“If one were to draw up a list of things that make us special, it would probably include things like these. Humans are (or can be) self-conscious, capable of rational reflection and deliberation, of making plans and carrying them out. They fall in love, they have children, form family bonds, and care for one another. Some of them write poems or compose symphonies or discover proofs of deep mathematical theorems. Others understand and appreciate those poems and symphonies and theorems. Non-human animals share some, though by no means all, of these characteristics; and none are shared by rocks.
“So why aren’t characteristics like these – all of which could be found in a Godless universe – sufficient to make us ‘special’ ? That we are the ‘accidental by-products’ of mindless natural processes, or that we haven’t been around very long, or that we won’t be around all that much longer, or that we are tiny in comparison with the universe is entirely beside the point. What matters to
our worth is what we are – not how we got here or how long we will be here. If that’s right, then no matter how much angst an atheist may experience in the face of a mindless, unplanned, unguided, silent universe, the unvarnished facts of her condition do not deprive her of worth. “
–Wes Morriston (“God and the ontological foundation of morality,” Religious Studies, Cambridge University Press , p. 9-10)