Evolution has arguably been one of the most controversial and misunderstood topic of
discussion and research within both the societal and scientific community during the past
decennium since the release of: “On the Origin of Species” by none other than the father of the
theory of evolution, Charles Darwin himself.
As we should all keep in mind when studying scientific claims, a theory is not the same as a not
necessarily proven hypothesis. A scientific theory is a proven and well-substantiated
explanation of a natural occurrence that has been repeatedly tested and confirmed a numerous
amount of times through both observation and experimentation by several scientific minds.
Through extensive research and observation of natural phenomena, it has been concluded that
evolution is simply change, over time, in the characteristics of a population or of a species,
caused by the act of natural selection (not to be confused with artificial selection or selective
breeding caused by humans). Sometimes, evolution and natural selection results in the
production of a new species.
Darwin proposed the mechanism of natural selection to explain evolution. There was a
recognition that the organisms within different species were quite similar to each other but not
identical, they varied in many of their characteristics. It was also recognized that there was a
high death rate within many wild populations of different species and that few individuals lived
long lives and had plenty of offspring. There was in simpler terms, a struggle for existence.
Using logic, it is sensible to believe that the individuals with the characteristics which give them
a better chance of surviving within their given environment has a higher chance of surviving
longer, finding a partner, reproducing and by doing so passing on their traits to their offspring.
Those without these characteristics will die young and after some time, the overall population
will come to possess these advantageous traits due to natural selection.
A similarity can be drawn between the same way humans selectively bred and still breed sheep
with more wool and the way an organism in, for example, a snowy environment, will have a
higher chance of surviving if said organism possesses white fur which would work as camouflage against possible predators.
We now know what produces this heritable variation that is carried on from parent to offspring,
and without going into the microscopical biology (more specifically; the topic of genetics) of it, it
is safe to say that it is mainly produced by random mutations in an organism's DNA and the
different ways the two parent sex cells fuse to first form the offspring. This heritable variation
may not have an effect at all, may be detrimental or may be beneficial for the organism and the
environment it will find itself in. All of this is completely random and these types of processes
take millennia if not more to be particularly noticeable on the organisms at stake. The
completely random nature of these variations leads to the fact that different organisms have
adapted in different ways due to the different environments that can be found all around the
world. While this concept may be difficult to grasp at first due to the extreme variety of
organisms on this planet and the fact that they all originally came from the same type of
organisms, one should keep in mind that evolution and natural selection is a very logical
process and that there has been around 3.5 billion years of natural selection which has lead up
to what we can observe in today’s world, and that is an incredible amount of time.
A good example of fast evolution is antibiotic resistance within bacteria due to how fast they
replicate. If an individual has a bacterial infection and consumes antibiotics that kills off all but
0.0001% of the bacteria who by chance had a random mutation which gave them antibiotic
resistance properties, then the small remaining percentage of bacteria left will suddenly be more
well-adapted for their environment and will thrive unless killed by the immune system or another
type of antibiotic medicine. The selective breeding of wolves to today’s dogs are also a good
example of the great physical changes that can occur within a species in a relatively short
time-span of only 20.000 years, even though natural selection is not the reason for these
particular changes in this case.
It is indisputable that anything that can replicate with variation will evolve. One should not
confuse evolution with the origin of life, that is abiogenesis, it should instead be seen as the
gradual development of life even though some scientists may argue that the origin of life and
evolution are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Ever since Darwin first published his ideas in 1859, we have developed evidence for evolution
through geology, fossils, morphology, stratigraphy, DNA relationships, radiometric dating,
modern genetic experiments, epidemiology, biogeography, plate tectonics, biology, ecology,
zoology and medicine. It can be seen all around us ever since all life as we know of contain the
same nucleic acids found in their genetic information, those being: Adenine (A), Thymine (T),
Cytosine (C), Guanine (G) and Uracil (U). Humans have 96% of our DNA shared with the
chimpanzee. To put that in perspective, we humans share around 99.5% of our DNA with each
other, with the last 0.5% resulting in the variation between us.