Much of the popular debate about evolution is between neo-Darwinians and neo-Paleyans (advocates of “intelligent design”). If you ask a neo-Paleyan who the intelligent designer is, they typically say they believe “God”, but there are other possible answers, for example, “extraterrestrials”, which begs the question “Who designed extraterrestrials?”, although I will ignore it.
What surprises me is that nobody ever mentions the contributions of not-so-intelligent designers such as are made routinely by living organisms. “Mate selection”, for example, is an obvious activity where intelligence matters. Intelligent people typically marry other intelligent people, and have a higher probability of producing intelligent offspring than you would expect from a mating of people of average intelligence.
At the other end of the spectrum of pairings, there are those that are candidates for the Darwin Prize. I once saw a bull elephant with a very obvious erection, perhaps out of his mind with “heat”, chasing after a rhinoceros fleeing in terror. Had a coupling occurred, I don’t think an offspring would have been likely, but if perchance it did occur and led to an offspring of its own, the chance of the offspring mating successfully would probably be very low; the organism produced would be too small to mate with elephants and too large to mate with rhinos. For those who have not seen elephants and rhinos together, let me assure you that elephants are LOT bigger—especially when they are approaching your car.
These examples show that intelligence (or stupidity) is injected into the evolutionary process by the intelligent (or stupid) organisms themselves. There is nothing god-like about people, elephants or their intelligence. Thus, we arrive easily at a theory of not-so-intelligent design, on which I think neo-Darwinians and neo-Paleyans should agree, but which both are likely to reject as challenging their most cherished ideas.