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I'm familiar with why we reproduce. But with genes themselves, why does it matter that all life strives to have their own genetic makeup copy and evolve itself to 'exist' in some way, shape or form? I don't want to talk about why it doesn't matter, keep it to why it does.

Why would the driving force for all existence and life be about creating things that slightly resemble ourselves less and less as time passes? When we die we die. We have no connection to our eggs or our sperm even in life...they are just mucus or urine or any other waste byproduct we produce.

I can't help but feel there must be a hidden purpose to our genes for it to drive everything THIS FAR. After all, it doesn't make sense that we would do it just so 'something else' could exist...where's the logic in that? Would you work your whole life just so there's another human around when you die? The only valid reason as individuals I can see is that we did it because it would make us live longer so our children would be able to care of us...but this can't be correct because parents are compelled biologically to sacrifice themselves for their children.

Or is there no individual purpose to our genes? Are we simply worker ants created by something to evolve and develop some kind of "super genes" for later harvest?

There has got to be some kind of actual reason why propagating 'our individual' genes matters, whether it's dependent or independent of us as individuals. What is the reason?

  • There is no "hidden purpose"; the only (clear) purpose of reproduction is to produce new copies of DNA. Individuals are only the "support" needed for duplication and diffusion of DNA. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Sep 10 '19 at 6:58
  • The reason is not hidden, it is the propagation of the species. Those whose genes were not propagated are simply not around to inquire about it, so we tend to have a built-in motivation to do it. But it does not mean that individuals are bound by it. If one is a hedonist who only values personal life, or a "mind over matter" idealist, who cares about leaving a cultural mark, rather than a biological one, they would not value gene propagation, and this reason would be indifferent to them. What is to be valued can not be derived from what is, so it can not come out of facts and logic alone. – Conifold Sep 10 '19 at 7:36
  • By "hidden purpose", do you mean that evolution itself has a purpose (it doesn't), or are you asking if there is a purposeful reason why you, as an individual, should care whether you have descendants or not? – Ray Butterworth Sep 10 '19 at 14:04
  • You might be interested in the work of the philosopher Samuel Scheffler, who writes a lot about the way in which our sense of our activities as "meaningful" is closely connected to the sense that we are contributing to different sorts of projects and long-term goals that will continue beyond our personal death...see the interview with him here for example, or his book Death and the Afterlife. In this sense it might not be important that you personally have kids, just that enough people do that humanity will continue. – Hypnosifl Sep 10 '19 at 15:06
  • "I can't help but feel" - that feeling was put in you by evolution in order to help you reproduce. – Ask About Monica Sep 10 '19 at 16:42
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The OP asks the following question:

Why would the driving force for all existence and life be about creating things that slightly resemble ourselves less and less as time passes?

There are two competing Darwinian models of evolution. One is phyletic gradualism. Wikipedia describes this as follows:

Phyletic gradualism is a model of evolution which theorizes that most speciation is slow, uniform and gradual. When evolution occurs in this mode, it is usually by the steady transformation of a whole species into a new one (through a process called anagenesis). In this view no clear line of demarcation exists between an ancestral species and a descendant species, unless splitting occurs. The theory is contrasted with punctuated equilibrium.

This appears to be the view assumed by the question. However, consider the contrasting model, punctuated equilibrium:

Punctuated equilibrium (also called punctuated equilibria) is a theory in evolutionary biology which proposes that once a species appears in the fossil record the population will become stable, showing little evolutionary change for most of its geological history. This state of little or no morphological change is called stasis. When significant evolutionary change occurs, the theory proposes that it is generally restricted to rare and geologically rapid events of branching speciation called cladogenesis.

From the perspective of this model the goal of reproduction is not to gradually change individuals so we "resemble ourselves less and less as time passes", but as time passes to permit us to stay the same because our species is in a period of stasis. Genes support that stasis, not gradual change.

The OP also asks:

Or is there no individual purpose to our genes? Are we simply worker ants created by something to evolve and develop some kind of "super genes" for later harvest?

From the perspective of punctuated equilibrium the purpose of our genes is to keep the species in a period of stasis. It is not to create super genes. This second model is supported by the fossil record and values species over individuals. For a history of the various evolutionary theories associated with Darwinism see Niles Eldredge's Eternal Ephemera. He and Stephen Jay Gould originated punctuated equilibrium in the 1970s.

We may still be "worker ants", but we serve our species, not some future individual with super genes.


Wikipedia contributors. (2018, June 13). Phyletic gradualism. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:17, September 10, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Phyletic_gradualism&oldid=845764212

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, September 9). Punctuated equilibrium. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:28, September 10, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Punctuated_equilibrium&oldid=914749553

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  • Darwinism doesn't explain what I'm looking for. It presents a model for species as we know them on earth today. It shares the fallacy of science.There's something missing from it...something tied to the individuals themselves. I wanted ideas on what that was. One dot doesn't suddenly exist via a big bang and clone itself for the dot species. There's something missing, something tied to the dot's individual being. Or... the dot is just a machine hardwired to clone itself and evolve and be the progenitor of todays universe. But then some being must have programmed it for some kind of purpose. – kite Sep 11 '19 at 9:33
  • Like the movie prometheus, had humans created by aliens via their genes as a science experiment. We propagated inline with our programming...to enhance our species and spread so we are the ideal colony size for experimentation. Just like how humans program robots to do actions....for some ultimate later purpose. So its either that, or were all somehow still apart of or living with that dot created after the big bang or some other event where the dot came into existance. – kite Sep 11 '19 at 9:38
  • i'm looking for whats logical but can't be yet proven. Science has to exclude the logical in favour of what can't be proven wrong. its stuck on its pre-existing models, its not designed to have all the answers. I'll think of how to repose the op. – kite Sep 11 '19 at 9:43
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It is through genes that transferring of heredity from a parent to offspring occurs and this determine some characteristic of the offspring. This has great significance for living beings to lead a family/social life. It would be very difficult to communicate with other beings of the same category if there had been no such transferring of heredity. And humans, especially as they are in the topmost order, need this very much. In the case of humans, art, music, literature etc wouldn't have developed as we see now if there had been no such transferring. Sharing of feelings and ideas in smaller groups develops first, sharing in larger groups comes next only. Some similarities are necessary for this. And this can happen through transferring of genes.

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