Unguided Evolution and Cognitive Bias on Purpose

In the last decade or two, several key parts of the overall picture have been snapping into place. We now have highly compelling and entirely plausible models for how our world, life, and consciousness could have emerged entirely spontaneously and unguided—all the way from the universe’s origin (astonishingly) to its present complexity. No external or first cause is required, no intelligent designer, and no guiding hand.

At the same time, advances in psychological sciences have demonstrated that our tendency to assume that the universe or specific events have inherent purpose and meaning simply reflects cognitive biases of our human brains. Humans are strongly predisposed to overattribute pattern and conscious intention to events. These tendencies most likely evolved as by-products of our highly attuned capacities to detect predators and prey and to cooperate as social animals by readily identifying patterns and inferring other beings’ intentions from those patterns.

From “Finding Purpose In A Godless World”. Ralph Lewis. 2018.