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✦ ✦ Unlabelled ✦ Evolution’s purpose …to grow toward ever-widening realizations of beauty, truth, and goodness

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Science has increasingly shown how everything in the universe is subject to evolution—including matter, life, and human culture—these very facts reveal that the process of evolution is unmistakably progressive. And as we come to see how evolution progresses, this reveals evolution’s purpose …to grow toward ever-widening realizations of beauty, truth, and goodness. McIntosh argues that the purpose of evolution is not “intelligently designed” or otherwise externally controlled; rather, its purpose is being creatively and originally discerned through the choices of evolutionary creatures themselves. Without relying on any spiritual authorities, the author shows how the scientific story of our origins is actually a profound and sacred teaching compatible with many forms of contemporary spirituality.  . . the evolution of human consciousness and culture is real evolution. Although it cannot be conflated with biological evolution, it is nevertheless the latest phase of the unfolding epic of evolution that can be traced all the way back to the original emergence of time and space 13.7 billion years ago in the big bang. When we view evolution from this macro perspective, we can begin to recognize it as an incontrovertibly purposeful phenomenon.
Recognizing the foundational role of purpose in the unfolding of evolution helps us see that the purpose of evolution is increasingly up to us. From the very beginning, humans have worked to improve their relative conditions. And over the course of history, humans have improved their conditions most dramatically by improving their definition of what counts as improvement—by evolving their values and their worldviews into more inclusive frames of reference. For example, through cultural evolution, in at least some places, the scope of those worthy of moral consideration has expanded from the family or tribe to those of the same religion, then to those with the same nationality, and now to all sentient beings. And just as our sense of goodness has evolved by stages into increasingly worldcentric conceptions, our sense of truth has likewise evolved from magical to mythical to scientific, and now to increasingly holistic levels of understanding
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