Can we be completely explained by science?
Are we just oxygen, calcium, carbon, sulphur, magnesium et al?
Are we inherently ‘programmed’ to behave in certain ways, do we react to physical and mental stimuli as a result of electrical impulses?
Do we think and act independently or is it all just synapses, impulses, biological algorithms?
Do we make decisions or do they make themselves?
I believe in science. I subscribe to Darwin/Darwinism, to his theory of evolution.
I believe that we are here for a purpose, to reproduce, to pass on our genes, to enrich the gene pool, to make the next generation stronger and to leave the world in a better condition, a better state, than it was before we were born (as a collective, humanity, we’re failing but that’s another matter).
I believe that we are inherently programmed/wired to act in ways which lead to us fulfilling our purpose, ways which lead us to effectively and efficiently play our part in human evolution. For instance, ‘fight or flight’, how we react when we perceive danger, it’s ‘just’ a chemical process designed to put us in the best physical and mental position to be able to cope with the situation, it’s the science of survival and self-preservation under the umbrella of Darwinian evolution.
But can everything we do in our lives be explained by science?
Are there any flaws in Darwin’s theory of evolution?
Do we have a ‘soul’? Is there a part of us which defies rational, scientific explanation?
Love is a piece which, IMHO, does not fit in the Darwinian jigsaw of our lives.
From a Darwinian, a science of evolution, perspective/standpoint, love doesn’t make sense.
In a perfect Darwinian world, I don’t think ‘love’, romantic, amorous love, would exist.
In a perfect Darwinian world, a man would be ‘with’ a different woman every day (yes, I know, some are), men would have hundreds of children, they’d be spreading their genes far and wide.
Men would not be falling in love and committing themselves to a woman for the rest of their lives, they would not be limiting themselves to having two or three children. As for women, they wouldn’t be falling in love, committing themselves to a single man for the rest of their lives, limiting themselves to the genes of just one man (I appreciate that marriage/domesticity is a social construct).
Furthermore, when we love and then lose our partner, we mourn, often for the rest of our lives. In a perfect Darwinian world, we wouldn’t mourn, we’d get over the loss within 24 hours and we’d be with another partner in days, getting on with the job of reproducing and enriching the gene pool.
Grief and mourning have no role to play in evolution!
So, how do I explain, understand, comprehend, perceive ‘love’?
Before I proceed, let me say at this point that I am not a ‘God Gap’ ‘offender’. Professor Richard Dawkins talks about the ‘God Gap’, the tendency of many ‘believers’ to argue that where there is a gap in our knowledge, when science can’t explain something, that ‘gap’ is evidence of God. I am not going to argue that where I see a conflict between Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and the existence of love, that we have evidence, at that point, of God. The following is simply how I feel, it’s not a substantive theory.
I feel, I have a strong sense that, love is the light, is a manifestation, of what I believe is our ‘soul’.
I also believe that ‘the soul’ is almost indefinable, that it is ethereal and, in that respect, it is difficult to define within literary limitations.
I have a problem reconciling my need to think rationally with an out and out belief in God, certainly a theistic god (ie the God of the monotheistic religions) (I find it easier to grapple with the idea of a deistic or a pantheistic god but I digress). I don’t think that I can go further than this: I feel that love is a product of our soul and that our soul is that element within us that makes us who we are, that it is our soul which makes us human, that puts some distance between what we are and science. I believe that love, empathy, kindness emanate from our soul. I believe that when we are moved, moved to tears, by sights and sounds, when we experience euphoria, we feel it in our soul. I believe that art/music is a reflection of the soul (and that evil is a reflection of a bad/damaged soul).
I appreciate that science is rational and that spirituality/faith in God (or a god or gods) is irrational but I also feel that it’s irrational to believe that love, empathy, kindness, compassion are the products of chemical/scientific processes. I just have a sense that there is another dimension, a dimension to us, which goes beyond science and that our soul is the nucleus of that other dimension.