Arguments based on evolution suck
“insert a quote of some popular person about why they eat meat because of some evolutionary advantage.”
There have been countless times I have heard someone defend their actions and decisions with an argument based on evolution. Their carnivorous diet, their sex drive, or, in very tragic cases, their way of treating humans with certain genetic traits. While some facts they name might be proven, their understanding and usage of these facts is just off. I gathered some arguments to explain why.
#1 Evolution does not think
The way all life on earth has evolved has just been trial and error. The process of testing a trait and either accepting or dismissing it is what we now call evolution.
If a trait is accepted, a species may adapt it and evolve to simply have it.
If a trait is dismissed, an individual dies and with it the new trait.
There is no brain behind evolution, no smart visionary who can foresee the future. If a trait that is at one point an evolutionary advantage, suddenly becomes a disadvantage it might lead to the extinction of a whole species.
That is, of course, if they don’t adapt to the new stressors quickly enough.
Applied to the argument of the meat eater that means: Just because something has worked in the past, it might just be outdated by now due to constant changes in the environment. In the past there was no human induced climate crisis and no global pandemics. Now there are and therefore the stressors on the species of humanity have changed, forcing it to adapt asap.
#2 Survival of the good enough
While it is a common conception to think of evolution as a race where only the fittest species reign supreme, it can better be compared with a lazy student who just wants to pass. Evolution will not put in the effort to maximize fitness of a species or give them a cool trait to win the race. The lazy student I call evolution looks at an upright ape that might just suffocate on its own spit while all of its joints are aching and thinks: “Alright good enough.”
The student won’t redo the assignment once the class is passed and surely there will not be any effort made to give that upright ape the ability to fly, just because it would be cool. If attendance isn’t mandatory, evolution won’t even show up. Therefore “survival of the fittest” could just be called “survival of the good enough”. Any individual of a species that is good enough to not die is a pass for evolution. This approach is less competitive and opens many more opportunities than just “win or die”. It is not mandatory to be the best, the sole winner of the race of evolution, it is fine to just be good enough. There is no need to suppress anyone, because many can be good enough simultaneously.
#3 Evolution made humans smart, but not really
The Homo Sapiens is arguably the only living species on earth to know of and talk about evolution. That in itself is a huge accomplishment by evolution. We understand that changing environments bring the need for adaptation. Therefore humans can reflect on their own behavior and act quickly, without the need to wait for evolution’s tedious process of trial and error. By being aware of needs and even being able to suppress those needs temporarily in order to have a better future, humans learned to not follow every instinct. A human is capable of not eating every grain of corn from hunger, but sow some to prevent hunger in the future. A human brain is smart enough to make up a whole world with nothing but words, yet it so often fails to acknowledge its own ignorance. Some humans even argue that the way they treat women is out of their control since it is a primary instinct, given to them by evolution. Again, that specific human is probably smart in some ways, but just not really. Precisely the control of primary instincts is a very human trait.
I really hope this article helps you express yourself. It can be hard to argue against someone who uses the “fact” of evolutionary advantage for vindication. Save this article and share it, if you are at a loss of words while trying to have a conversation with a narrow-minded person. For me personally, the thought of evolution being not as competitive as one might think is really comforting, as it allows every living organism to at least coexist, or even cooperate and help one another.