For Christian de Duve, biochemical laws produce constraints so strict that chance is channeled and that appearance of Life, and even of consciousness occurs necessarily several times in the Universe:
« According to the theory which I defend, it is in the very nature of Life to generate intelligence everywhere and (as soon as) the necessary conditions are united. Conscious thinking belongs to the cosmological map, not as a random epiphenomenon strictly inherent to our biosphere, but as a fundamental property of matter. Minds are generated and nourished by Life, which is itself generated and nourished by the remaining cosmos «
You don’t expect evolution to bypass natural laws and produce miracles, isn’t it? So there are constrains. Here then nodal points are the « necessary conditions » and that de Duve say that « minds » are expected. There is nothing non-darwinian in this quotation! I understand that this is about similarity and not identity.
An analogy could be used, stars. There isn’t a single star in the universe, our Sun, and not two of them are identical, but there are similar enough to be classified in the same set, and there several different kinds. One may expect the same about minds. [and this isn’t a fictional situation, just data]
This quotation is the first in the section « Repeatability of Evolution » where Jean Staune try to undermine the « fundamental predictions which rises from Darwinian theory is the impossibility that evolution can reach the same goal twice. « . First of all, « impossibility » isn’t the right term to use: it should be quite low probability. And that doesn’t mean that is impossible, else Richard Dawkins would be in the same camp as William Dembski! [remember about 10-150] I expect that neither would be happy with that 🙂
And one shouldn’t confound « same goals » and « similar results ». « Same goals » is the way a convinced teleologist consider things, « similar results » is all we can talk about. The notions of homologous, similar and identical in biology are quite important and one should use them with great circumspection. Not even twins are identical! Quite similar certainly, but not identical.
de Duve affirms
« I chose in favor a universe which has a meaning. Not because I wish that it is thus but because thus I interpret the scientific data we have «
I’ll support this philosophical point of view. And go a little bit further. The universe has more then a « meaning », it has as much meanings as minds observing it. Some are similar, some different, some opposed. What is sure is that the universe had it’s first meaning as soon as the first mind observed it.