Evolution - What else?
Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution changed the world forever and is pretty much indisputable. The theory in a nutshell is survival of the fittest. That doesn't always mean the fastest and strongest but rather the most well adapted to the surroundings and competition. That can mean better at hiding, smarter, smaller, and/or bigger among all sorts of things.
Darwin's theory suggests that all creatures go through tiny random mutations. Some stay and some go with the ones that stay being those that provide an advantage over all the rest. The successful mutations get passed to the next generation and the one after that, until they cumulate into vast changes and completely new species. Enormous lengths of time are involved, and things are ever changing with the environment.
At the time of publishing the theory highly controversial and went against established doctrine. As much as some people wanted to dismiss it, Darwin did a ton of research and presented it in such a way as to leave it almost impossible to dispute. It's now righly so one of the pillars of modern science.
So where to go from here. What else is there to talk about? I'm not going to dispute at all what Darwin proposed so many years ago. What I'm not buying is that random mutations are the whole story. The amazingly diverse and facinating array of creatures, and the way they have adapted to survive, seems to be too much of a coincidence to be simply fueled by random mutations.
Woah this isn't a religious spiel is it? No. There's plenty of other sites that can tell you how God or Gods or whatnot had a hand in everything. While out of respect I'm not going to discount that, I think for now we can consider a more scientific explanation.
Let's start with some questions that I don't feel random mutation can explain so easily, or are perhaps a bit too convenient.
Dive down deep into the ocean. Deeper than almost conceivable and you find live. It's not everywhere but there's enough that you could say it's thriving. There's little to no sunlight at these depths so most creatures have adapted some pretty interesting ways to get around and find food. The thing that interests me is the large number of creatures that have developed some method of generating their own light. The light comes from bacteria inside them but it's one in the same.
It took humans thousands of years to develop sources of light other than fire. It is one of the most challenging things to do. It seems almost too good to be true that bacteria would develop light producing abilities in the first place, let alone in the probably the most useful place for it to happen.
Don't forget our own human species. We're unique in that we are able to overcome physical shortcomings by using our big brains. We can wear clothes to keep ourselves warm. We can assign smaller people to climb trees and make tools, while the larger people do the hunting and building. All people have ways to contribute so who is fitter than who?
With this mental advantage going back as much as 100,000 years, how did the unique colour varieties of our skin come about in such completness by region purely by random mutation? If the mutations were wholly random, it seems that coupled with human adaptiveness, such a complete adaptation would likely never fully occur.
Alright, so what am I suggesting? We all know that our bodies can adapt a certain amount without thousands of years of evolution. Those who live in tropical climates are extra cold when they visit cold places (until they adapt), and those from colder climates can't imagine how anyone could where pants when the tropical sun is shining.
If our bodies can adapt, then why can't they pass this new information onto the next generation? If a new food results in more energy and better health, then why can't genes be programmed to crave the taste of it? I propose that while random mutation likely plays a role, we should not under estimate the individual power of the cells we're made of.
Billions of years ago, single celled organisms found out that if they worked together, they would be more successful and could thrive with less effort. Do you think that was random luck, or do you think that they: started doing it, found it helped, the next generation came along and saw that it worked too, and eventually that just got programmed in.
I'd rather not think that we owe everything we are to some convenient and random luck. In my experience, life is just way too clever for that.