Today, I have this little movie for you showing the evolution of life in 60 seconds. It puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it?
I’m still fascinated by this amazing logarithm “the survival of the fittest.” As Daniel Dennett writes, “I say if I could give a prize to the single best idea anybody ever had, I’d give it to Darwin—ahead of Newton, ahead of Einstein, ahead of everybody else. Why? Because Darwin’s idea put together the two biggest worlds, the world of mechanism and material, and physical causes on the one hand (the lifeless world of matter) and the world of meaning, and purpose, and goals.”
Let me quote from my own little book “Evolution“:
“When we say that natural selection favors the fittest, we do not mean the one and only champion, but the fitter (or best-fitted) in the population. How fit they will have to be, depends on the environmental circumstances. In times of food abundance, more individuals will be fit enough to survive and play another round. In times of famine and scarce resources, maybe only the champions will have a chance. In any case, the algorithm ‘the fittest’ is always at work.
Most objections to the theory of evolution by natural selection fail to realize the function of time. Given enough time, whenever there is variation, natural selection will come up with all imaginable forms of life, always the fittest for the given environment and period.”
It’s all so simple. For example, I know beyond any reasonable doubt that you, my friends reading these lines right now, have all had fit ancestors. How do I know that? I’ll leave that one for you to figure out.
Featured image: Simulations of the volcano hypothesis were able to create organic molecules. Life could have originated in a ‘warm little pond’ in similar ways. (From “Evolution” by Roger Abrantes. Picture: Mount Rinjani, Indonesia by Oliver Spalt.)