happiness, salvation, whatever you want to call it.
     
  18. But why?
     
  19. A lot of people play an ego game with spirituality. I’m more pious/aware/kind/non aggressive/loving than you.
     
  20. I wonder the same thing. God wants to trick us? God wants to test us? God wants to see how much we love him? God gave us free will and we intentionally choose everything wicked and bad?
     
  21. I think the great problem of recent history (maybe from around the time of Socrates) is that mind has lost alignment with heart. Mind is in charge of heart instead of heart being in charge of mind. Mind is supposed to be just a tool, like our eyes or ears, but it has become who we are. That's why our instincts are all wrong.
     
  22. But why did this happen? What is the “teleological” point of all of it?
     
  23. The answers to these questions from a process theologian point of view—again, I'm addressing it from this view because Ray said that he is a fan of process theology; I myself am also careful with religion but I found the process theologian view interesting—would be that "God can't" because he is not omnipotent. To quote Wikipedia (Process theology - Wikipedia):
    • God is not omnipotent in the sense of being coercive. The divine has a power of persuasion rather than coercion. Process theologians interpret the classical doctrine of omnipotence as involving force, and suggest instead a forbearance in divine power. "Persuasion" in the causal sense means that God does not exert unilateral control.
    • Reality is not made up of material substances that endure through time, but serially-ordered events, which are experiential in nature. These events have both a physical and mental aspect. All experience (male, female, atomic, and botanical) is important and contributes to the ongoing and interrelated process of reality.
    • The universe is characterized by process and change carried out by the agents of free will. Self-determination characterizes everything in the universe, not just human beings. God cannot totally control any series of events or any individual, but God influences the creaturely exercise of this universal free will by offering possibilities. To say it another way, God has a will in everything, but not everything that occurs is God's will.
    The second point, that "reality is made up of events which are experiential in nature" would bring us back to the purpose of evolution.
     
  24. Would a process theologian see evolution as the process of god coming to know god as god?
     
  25. We don't come back to him. He brings us. So-called "free will" is not a Biblical concept. So yeah, God does tweak our internal environment when He draws us with irresistible grace.
     
  26. I can only guess since I'm new to process theology. First, according to process theology, God is the soul of the universe but not the universe itself (i.e., panentheism vs pantheism), therefore, I'm not sure if you could say the "process of god." Second, God "getting to know himself" might be part of the process but I think the more general goal might be to mature towards greater structural complexity and greater richness of experience. I would guess that the journey is the reward and that there is no ultimate goal, similar to humans who usually want to grow and mature during their life time.
     
  27. What about morality?
     
  28. Maybe because as Heraclitus and William Blake said contraries are necessary for progress. If the environment were always perfect then people would always be happy and ordered but there would be little change in the universe. Similarly if everything is completely chaotic then still nothing will ever change, everything will be predictably unpredictable. I think the balanced interplay between good and evil is what accelerates evolution and development, and if God's purpose as process theology suggests is to maximize depth of experience then perfect goodness might actually be a bit anti-God because it's one-dimensional.

    Maybe that's why masochism exists, a small amount of pain can actually feel good to some people because it increases metabolic rate and depth of experience.
     
  29. i like your answer
     
  30. I don't know if all process theologians think so but David Ray Griffin argues for moral realism. I did not understand all of his arguments, but I think the reasoning roughly goes along the line:
    • There is some sort of moral universalism: while our actual moral convictions are shaped by our culture and tradition, there seems to be a set of cross-cultural moral values independent of time and space. Griffin calls this divine ideals plus cultural conditioning.
    • Ultimately there are better and worse actions, and, therefore, moral facts can be true or false.
    • We have a moral intuition or a non-sensory perception of moral.
    • Moral exerts an influence on us.
    • If moral can influence us, it is real and must exist somewhere (i.e., in the realm of the divine).
    In terms of evolution, a greater richness of experience might lead to a greater moral intuition, and therefore to a better and more loving universe, closer to the moral truths.
     
  31. Thank you for your thoughtful responses.
     
  32. Thank you.
     
  33. In fact, the universe did not create itself -- it always existed. If the universe had to be created because it's complex, then the creator is much more complex, meaning it also had to be created. If the creator need not to have being created, then neither does universe because special pleading is a fallacy. Adam and Eve are not guilty for eating the prohibited tree because they had not eaten the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to know if eating the tree was good or evil; another reason it's god's fault is because god, being omniscient, knew that upon creating the universe, Adam and Eve would eat that tree which would bring original sin into the world and its consequences. I don't even know why you had to bring christianity, genetic mutation, and Jesus to the conversation. Just because Ray Peat said evolution has a purpose, it does not automatically mean the purpose is divine or, if it is, by the Christian god.
     
