Are we becoming more intelligent, bigger, stronger, more savage, or what – in short, are we still evolving? If so – should we regard ourselves as simply some accidental by-product of nature? At the final Bible and Science Worcester Talk in our current series, Simon Conway Morris, a Christian and Professor of Palaeobiology at Cambridge University argues not.
Christians and evolutionary biologists are like oil and water: they don’t mix too well. Here I will try to use the oil, not as a libation, but to calm the waters. Evolution is true, it happens and that is the world as it is. Does this reduce us to insignificance, one puzzled ape hanging on for grim death on the vast arboresence we call the Tree of Life? Not at all. Any such existentialist judgement presupposes a theory of meaning, and all we want to ask is how evolution allowed us to get to a stage where we could even begin to ask, let alone attempt to answer, that question. In evolution convergence, self-organization and co-option together suggest the outcomes are far more restricted than is usually believed. Something like a human is very much on the cards. If so, then we might take comfort that meaning is valid, but there is a twist in this tale….
A poster with more information about this talk can be found at the following link Simon Conway Morris – 18 Mar 14.