explaining evolution of us
The details of exactly how it evolved are shrouded in the mists of time, and the general trends seem reasonably obvious.
We are social apes. We evolved in cooperative groups, and as Axelrod demonstrated a long time ago, cooperation requires attendant strategies to prevent exploitation by cheats. Those attendant strategies require abilities to identify individuals and recall past experiences with those individuals. As that developed, inter-group signalling became important, eventually leading to language (via an evolutionary arms race with cheats). Once language developed declarative judgement, that acted as a bootstrap for recursive self awareness.
That seems to be the general theme, and we are unlikely ever to know the precise details, as there are so many simultaneous classes of adaptation and exaptation happening simultaneously.
Recursive evolution gets really complex really quickly.
That isn’t quite how science works.
Science doesn’t deal in truth.
Science works with what seems likely on balance of probabilities.
The usual standard of acceptable probability is 95% – and that is arbitrary in a sense.
A scientist must stay open to whatever the evidence indicates, and interpreting evidence is always something of an art form.
The best any scientist can say about an idea is that it has worked in all known cases to date and hasn’t been shown to be unlikely by any known experimental data.
To scientists, the notion of Truth in respect of anything in reality is an illusion.
And many scientists use the common term truth as a shorthand for the above – I dislike doing that, as it often creates an illusion of something that doesn’t exist. I much prefer using terms like “seems likely”, or “seems probable” – which more accurately convey the sense of scientific knowledge.
Science has shown through many experiments, and beyond reasonable doubt, that there is fundamental uncertainty in many aspects of reality, two of the most well known types being Heisenberg uncertainty and Goedel incompleteness.
So even scientists who start out believing in truth, are led by the evidence to uncertainty in all matters of reality.
There are many aspects to being a scientist. The most creative part is coming up with the hypothesis. This usually involves intuitive leaps of imagination. Then follows the hard work of experimental design, testing, analysis and review. Then getting someone else to independently test and verify.
Science at its best is this sort of blend of the mystical and the rational.
And science is even getting to the point that we are starting to understand just how that mystical intuitive side of being human actually works.
It seems to be real enough in a sense, just nothing much like the ancient conceptions of it were.