Preference? Preference? We don't need no stinkin preference!
The earliest and simplest forms of living critters do not have the capability to "prefer" anything. The ability to actually prefer something only evolved slowly and emerged millions if not billions of years after life appeared. Even today the ability to even have a preference is a rare and unusual ability and seen in only a very small percentage of critters. The vast majority of living things has nothing that could create a preference or even conceive of a preference.