It was selected for….

Kyle was reading me some excepts from anarticle and this passage stuck out to me:

That phrase — “it was selected for” — is regarded as a sufficient explanation for . . . everything. The same mundane phrase is given as the explanation for everything under the sun. How did the bats get sonar? “It arose by an accidental mutation of the genes and was selected for. Next question?” How did the eye develop? “Piecemeal. There was a random mutation and it conferred an advantage so it was selected for. Then the same thing happened over and over again. Next question?” How did the camel get its hump? “Random mutations conferred some advantage and so they were selected for. Next question?”

Now the author goes on to discuss this in the light of “the theorist merely contemplates the trait in question and makes up a plausible story as to how it might have been advantageous.” But what stuck out to me was the word selection and something that had been nagging at me clicked.

Selection requires intelligence. I mean think about it for a second. If you have two different traits, one that is advantageous and one that isn’t, the theorists say that the advantageous one is “selected for,” but my question is who’s doing the selecting?

If the answer is nature, then lets look at it a bit more closely. Let’s use the classic example of the peppered moth that everyone is told about. If a black moth and a gray moth are sitting on a gray tree, the bird is going to select the bug that it can see. It has enough intelligence to distinguish it’s meal from the bark. And the result is that the gray moths reproduce more. If the tree gets covered in soot, like during the industrial revolution, the bird will now select the gray moth to become it’s evening appetizer instead of the black moth causing the black moth to reproduce. Do you see it? There is a form of intelligence selecting for a trait in both cases. The trait isn’t necessarily being selected by the moth but it is being selected by the hungry bird.

Similarly, many types of animals, including people, select for different traits like speed, beauty, intelligence, etc. It’s the idea that there is a selection process that has me so excited. Maybe the theorists and evolutionists need to find a new word because if there is selction, there has to be some sort of intelligence.

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