  34. Physical is anything which can be measured or quantitated. Non-physical, by definition, means unmeasurable or nonexistent. I doubt the ultimately purpose of evolution is to experience nonexistent consciousness.
     
  35. Yeah, and an omniscient god doesn't need to test.
     
  36. Yet would anyone learn anything?

    1. Is courage -- strength of character -- desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.
    2. Is altruism -- service of one's fellows -- desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality.
    3. Is hope -- the grandeur of trust -- desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties.
    4. Is faith -- the supreme assertion of human thought -- desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe.


    I think you are under-estimating your ability to willfully overcome the environmental influence. The evolutionary history of man has been all about man harnessing the power of his environment for ultimate betterment of himself.
     
  37. I don't see why anything omnipotent would need to bother with doing things. Anything omnipotent would just do nothing. If something is being done, it makes more sense that the thing doing it is doing so because they are not omnipotent, and there is something to be gained by doing something rather than doing nothing.

    A thing that thinks courage, for example, is so great that it needs other things to experience it seems sort of insecure, almost like a petulant child wanting everyone to see things from their point of view. Kind of like someone forcing their friends to watch a movie they really like, even though the friends know the whole time that it's something they're not into.


    I can't really see where the environment ends, and where I begin. It seems like there's a separation if I'm not thinking too hard about it, but usually, you can trace any part of "you", your thoughts, actions, feelings, to environmental factors if you look at "yourself" closely enough.
     
  38. It depends on perspective, it can be viewed as physical death or as the realisation of/awakening to eternal life, or both.

    I think that when the body dies we probably have a glimpse of this but then our habits/predispositions/desires (karma) bring us back to the creative process (reincarnation). In a few eastern philosophies this is seen as a process where the individual's soul (mind/ego) is becoming more and more refined/purified throughout lifetimes across species until it realizes it's unity with the universal soul. In these same philosophies creation is viewed as an illusion or a dream and realising the truth is akin to waking up from a dream to what you always were - infinite. In other words there is no death.

    Why not? The universe is a beautiful creation and play of consciousness, what the Hindus call leela - the divine play. I find that in moments of understanding the question of what's the purpose, what's the meaning no longer arise as the mind is silenced in awe and appreciation.
     
  39. Darwin was a socially stunted numnut.

    That said, if there is a God, why on his green Earth did he make it so that beautiful, radiant, innocent little children can suffer and die from cancer, or suffer abuse at the hands of monsters, scarring them forever? Seems like a sick, pathetic, disgusting cosmic joke.
     
  40. Perhaps if process theology is closer to a correct interpretation of God than traditional theology, it may be that God isn't completely omnipotent, and so cannot prevent every tragedy. Also, as Lampofred suggested above, if a purpose of life is to "maximize depth of experience", there has to be contrast, which means that we must have both good and bad experiences. Which puts earthly suffering in a new light.
     
  41. Why did he make you capable of bad-mouthing Him?
     
  42. Taoism is the only thing that makes sense to me.
     
  43. >bother
    >omnipotent

    Pick one. Moreover, you are projecting your human qualities on God: it would be very humane to feel bored with omnipotence. But is it godlike?

    Could this something that is being done not simply be God's omnipotent way of doing something?

    Consider this: if a parent wants to teach his child independence, does the parent then seem to you like an insecure, petulant child for wanting everyone to do things as he says? God would want us to grow, not because it benefits him, but because it benefits us.

    This is true. All conceptual divides are artificial. However, it's not a valid justification for succumbing to the influences of your environment rather than exercising your will over it.
     
  44. Is process theology a satisfying answer for "Is there a God?". Seems like it doesn't get us anywhere. Now there's an extra layer between us and "real God", and the being in the middle is just another bumbling sap who is more powerful than us, but definitely not omnipotent.
     
  45. As far as I can tell, if you're doing something, you're doing it for a reason. And if there is a reason for doing something that is currently unrealized, then I wouldn't consider that omnipotence, since the being is lacking something, or is not satisfied with the current state. Omnipotence means "in exposed static equilibrium" to me, since any "action" implies not everything is known about the system.

