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I don't believe in free will either, but that does not mean that evolution is necessarily an entirely passive process, or that our lives are entirely passive processes.
Some of what you cannot control in your life is the result of actions taken by yourself/others (not even necessarily humans) at an earlier point. We have been shaped by others to be able to shape our own futures and the futures of others. We're only talking right now because a language was invented however long ago, and this entirely man-made construct has influenced reproduction since its inception. Its creation is random in an indirect sense, in that whatever inspired it was a chance occurrence, and it's still a deterministic process, but you can't deny the active role that humanity has played in its development- if nobody actively spoke English, regardless of whether it's a "choice" or not, it wouldn't exist. There are fish who have sexual dysfunctions because we dump hormones into the ocean when we pee. The evolutionary path of at least some group of creatures is inexorably altered because of a circumstance that at least someone could control. You could argue that it would have been impossible for us not to choose what we have chosen given the conditions that existed at the time, and I would agree, and that we're colonies of little machines, most of which we have next to no awareness of, and that they unknowingly conspire to become us and make us do what we do, and I would agree with that as well, but if they literally are us and they control us (themselves), we must also, then, have control. The only reason why we wouldn't would be is if there was a schism between one or more aspects of our mechanical bodies and another, like little biological countries engaged in lifelong civil war, and whatever it is that "we" are identifies with one side and not the other. So I think the real question is why it's like this, and how is it that it's even possible for us to identify with one thing and not another, and I'm sure others have answered it, but I haven't. And whether or not seceding is possible.
And back to the language thing, I think it's similar with things like sensory perception and the like, you have creatures with proto-senses and proto-proto-senses who unknowingly strive and struggle over the centuries to build what we have today, not really foreseeing the cause and effect but contributing to it anyway. It's not merely something that "happened to them" "out of nowhere" except for the very first link in the causal chain. They were the vehicle for making it happen, it is both something that they made happen and that happened to them.
>Epigenetics is WAY more complicated than you are representing itOf course it is. But it's also more complicated than the simplistic notion that nothing we do matters at all on any kind of scale whatsoever because everything is up to the non-whims of some externalized clockwork god-universe. If we literally are the convergence of some forces and those forces control some aspects of our environment, then we are controlling some aspects of our environment, and because our environment controls us and we control some aspects of it, we are controlling some aspects of ourselves.