Evolution theory plays a significant role in why we religiously look for meaning. One of the main principles of evolution theory is the survival of the fittest. Fittest, or sometimes also called strongest, is somewhat of a mistake made by Darwin. For predators, it can be advantageous to be fit and strong, and the same goes for the gazelle, but most gazelles will probably survive because they are skittish. You could say that most animals’ best survival strategy is to run away at the first sign of danger; even the Lyon will be wise to run away once it knows of the threat a man with a gun can be. Darwin should have called his theory: survival of the scariest.
The earliest multicellular organisms were probably already fleeing away for the first sign of danger, giving this trade through the consecutive evolutions to the birds who still fly away when they hear a sound they can’t place. It is an evolutionary advantage for an animal to run away when it perceives danger. If it was curious, it might be caught and eaten; this adventure’s behavior is bound to die out; only the animals that hear a strange noise and react by fleeing have a good chance to live and procreate. This reaction to noises, smells, and sight slowly turned into patterns. When a twig breaks, underbrush moves, and a dark shadow appears, and the eyes of a predator open, a pattern is born: broken twig = uncertainty = predator. In reality, the sound of a broken twig was seldom followed by a predator, but the scared animal still reacted as if there was an animal because it reacted to a learned and inherited pattern.
This habit of translating more complex circumstances, like living in constant danger in a jungle, into simpler patterns is the reason why the earlies man started to believe that there were “Gods” in the sky. They thought that lighting striking a tree was similar to them making a spark with flint to light a fire. This is because the simple pattern is: I hit a flint, and a spark follows when you then see lighting coming from the sky, and it makes a fire; the simple pattern tells you that someone strikes a flint in the sky and makes a fire. We now know why there is lightning, and we can also describe in minute detail how an arm works and how it moves and grips a flint etc etc. We now understand, or we can learn to understand if we want to, a lot of forces in nature and the reasons why things happen, but we also still have this pattern-seeking habit in us.
So, we know that we live in a complicated world where we try to find meaning, like the bird in a thick and overwhelming jungle. Because it is hard to see the meaning In this overload of information, we dissect it, so to say, in easier-to-understand pieces and translate that into a pattern we can handle. This dissecting of reality that faces you happens without reasons; it just happens, for the same reason, the bird flees when it hears a noise. The reality is that we all “simplify” the world around us, not because we are ignorant, but because it is our first reaction to life.
We see patterns because the animal that doesn’t take the time to find out where the sound comes from but just flees will survive and give this habit to their offspring. We more modern people have not evolved much further than that instinctive reaction, but when the first philosophers in India and Greece woke up, human life turned a corner. The philosophers were curious and went out looking for that proverbial dangerous sound they heard. They found out that their society was by then so evolved that they were literally safe for predators outside the gates. These philosophers slowly dethroned the many gods in the sky till the modern scientist no longer have any use for a supernatural explanation for what happens in nature.
But scientists can explain more and more reasons “how” we are here, but they still have a problem with “why” we are here. This is not a problem for most scientists because when you can look past the fear that comes with searching for a why and start seeing how wonderful nature works, you will realize that you don’t need this “why.” The reality is that there is no reason why we are here; life has no meaning besides the one we give it ourselves.