Evolution and Its Role in Philosophy

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Philosophy

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Regardless of the perspective, Evolution acts as a philosophical guide in biology when trying to explain complex changes in life (Richards 11). The following essay will explain how evolution plays a role ins philosophy. As aforementioned, some scholars have suggested that evolution is metaphysically equivalent to religion. The argument here is that when talking about evolution and creation, we are talking about a set of beliefs held by an individual. In other words, the evolution and creation theories both have their own sets of beliefs. Hence, Evolution is comparable to religion in that they both explore belief systems (Midgley 6). Philosophy is used here since both sides, religion and evolution, agree that the creation theory is unscientific; religion is therefore tasked with convincing people that evolution is not scientific (Midgley 6). Metaphysics is the philosophical branch dealing with the issue of fundamental nature and reality. The name ‘metaphysics’ literally means ‘after physics’; simply put, metaphysics explore anything that is outside objective experience. Examples of such include religion, cosmology and epistemology (Richards 13). Essentially, metaphysics is divided into three broad categories; these include ideologies, philosophical systems and religion. Ideologies often revolve around topics such as politics and morals. Philosophical systems, on the other hand, involve overall systems of thinking such as those presented by Aristotle (Richards 13). Finally, religion metaphysics explore the topic of the nature and purpose of God. Metaphysics often comes into conflict with science as with the case of evolution (Miller 33). There are only four options available when this happens. These options include changing the science to align with the metaphysics, changing the metaphysics to match the science, changing both the science and the metaphysics so that they suit each other.

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The fourth option is to let the metaphysics explain the phenomenon that science has not been able to explain yet. The disadvantage with the fourth option is that when science manages to explain that phenomenon, then the metaphysics is diminished (Miller 34). In metaphysics, one can choose between two approaches; either to view everything as a result of the mechanisms of nature or as a result of the mind. Therefore, the metaphysical doctrine of evolution is opposed to that of the supporters of the story of creation (creationists). The worst thing about the evolution theory is that it is opposed to the theory of Mind hence it denies the existence of God (Miller 37). The issue of evolution grew from the curiosity of early scholars who sought for evidence of God from the appearance of the natural world (Miller 33).

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These scholars analyzed the design of the natural world and reported about what it told about God. This branch of study was termed natural theology. Nonetheless, evolutionists have stated that the facts and science provided by evolution do not in any way prohibit the addition of spiritual, or rather religious meaning to the whole process of evolution (Midgley 19). Philosophers also agree with this statement since science is metaphysically neutral. Science will work the same Hindus, Christians and any other religion. Though science is metaphysically neutral, it can, however, rule out some religious beliefs hence forcing such religions to revise their historical stories to be in line with scientific observations (Midgley 19). The problem here is that the theory of Evolution is not truly scientific neither is it truly metaphysical (Midgley 20). Therefore, the is a huge problem with the evolution theory when approached from a metaphysical or theological view.

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Thus, the problem of evolution can only be solved with logic derived from evolutionary philosophy. Here is where we discover that evolution does indeed play a role in philosophy. The first logic from evolutionary philosophy is that evolution existed even before humans; thus, there was a time when humans did not exist on earth (Wright 27). Thus, Evolution theory presents the fact that life on earth existed even before humans. Similarly, animals and plants also needed space and motion for their existence. The presence of space and motion on the earth’s surface provided the requirements for evolution to take over (Wright 30). Thus, evolution plays a role in philosophy since it provides some of the most fundamental foundations to build human knowledge. As aforementioned, evolutionary logic deduces that something must have existed before minds, humans and animals.

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Currently, philosophers are exploring the metaphysics of ‘what already exists’ for example space, matter and motion to try and explain the origins of human life (Wright 31). Evolution as a religion: strange hopes and stranger fears. Routledge, 2003. Miller, Kenneth R. Finding Darwin's God: a scientist's search for common ground between God and evolution. Okasha, Samir.

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