Another one for the “I can’t believe we’re still having to explain this” file.
Evolution is not random. Aspects of it are random, but there is another process that is forgotten… selection.
Evolution is not best summed up as ‘random mutation/natural selection’. There are a host of other factors involved. Limiting evolution to RM/NS is almost a strawman, at least when dealing with the real science and not the 5th grade level concepts.
Yes, mutational events are random. Some mutations will instantly kill the organism. That’s selection though. Some mutations will increase the viability of the organism allowing it to leave more offspring. That’s selection though.
An illustration should suffice.
Take a shoebox. Through in a bunch of 6-sided dice. Put the top on and shake vigorously for a few minutes. Open the lid and look. Now remove all the dice with 1s.
The shaking of the dice and the results of the dice are random. But we are ‘selecting’ a group to remove. That is not random. The selection aspect of evolution makes it non-random.
Because of that selection part of the evolution, trends can be established. If evolution where completely random, then there would be no trend. The trend is toward organisms that are more fit for their environment.
Notice that last phrase… “for their environment”. That’s a critical part of evolutionary theory that is also overlooked.
But let’s look at our box of dice again. Let’s say we have 100 dice in the box. We remove all the 1s and put them aside. Repeat.
Over time, the number of 1s that we have will increase. That is the trend that results from selecting a particular attribute. That attribute will tend to increase.
Yes, odd things will happen. An individual with a desirable trait may die accidentally instead of having lots and lots of offspring.
But evolution isn’t about individuals. It’s about populations. Over time, the trend will be that more fit individuals for that environment will become more common.