On Our Role in Evolution

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I started reading an advanced computer science textbook today on some specific types of machine learning and I noticed that the book opened with a discussion about how complex our biological brains are at recognizing patterns. The authors commented that we regularly perform very difficult pattern recognition tasks without a second thought and it was because "we have evolved highly sophisticated neural and cognitive systems for such tasks."

That made think about how absurd it is to talk about evolution using a phrase like "we have evolved." Regardless of the motive force in our evolution, it is only a drastically misplaced reverence of ourselves as humans that would cause us to develop such a vocabulary. We have had nothing to do with our evolution. If anything "we have been evolved" by something. I am inclined to see that force as an active and personal God. One may attempt to disagree with this, but in such case one must believe it is an innate characteristic of our world that evolves us. It any event, it is wrong to suggest it is ourselves.

Therefore from now on I am going to refer to the process of our species arriving where it is in the following terms: "We have been evolved...", as in, "We have been evolved such that we can recognize sophisticated patterns without a second thought." It is a slightly awkward, but more accurate phrasing.

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