Advertisement
How to add spoiler tags, edit posts, add images etc. How to - a user's guide to the new version of Boards
Mods please check the Moderators Group for an important update on Mod tools. If you do not have access to the group, please PM Niamh. Thanks!

Reproduction and our purpose in life.

  • #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 1,414 Awkward Badger


    I had a discussion recently with some people about reproduction and one of them said "Well it is our purpose in life, its the reason we are here". I put forth the view that there is no purpose to life. That just because we have the ability to reproduce doesn't mean its our purpose in life. And being part of a species with certain capabilities doesn't put any inherent responsibility on us to act for the benefit of the species.

    A reasonable view I thought given no species as a whole has any inherent goal and does not function to benefit itself as a species. If it has reproductive capabilities then that will carry on and it will naturally fit into whatever environment it exists in with those suited to it reproducing and those not suited not reproducing.

    I was surprised at the reaction I got from all there who criticised me for my lack of understanding of evolution and natural selection. They held to the argument that the fact we are born with these abilities means that to survive and reproduce to continue the species and make it better is the reason we exist and our purpose in life.

    In my view they were the ones who didn't quite get what evolution and natural selection are and they were seeing reason and purpose where none exists. As I understand it there is no reason or purpose to those things, they are names assigned to the result of the changes through a species in relation to its environment. Those with traits more suited to the environment reproduce more, those with traits ill suited to the environment reproduce less, those traits over time become more common. Natural selection resulting in evolution over successive generations none of it done for a purpose.

    Am I right in my view of natural selection and evolution being without reason and purpose and am I right in thinking that that extends to individuals and means there is no reason or purpose to life itself in relation to being a member of a reproductive species ?


Comments



  • I had a discussion recently with some people about reproduction and one of them said "Well it is our purpose in life, its the reason we are here". I put forth the view that there is no purpose to life. That just because we have the ability to reproduce doesn't mean its our purpose in life. And being part of a species with certain capabilities doesn't put any inherent responsibility on us to act for the benefit of the species.

    A reasonable view I thought given no species as a whole has any inherent goal and does not function to benefit itself as a species. If it has reproductive capabilities then that will carry on and it will naturally fit into whatever environment it exists in with those suited to it reproducing and those not suited not reproducing.

    I was surprised at the reaction I got from all there who criticised me for my lack of understanding of evolution and natural selection. They held to the argument that the fact we are born with these abilities means that to survive and reproduce to continue the species and make it better is the reason we exist and our purpose in life.

    In my view they were the ones who didn't quite get what evolution and natural selection are and they were seeing reason and purpose where none exists. As I understand it there is no reason or purpose to those things, they are names assigned to the result of the changes through a species in relation to its environment. Those with traits more suited to the environment reproduce more, those with traits ill suited to the environment reproduce less, those traits over time become more common. Natural selection resulting in evolution over successive generations none of it done for a purpose.

    Am I right in my view of natural selection and evolution being without reason and purpose and am I right in thinking that that extends to individuals and means there is no reason or purpose to life itself in relation to being a member of a reproductive species ?

    Maybe you'll get longer replies later but this would be my non-philosophical 2c.

    Evolution through natural selection is a dumb process without purpose. Its just a term we give to part of what we've figured out about how things work, similar to the less controversial theories in the natural sciences.

    The purpose for everything (and I'd say that includes life) comes from peoples minds', (or beings who can think about themselves and their surroundings anyway). Evolution (or the laws of thermodynamics) only ever have 'purposes' in so far we give these to them through anthropomorphism.




  • What if we reproduce too much? Is our purpose then to die quicker?
    I had an interesting conversation about entropy with a friend who is doing a physics PHD. I had an interest in time with relation to entropy. And time going backwards:D
    Anyway..
    He was telling me that entropy is the purpose of the universe, or so it seems.
    Things form up into complex matter/energy in order to be broken down quicker.
    If that is the case, our overall universal purpose could be to die, or maybe to create more in order for them to die as well.
    Personally I don't think we have a purpose we need to consider too much.
    I think it's out of our control for now.
    If our species was at risk of dying out due to lack of reproduction, then I might say from a human perspective our purpose at that time was reproduction. Right now it doesn't seem to be a constant with all humans. Or we would be doomed quicker under the weight of our numbers.

    Sometimes I wonder if the reason we continue to have wars(aside from selling weapons) is to control population.
    I guess my answer is that our purpose is to die lol
    Do we bring more into the world just so they can die, or just so they can live? Which might be universally true if any?
    After all you can't continually die as a species if you don't reproduce.

    I might change my mind on this later, but that's what I think right now.




  • Torakx wrote: »
    What if we reproduce too much? Is our purpose then to die quicker?
    I had an interesting conversation about entropy with a friend who is doing a physics PHD. I had an interest in time with relation to entropy. And time going backwards:D
    Anyway..
    He was telling me that entropy is the purpose of the universe, or so it seems.
    Things form up into complex matter/energy in order to be broken down quicker.
    If that is the case, our overall universal purpose could be to die, or maybe to create more in order for them to die as well.
    Personally I don't think we have a purpose we need to consider too much.
    I think it's out of our control for now.
    If our species was at risk of dying out due to lack of reproduction, then I might say from a human perspective our purpose at that time was reproduction. Right now it doesn't seem to be a constant with all humans. Or we would be doomed quicker under the weight of our numbers.

    Sometimes I wonder if the reason we continue to have wars(aside from selling weapons) is to control population.
    I guess my answer is that our purpose is to die lol
    Do we bring more into the world just so they can die, or just so they can live? Which might be universally true if any?
    After all you can't continually die as a species if you don't reproduce.

    I might change my mind on this later, but that's what I think right now.

    I have to admit I am quite ignorant on the laws of thermodynamics. But I think this may be similar to what was said to me in the discussion. I think they ascribed purpose to something because there was an outcome that was very likely and perhaps implied by its very existence.

    I guess then there may be some confusion between purpose and consequence. I don't believe there is any inherent purpose to reproductive beings existing only consequences of existing. Reproduction being one of them death without reproduction another. Similar to the universe, there is no purpose of it existing, it simply exists and there is only consequences of it existing.




  • I had a weird experience earlier in the week looking at a few carrots I sowed, just thinking what is the point of them, they grow and they die, maybe they spread if they're lucky. I don't think there's a purpose in any divine sense, we're just here and happen to be aware of it. Don't think our purpose is to reproduce, we're here now and if our genes match the environment enough to reproduce then they will, if not they don't. It is amazing to think that all we see around us used to be a molten barren rock


Advertisement