The British naturalist, Charles Darwin, believed that all plants and animals had evolved from a few common ancestors. But because there is a constant struggle for existence, Darwin explained that those who do survive are those that are better adapted to the environment. From this idea, he developed the theory of natural selection.
Darwin’s theory of natural selection is different from the French naturalist Lamarck’s theory of acquired characteristics. Where Darwin believed that it is the environment that acts on the organism, Lamarck believed that it is the organism that adapts to the environment.
Let’s take the example of the giraffe. Lamarck theorised that the giraffe developed long necks because of the constant stretching to reach for the leaves on the trees. Darwin believed that the early giraffes had necks of various lengths and the ones with the longer necks were the ones that survived.
Millions and billions of years have seen the gradual evolution of plants and animals. Hundreds of thousands of years are necessary to produce a noticeable change in the genetic make-up of organisms. In this struggle for life, it is therefore the favourable traits that enable an organism to survive.
Did we say favourable traits? So, how in the world did the brainless (who somehow find themselves in public office or in administration) and the idiots (who are given driver’s licenses) survive evolution? Worse still, why are there more intellectually-challenged beings in this world than geniuses? What an odd quirk it is of natural selection or acquired characteristic if brawny-and-brainless matters more than smart-but-gunless.
With the way things are, everyone will just manage to kill each other off and the meek will inherit the Earth. In that case, there could be something to that One born in a barn…