In the immortal words of Sam Seaborn: "Let's forget about the fact that you're comin' a little late to the party and embrace the idea that you showed up at all."
I now understand why Conor was going on and on about Darwin in his Hamlyn lecture ("The Crisis of Authority: Can Human Rights Survive?"), a month or so afterwards. See, I'm pretty sure he was giving us a secular response to this exchange:
"Why do we have human rights?"
"Well, because we're human!"
"But, why does that make us special?"
The religious answer is, of course, "Because God created each one of us to be special and unique and sacred (and with a bit of him/herself mixed in the pot, if you're Quaker)."
The secular answer, I think, that Conor was suggesting is "Because even if we're only here because of some random mutations of genes, it's still pretty amazing and that makes each one of us both special and vital to the continued genetic flourishing of the human race." Hence, the Darwin.
I'm not sure yet whether or not I buy that line (although I do think that the fact that humans exist is somewhat miraculous, considering everything could have happened differently), but give me another few months and I might have figured it out!
And, be proud that I'm actually doing school work!