In his discussion with Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris makes a very interesting point at 38:45:
There is just the fact that within the Darwinian conception of how we got here, there’s no reason to believe that our cognitive faculties have evolved to put us in error free contact with reality. That’s not how they evolved. We did not evolve to be perfect mathematicians, or perfect logical operators, or perfect conceivers of scientific reality at the very small subatomic level or the very large cosmic level or the very old cosmological level. We are designed, by the happenstance of evolution, to function within a very narrow band of light intensities and physical parameters. The things we are designed to do very well are to recognize the facial expressions of apes just like ourselves and to throw objects in parabolic arcs within 100 meters and all of that. The fact that we are able to succeed to the degree that we have been in creating a vision of scientific truth and structure of the cosmos at large, that radically exceeds those narrow parameters, that is a kind of miracle. It’s an amazing fact about us that seems not to be true, remotely true, of any other species we know about.
As an evolutionist, I could not agree more with everything Harris says.
Natural selection, working with the variants it is handed, merely cobbles together systems that need only work in their immediate context. And the measure of how well they work is nothing more than the ability to generate more offspring than your competitors. Whatever works, works. Thus, when you think about the brain being cobbled together under the narrow physical parameters of our existence, but also the mere context of some barely existent quasi-hunter-gatherer lifestyle, it is a “kind of miracle” that such a hodgepodge of neural tissue would have within it the latent ability to radically exceed its selected function to ultimately grasp the subatomic, cellular, and cosmic realities of our existence. After all, as every other existing species demonstrates, and in fact, as much of human history has shown, such an ability is not necessary for survival.
Do I think a miracle occurred? No. But, from my perspective, this is a pattern that constitutes evidence – a clue – for the existence of God. The clue is not strong enough for me to insist others recognize it as evidence. But I do and it is not unreasonable that I do. I also find it remarkable that the same jury-rigged brain that can glimpse quantum physics can also consciously experience free will and a deep-seated moral sense. Quite the convergance.