This is why physicists don’t generally work on biology problems, and vice versa. Two scientists at Princeton University made an interesting protein discovery, where a specific protein acts as a sort of error-correction for DNA strands, only now they think the protein they found is actually the mechanism driving evolution.
Now, you must be thinking, “what the hell is a computer geek with no science credentials doing, telling some PhD level scientists they’ve got their heads up their asses?” And normally, you’d be dead right. But in this case, these scientists are claiming that this protein is driving biological organisms to change themselves within their own lifespans, when all they’ve proven is that the protein corrects DNA replication errors (think Scandisk for the DNA in all your cells).
Here’s the thing about evolution. It has no intent. There is no driving force, no guiding hand — evolution is not equal to God fiddling with our DNA, it is rather the by-product of the natural world. Evolution is defined as the net sum of what happens when biological organisms change from generation to generation, with the environment and random chance (like how even creatures with evolutionary advantages might sometimes eat a rotten berry or get seen by a predator and eaten), ending certain genotypes early. Evolution is not pushing creatures to change — evolution IS the change, over time, of creatures upon whom an evolutionary influence is exerted.
So, here we have creatures that mutate certain genes naturally when they reproduce. Some of these gene mutations are advantageous, and those creatures have an increased ability to survive. Some are disadvantageous, and they are more likely to die before reproducing. These mutations happen when the zygote is formed. Later on, once out of that zygote stage, those aforementioned proteins try to prevent DNA replication errors throughout the body, because if a cell’s DNA is altered through a mutation, it can become a freckle, a mole, a cancerous tumor, et cetera. So these proteins fight what could become cancer and kill you, but they don’t actively drive a living creature to suddenly sprout an extra arm or grow gills during that creature’s lifespan.
There need be no magic mechanism that “explains why all that random chance formed you and I”, because the naturalistic explanation works just fine in explaining that. Over millions of iterations of reproduction, wherein genes have fused, new genes expressed, genes have had errors in transcription that happen to work out nicely, whole new features can come into being practically spontaneously when the environment selects for certain abilities. The Cambrian Explosion happened after a dramatic shift in the environment. Likewise when plants evolved to emit oxygen and started pumping out that otherwise corrosive gas in record amounts, so too did creatures evolve to breathe it. No need for an invisible hand rewriting our genetic code, and no need for a special protein to drive us to change within the span of our own lives to adapt to the new circumstances of our environment, when reproduction and natural selection (meaning specifically, how some genes can be advantageous for survival or reproduction) both have explained the whole process quite nicely.
I’m likely to edit this post later to include a bunch of links or videos to explain things better.