Is Natural Selection a Form of Intelligent Design?

Natural selection has a IQ (Intelligence Quotient) of only about 1 but look around the plants and animals on the planet. The results are so impressive many people attributed them to a supernatural being. Granted, natural selection gets billions of years to hone its designs. Anatomists can see the design blunders, but natural selection is about being good enough, not perfection.

Natural selection could be thought of like a minor deity who ran an American Idol-like contest:

  1. Look at all the animals (and plants)
  2. Rank them considering how many living offspring they had, ability to stay alive, how sexy they were to the opposite sex, metabolic efficiency (ability to get fat easily)…
  3. Only the top x% gets to participate in the next generation (ratio differs by species). The rest are either already killed or rejected from breeding.
  4. Repeat

Because every generation is not genetically identical, due to mutations that create individual differences, there will always be a ranking. And every generation will be marginally better than the previous one. Over time, indescribably small differences add up. That is evolution in a nutshell.

Of course, natural selection is just nature as a whole, not a deity. Nature daily plays out the dramas of predator-prey. The interactions are guided by the motivations of the animals involved, not by some bearded man in the sky playing with his toy animals. The struggle for life and reproduction pits all creatures against each other in a huge contest. Only the offspring of victors get to go to the next round of breeding. That keeps upping the quality of the competitors every generation.

Christians insist such microchanges could never add up to anything of significance. How much longer would human penises be after a mere 10 thousand generations if they were on average only a thousandth of an inch longer each generation. Answer 10 inches longer. Evolution is much more patient than you.

What’s optimal changes over time. In an ice age, a long hairy coat is better. During global warming, a coat just long enough to repel insect bites is best. Natural selection automatically changes the selection criteria on the fly, which results in populations growing or losing hair over the generations to best match the changing climate. Ditto for skin colour.

Just in case I have mislead you with analogies, let me make it clear, there is no conscious agency of any kind involved with evolution, mutations or natural selection, other than the evolving animals themselves.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)