    I think you're saying that we can't reason about the disposition of the being since we can only see things through our perspective. So we would be unsuccessful trying to understand the being, since we're so limited. If that's the case, we could, for example, go to heaven or whatever after we die, and see that God is a three headed fish that says "Lo Lo Lo Lo..." to us into infinity, and we would have no idea what's going on, simply because God doesn't make sense to us from the only perspective we have access to. If so, how absurd.



    But the only reason something like courage or hope is valuable to learn is because our environment requires it for successful living. Imagine the environment was so accommodating that we didn't need to be courageous or hopeful. Then the value of courage and hope, in the abstract, goes away. Why can't God just make the environment the best, instead of forcing us to fit in an unideal environment? To learn? But learning is only useful if the environment is unideal, and so you need to know those values that will get you through in good shape. If the environment is ideal, then the value of learning goes away.

    It's like when Ray says exercise is not intrinsically valuable. Something physical with purpose can be valuable, like chopping wood, or trying to run to a new destination. Similarly, learning is good when it helps us cope with our environment. But if you make the environment ideal, then learning loses it's value. An omnipotent being would be able to do that.


    I'm not sure I understand what "the will" is. Is it not just a confluence of the environment? Of course, I feel like I am exercising my will whenever I do anything. And I'm damn proud of it too. But the only reason I feel like I have a controllable will is because I'm not looking at the environmental factors that are feeding into my actions at a granular enough level. So I use the label "will" to describe the stuff that I can't see. But if I could look at things in enough detail, I don't think there would be any room for will.


    Thanks for the discussion by the way. At the very least, this is fun to think about.
     
  46. I think the answers to the question, "Is there a God?" are almost the same whether you agree with process theology or not. If you look at Existence of God - Wikipedia, the arguments are compatible with process theology, and process theology is compatible with religious pluralism.

    However, process theology has the advantage to also deal with some common counter-arguments, such as the problem of evil and the problem of free will. It does so by denying God's omnipotence. So the question is why do we necessarily need something omnipotent in this world?
     
  47. Maybe we're simply an experience in a dimension.
     
  48. Ah, well, defined like that, it is easy to understand your conclusion. You assert that an action must be preceded by a need. So when there is no need, there can be no action. To give a Peatarian analogy, this conclusion represents the modus operandi of weak and stressed out metabolism. Imagine this: if you were at peak health, would you simply sit on the couch because there was no needs left to be fulfilled? Or would you go out there to live your life to the fullest? Could we not, then, conclude that an omnipotent being would do something precisely because it is not lacking anything? Purely out of the joy of infinite abundance?

    Think of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The higher steps like creativity and self-expression can only be achieved once the lower steps of safety and security have been fulfilled. Considering how an omnipresent being would naturally have all his needs met, how free and motivated would he be to joyfully express himself? Very free! Very motivated!
    I think these are two different things. We could never comprehend God, but we certainly can reason about his qualities. I am just pointing out that using your own negative traits (such as tendency to boredom) as a foundation for such reasoning can be inconvenient when you are examining a divine being.
    Our environment does require us to have these traits, but what commands the environment to impose these requirements on us? Are you intentionally dismissing the possibility that practicing courage and hope in face of evil and adversity teaches us something far more permanent than competence in our given environment?

    What if the reason for our exposure to evil is for us to learn to recognize goodness? Being raised by goodness from the beginning does not teach you as much as being deprived of goodness altogether, and then being re-exposed to it. In order to truly appreciate something, you first have to to lose it.
    Well nothing is intrinsically anything. It is the context, as Ray says, that determines everything. An omnipotent being could create beings whose lives were infinite bliss. But you'd also have to explain: why would he? Clearly our Creator has something else in mind. What is this 'else'? In my opinion it points towards growth and experiencing for the sake of itself.
    Yes. I would call that death. Death is an ideal environment in accordance to your framework: no needs, no actions.
    Will is the difference between indulging in an urge the moment it appears and withstanding it until it disappears. Environment can only compel you. It does not impel.

    It would be a sorry thing if there was no room for will. It would mean that your executive consciousness emerges purely from matter, rather than a place outside the physical plane. I opt for the latter, because it is most congruent with how I experience my cognition to work. I'm viscerally experience myself as being tuned into the body, rather than being the product of the body itself.
     
  49. This fits into the idea that the fittest, most moral, closest to god will adapt and thrive and grow in the harshest of environments. It is the justification for why some people have better lives than others. It fits with the idea that god is the creditor and humans are in an eternal debt to him and his creation, the debt being our sinfulness and inability to comprehend him fully. Jesus came to alleviate that debt, but only by staying close to Jesus and god are we free of our sins. We are always one small loan payment away from hell.