I think that there isn't any intelligence needed for the process to work. Natural selection isn't really a conscious selection between traits, its blind. It however is the most logical outcome as to why a mutation may survive based on traits. In one sense Natural selection works because its the by-product of a life as variation occurs in all living things.PaulSacramento wrote:Oh yes, I agree on your explanation.hughfarey wrote:I think I understand, but we are not quite as hopelessly ignorant of ideas as some seem to think.
Can I try to work my way through this (below)?
"Something happens..." - Yes. Genetic change via incorrect reproduction or radiation.
"and, somehow, the animal realizes..." Surely a metaphor. The animal doesn't realise anything.
"that white fur helps in the hunting process ( camouflage)..." Yes. Such an animal captures prey quicker, eats more easily, is healthier, and has more time for mating. Although the increased mating facility may be offset by decreased 'attractiveness' to the opposite sex, as long as the one outweighs the other the new genetic structure will be passed on to some of its offspring.
"and, somehow,..." as long as the genes for white fur are passed on at all, they will tend to occur in increasingly large numbers of animals. Gradually white animals will out-perform darker ones in a snowy environment, which eventually leads to the darker ones becoming a minority. They may struggle on as a minority, die out, move elsewhere, or simply, by near universal interbreeding, be absorbed into the white community.
"via natural selection..." That's what natural selection is.
"that trait is "passed" on as a "beneficial trait"..." Beneficial, defined as leading to increased reproductive success.
"but we don't know WHY this happens." Well, as you can see, we've a pretty good idea.
We just don't know HOW or WHY the natural selection process works and, IMO, I believe it is an "internal programming" in the cells.
I mean, the process isn't "intelligent" enough to "deduce" what is or isn't beneficial if it were then it would be "intelligent" right?
I mean we know WHY a trait is selected via natural selection but we don't know WHY natural selection works at all.
An animal has to eat, mate etc. And because of mutations, the dynamic is established as it correspondends with the environment, food, weather etc. What we call natural selection is really the reproduction rate of genes which help an animal do what it does at a more efficient rate then others around it.
We may Call it natural selection but its real usage was to distinguish against artificial selections such as humans breeding dogs. And btw this is the reason why the argument of lab fruit flies and human bred dogs into a debate about evolution has never been a strong argument since both of these are artificial selections.
Anyway, I think that it's easy to see why NS happens. It is a consequence of life. The same way earthquakes and tectonic plates are a necessary consequence of a planet with an active core. The process doesn't need intelligence to work.