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If an asteroid wipes out 90% of the world's population, the remaining 10% are the organisms that were in some way equipped to survive an asteroid impact.

But they probably weren't the smartest ones, and it is the evolution of intelligence that interests me. If you are relying on coin flips to come up with a million heads in a row, it can't be good that 90% of your coins disappear.

The evolution of intelligence undoubtedly interests you, but it doesn't interest the natural world at all. Just because something is evolving doesn't mean it is working towards a specific goal such as intelligence. It's just that intelligent animals happened to have a big enough survival advantage to reproduce rapidly and populate the earth. But remember, the rapid development of intelligence that is evident in the human race only happened within the last two million years. That's a remarkably rapid pace when compared to the total billions of years that the whole process took. So your argument about how long it would take clearly doesn't apply here.

You're right, the survivors weren't necessarily "the smartest ones". But they would be the ones who had specific features that helped them survive the asteroid impact. Just off the top of my head, some traits that might help an animal survive an asteroid impact: it might habitually nest in holes underground, where the initial impact won't hit it directly. It might be capable of storing energy (food, oxygen) for long periods of time -- that might be necessary, since the sun would be obscured by dust for a few years. These are not things that require "smarts", but they are non-random anyway.

If you are relying on coin flips to come up with a million heads in a row, it can't be good that 90% of your coins disappear.

Not if the disappearances are completely random coins, no. But if disappearing coins consisted of 99% of the tails and only 81% of the heads, you might actually be much closer to your goal than before, because the relative number of heads and tails present has changed a lot.

It seems to me that you are a little unclear about the role that random chance plays in evolution. The process is called "natural selection" for a reason; animals don't die random in equal numbers, but they die "selectively" in numbers proportional to their phenotypes. You might want to give the "Evolution and Chance" FAQ on talkorigins a read. Unfortunately their server is down right now. But when it comes back, go to
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