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Life & Philosophy Science

Evolution is all chance variation and luck

Without chance variation and experimentation, evolution does not exist. It is through struggle and adaptation we evolve. Survival shocks us out of our complacency. 

“Evolution depends on the existence of high-fidelity copying but not perfect copying, since mutations (copying errors) are the ultimate source of all novelty,” writes Daniel Dennett in his book From Bacteria to Bach: The Evolution of Minds.

The robust animal develops over time — rounding out the imperfections — in perpetual revision to amplify an accumulation of mistakes. 

But natural selection depends on effort and luck

Good fortune rewards those who not only get the longer beak but ride out the wave of their mutation to advance.

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Science

Think of humans ‘as a little fish out of water’

There’s more than one theory of evolution, most notably Darwinian natural selection. But according to LSU biology professor Prosanta Chakrabarty, we’re still evolving.

We’re not the goal of evolution. Think of us all as young leaves on this ancient and gigantic tree of life — connected by invisible branches not just to each other, but to our extinct relatives and our evolutionary ancestors.

From pond scum to fish to humans

From fish to amphibians to reptiles to primates with big brains, every living thing today is the product of four billion years of evolution. The shared ancestry may appear linear (e.g. monkeys > chimpanzees > humans) but single cell organisms are still evolving to this day.

Meanwhile, ‘primitive’ bacteria and plants will be the ones that survive us all.