• Question: Why do we exist?- do you think we have purpose in life?

    Asked by robsterwrecker to Amy, Andy on 24 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Amy Reeve

      Amy Reeve answered on 24 Jun 2011:

      Hi Robster

      In terms of evolution our purpose is to pass on our genes to the next generation to ensure the survival of our species. But i think our purpose in life is to be the best that we can be, to love and laugh, and to make the most of everyday, because you never know how long you’ve got.

    • Photo: Andy MacLeod

      Andy MacLeod answered on 24 Jun 2011:

      Hey there robsterwrecker. Two very different questions there, the first of which can be subjected to objective scientific analysis, the second I think is more for people to work out for themselves.

      We exist, as a species, because we evolved and adapted to live on this planet. The question of the origin of life hasn’t been definitively resolved, but I do like Darwin’s notion of a “warm little pond” filled with chemicals, that somehow came together to form the first lifeforms. “God done it” just seems like a much less interesting answer. I’m a big fan of natural selection. One of the best ideas EVER. And possibly the closest we can get to a dedcutive argument in biology. If you accept that there are limited resources available to a population of creatures, and that there is variation in creatures ability to use those resources, AND that some of that variability is inherited, then Natural Selection follows logically from there, and we get the wonderful diversity of life that we see today. Even without the logic, evolution still seems like a much more interesting answer than “God done it”.

      You can probably tell I’m not a particularly religious person, so the second part of your question might prove more difficult to answer. Just as it should. Purpose and morality are weighty philosophical issues that people have been discussing for millenia. I rember a conversation with a philosphy student who responded “why do you assume life must have a meaning?”. I don’t think it HAS to. We could just drift through life and never think about it. But I think we CAN give it meaning ourselves. We are free to choose how we live, to make our own moral choices, and to give our own life meaning. This IS a lot more difficult than just accepting the word of a holy book, but I think it’s much more rewarding in the long run. I think life only has purpose insofar as we give it purpose.

      Thanks for the question (and for putting up with me indulding my philosophical ramblings!). Really made me think about stuff. 😀