I would assume that most people would say that the purpose of evolution is survival. Every adaptation, mutation, and change happens ultimately so that the species can survive. This is how I have always been taught.
Of course, survival is relative. Can we say that a house fly survived when its life span is less than a month? How about the Mayfly? Not much survival there as its life is anywhere from thirty-minutes to a day. Obviously, if survival is the purpose, these two species have not faired well when it comes to evolution!
If “survival of the fittest” is the theory behind evolution, then the most advanced species would be the “fittest.” They will have adapted the most in order to survive the longest. Darwin believed survival of the fittest (which he used synonymously with “natural selection”) described the species that were “better adapted for immediate, local environment.” Better adapted for what? Love? Happiness? Technological breakthroughs? Euphoria? No, survival.
Here is my question (and it is not loaded): For evolutionists (whether theistic or naturalistic): If survival is the instigator of evolution, why has man not evolved to the point that we live longer lives? Why don’t we survive longer? Why does the Giant Tortoise live so much longer than man? How have Turkey Buzzards, Swans, and Parrots managed to “out evolve” us in this most central area? All of them have a longer life span than man. Why is it that man’s lifespan is only equal to that of a catfish?
Here is a list:
- Bowhead Whale: 200 years
- Giant Tortoise: 150 years
- Box Turtle: 120 years
- Turkey Buzzard: 120 years
- Swan: 100 years
- Carp: 100 years
- Parrot: 80 years
- Elephant: 70 years
- Alligator: 68 years
- Catfish: 69 years
- Man: 67 years
- Eagle: 55 years
- Giant Salamander: 55 years
- Lion: 30 years
- Cobra: 28 years
- Beaver: 19 years
- Dog: 17 years
- Cottontail: 10 years
- Mouse: 4 years
- House fly: one month
- Mayfly: thirty minutes to a day
If we change to combat enemies (that is why spiders have venom and porcupines have quills), isn’t the greatest enemy natural death itself? It seems that after millions of years of evolution, nature would see longer natural life as the first and most important mutation to instigate. Other species were able to do it. Why not us?
You may say that we have been getting better over the last few million years. But, relatively speaking, this is not true. There are some periods where we have actually declined (e.g. in the Upper Paleolithic period we lived longer than the following Neolithic period). Technology and medicine has made life expectancy expand much in the last hundred years, but naturalistic evolution has not. Before technology, man’s lifespan gravitated between 30 to 40 years.
Where am I wrong here? Am I assuming that survival is the issue? But if it is not, what is? Being technologically savvy? Being happy? Articulating yourself in community? Having fun? Why would such things motivate mutations? It is hard enough to find an “oughtness” in survival, much less happiness and enjoyment.
Am I assuming that man is the most evolved? Is this a bad assumption? Maybe we are really only as evolved as a catfish (or nearly so)?
What constitutes a positive evolutionary “advancement”?
Is the Turkey Buzzard more evolved than me?