Theory Of EvolutionTheory of Evolution - How does it really work?
The theory of evolution as depicted through the evolutionary tree in my high school classroom only dealt with the macro-evolutionary chain between organic creatures. Through my quick study, I found at least five other fundamental stages of evolution that would be required prior to any possibility of organic life. In fact, each stage seemed essential to the next in the overall theory...
The first is "Cosmic Evolution" - the idea that space, time, matter and energy somehow "exploded" (or expanded) from essentially nothing in the sudden "big bang" that was the birth of our universe. The second stage is "Stellar Evolution." Since the big bang is thought to have produced only Hydrogen, Helium and a variety of subatomic particles, these elements must have somehow condensed into stars through some sort of evolutionary process. The third stage is "Chemical Evolution." According to general thought, the only chemical elements produced by the Big Bang were Hydrogen and Helium (and possibly Lithium). As a result of the incredible heat and pressure within stars, these original elements somehow evolved into the other 88 naturally occurring chemical elements we observe today.
The fourth stage is "Planetary Evolution." The complex chemical elements thought to have evolved within ancient stars were somehow ejected, possibly at the violent deaths of stellar life cycles, releasing great clouds of swirling compounds. These clouds of chemical elements somehow formed finely-tuned solar systems, including our own. The fifth phase is "Organic Evolution" (also known as "spontaneous generation"). The theory is that the planet Earth began as a molten mass of matter a few billions years ago. It cooled off into solid, dry rock. Then, it rained on the rocks for millions of years, forming great oceans. Eventually, this "prebiotic rock soup" (water + rock) came alive and spawned the first self-replicating organic systems.
OK, now I had more questions than ever, but at least I made it to the base of the so-called evolution tree. This is where the sixth phase of general evolutionary theory occurs -- "Macro Evolution." All living creatures are thought to share a common ancestor: a relatively "simple" single-celled organism, which evolved from inorganic matter (so-called, "rock soup"). Essentially, the birds and the bananas, the fishes and the flowers, are all genetically related. Oh, we need to add one more... The seventh and final stage of the theory is "Micro Evolution." Micro Evolution is the variation and variety of traits expressed in sexually compatible "kinds" of organisms. Examples include the differences between various kinds of horses, dogs, cats, etc. This "variation within a kind" is what Darwin observed in the mid-1800's, and what we still observe today...
OK, let's recap... Evolutionary Theory appears to have seven distinct and interrelated phases, set by Science in the following order:
- Cosmic Evolution. The development of space, time, matter and energy from nothing.
Stellar Evolution. The development of complex stars from the chaotic first elements.
Chemical Evolution. The development of all chemical elements from an original two.
Planetary Evolution. The development of planetary systems from swirling elements.
Organic Evolution. The development of organic life from inorganic matter (a rock).
Macro-Evolution. The development of one kind of life from a totally different kind of life.
Micro-Evolution. The development of variations within the same kind of life.
Wait. Where did this come from in the first place? Did this really all start with Darwin? Is this all in Darwin's book? Did I even read that book? It seems everyone remembers reading Darwin's Origin of Species, but how many of us really have? Darwinian evolution was presented as such an established fact in my high school biology class, I guess there wasn't any reason to go back and read the original theoretical treatise... That was then -- this is now. I decided to read Darwin's book for myself...