Ronald Reagan - John F Kennedy - William Shakespeare - Richard Dawkins TV - Douglas Futuyama - Benjamin Constant - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe -
I know in my heart that man is good.
That what is right will always eventually triumph.
And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life. Ronald Reagan
Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. John F Kennedy
But men may construe things after their fashion,
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar I iii 34&35, Cicero & Casca
Purpose is but the slave to memory. William Shakespeare, Hamlet III ii 176
Purpose itself has arisen in the universe, has grown up in the universe, recently. But purpose itself now that it has arisen in human brains has the potential to be another of those software innovations that is capable of taking off in a progressive self-feeding spiral. Especially when teams of humans share the same purpose. Dr Richard Dawkins, lecture 5 The Genesis of Purpose
One of the most astonishing discoveries of modern science is that the universe does not exhibit any signs of ‘purpose’ or ‘goals’. This single conclusion is probably more responsible for the profound conflict between science and religion than any other. The attractiveness of religion was that it seemed to answer the ‘why’ questions that science, presumably, could not answer. Now, modern science tells us that the question was meaningless. Richard Dawkins
We humans are obsessed with purpose … It starts in childhood … Living things on the surface have purpose written all over them … What Darwin did was to show that even the worst case, the most difficult case, that’s the living case, has a perfectly rational, simply explanation: you do not need to resort to the idea of a designer. Richard Dawkins, vs William Lane, Youtube 1.43.29
Above all, Darwin's theory of random, purposeless variation acted on by blind, purposeless natural selection provided a revolutionary new kind of answer to almost all questions that begin with ‘Why?’ Before Darwin, both philosophers and people in general answered ‘Why?’ questions by citing purpose. Since only an intelligent mind, with the capacity for forethought, can have purpose, questions such as ‘Why do plants have flowers?’ or ‘Why are there apple trees?’ – or diseases, or earthquakes – were answered by imagining the possible purpose that God could have had in creating them. This kind of explanation was made completely superfluous by Darwin’s theory of natural selection. The adaptations of organisms – long cited as the most conspicuous evidence of intelligent design in the universe – could be explained by purely mechanistic causes. For evolutionary biologists, the flower of the magnolia has a function but not a purpose. It was not designed in order to propagate the species, much less to delight us with its beauty, but instead came into existence because magnolias with brightly colored flowers reproduced more prolifically than magnolias with less brightly colored flowers. The unsettling implication of this purely material explanation is that, except in the case of human behavior, we need not invoke, nor can we find any evidence for, any design, goal, or purpose anywhere in the natural world.
It must be emphasized that all of science has come to adopt the way of thought that Darwin applied to biology. Astronomers do not seek the purpose of comets or supernovas, not chemists the purpose of hydrogen bonds. The concept of purpose plays no part in scientific explanations. Douglas Futuyama, Evolution
Art for art’s sake, with no purpose, for any purpose prevents art. But art achieves a purpose which is not its own. Benjamin Constant, 1767-1834
Be above it! Make the world serve your purpose, but do not serve it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe