We don't know—probably never will know—whether simple life started only once on this planet, or whether self-replicating molecules formed many times, only for the replication process to disastrously fail at some point; or possibly be out-competed in the race for resources by the one we definitely do know happened. The one which led to the ever-branching tree we see around us today.
I am informed that the idea that all the life we see around us, including ourselves, is evolved from such beginnings, is somehow less wonderful than the idea that a celestial being poofed each species into existence with a mere thought.
That a mere microscopic speck of an organic molecule could, over time, cover every continent on the planet with uncounted varieties of self-replicating, ever-proliferating complex organisms, using nothing but sunlight. That it would eventually lead to at least one variety of organism which is self-aware enough to wonder about that long-past origin, and which has developed its social-intelligence enough to allocate resources away from its basic survival needs, in order to explore not only its own origins, but the origin of the entire universe. That at least one organism has, through the process of evolution, evolved a society which is capable of stepping outside the process which created it, and to say "no," to the idea that it should be "red in tooth and claw;" to insist that the weak, the poor, and the disadvantaged should be helped and cared for.
I find these ideas so much more wondrous than the proposal that we're mere dolls made of mud, animated by the casual thought of a creator-being longing for a bit of company.
Happy birthday, Charles Darwin. You don't look a day over a-hundred-and-eighty! Honest!
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