Holmes Rolston (Templeton prize 2003) is a Philospher who uses a Dawinist perspective to analyse its implications for the nature of Humans whom he indicates are far above other creatures in key mental capacities. In particular he is interested in the origins of science (which evaluates the "is" of life), ethics and religion (which evaluate the "oughts" of life).
The driving force behind evolution is survival. If Darwinism struggles to find an explanation for human scientific rationality it goes into shear fits when it tries to explain ethical behaviour. Rolston devotes a chapter to each of these. In Darwinistic terms ethics and religion must be present or have persisted for some survival advantage. If the modern mankind now concludes that neither is strictly necessary does this mean that their genetic line is doomed for evolutionary extinction?
One of Rolston's key conclusions is that just as the qualities of oxygen and carbon don't give us any hint at what life forms might be like, in turn simple life does not predict the genius of the human mind including intentionality -we know there are other minds. The transitions from atom to life to mind reveal marked transitions each associated with a huge addition of information, genetic at the first level and cultural/historical at the next level. Such information requires a source.
Here are some quotable quotes:
"Why not recognise that there is a human genius, exemplified by science, that does transcend biology?"(p197)
"No theory can look at a protozoan and deduce an eye or a brain. There is no argument why this has happened, nor that it ought to have happened. There are no equations into which one can introduce amino acids, or microbes, or trilobites as initial conditions to specify variables and then solve them to produce dinosaurs, or mastodons, or persons." (p210)
"But the same science that demands a conscience has difficulty explaining and authorising conscience, for we struggle to understand how amoral nature evolved the moral animal,.."(p 215)
"Ethics is as undeniably present, ideal and real, as are genes, and just as much among the wonders of creation"(p283)
"..we still need to ask whether the animal in which such faith emerges, Homo Sapiens, is coping now because it is detecting the truth:there is a divine will for life to continue."(p296)
"It is implausible that life should have evolved a bad computational logic that is a good adaptive fit."(337)
"The idea of God has been among the most fertile in shaping history. That is the fertility that ultimately needs to be explained"(p348)
"For in fact, on Earth, there really isn't anything in rocks that suggests the possibility of Homo sapiens, much less the American Civil War, or the World Wide Web, and to say that all these possibilities are lurking there, even though nothing we know about rocks, or carbon atoms, or electrons and protons suggests this is simply to let possibilities float in from nowhere"(p352)
"Looking at a pool of amino acids and seeing dinosaurs or homo sapiens in them is something like looking at a pile of alphabetical letters and seeing Hamlet. In fact Hamlet is not lurking around a pile of A_Z's; such a play is not within their possibility space - not until Shakespeare comes around,.."(p355)
"For the lack of better explanations, the usual turn here is simply to conclude that nature is self-organising (autopoiesis), though, since no 'self' is present, this is better termed spontaneously organising. An autopoietic process can be just a name, like 'soporific' tendencies, used to label the mysterious genesis of more out of less, a seemingly scientific name that is really a sort of mystic chant over a miraculously fertile universe."(p359)