Historically and currently, one of the greatest obstacles to acceptance of evolution is the claim that human thought is a product of it. Alfred Wallace, who discovered natural selection independently of Darwin, was never able to accept that it applied to minds, which he thought had an irreducible spirituality. Students today find that the most implausible aspect of Darwin’s theory is the suggestion that it could provide a way of accounting for the operations of human minds. Here students have a double difficulty: not only is evolution an emergent process on the Darwinian account, but thinking is also an emergent process on the account currently being developed in neuroscience. … Thus the human mind is an emergent process resulting from an emergent process! So it is small wonder that students and ordinary people, not to mention many contemporary philosophers, have great difficulty imagining how mind could be the result of brain structures arising from natural selection.
Amazing how evolution works. Fortunately they have already solved much of the problem:
Thagard and Aubie (2008) offer a neuro computational model of emotional consciousness that explains how many interacting brain areas can generate such emotions as happiness.
It’s good to know happiness is no longer an issue. Nonetheless, there remains the problem of the actual evidence for free will:
Third, within our lifetimes, people are not completely constrained by the kinds of physical and biological forces that generated evolution, but rather operate by free will. Not only is free will supported by our subjective experience of having genuine choices to make, it also fits with our preferred view of ourselves and others as responsible agents.
But of course free will is an illusion and students need to understand this. Ultimately, evolution must be shown to be true in the same old way it has always been shown to be true, by comparing it with those “competing hypotheses” such as creationism. Religion drives science and it matters.