Below is an article that touches upon the co-operative nature and inter-connectivity of cells. It does not dispute natural selection – of course, but it does point out how cellular life has evolved over billions of years by communicating with each other. Before reading the article, I would just like to add that Hebb’s law could be applied here, i.e. “Neurons that fire together wire together.” In other words, at a cellular level, experiences encountered become embedded in neural networks.
Repeated experiences become increasingly embedded in this net, making it easier for the neurons to fire (respond to the experience) and wire together, If you think of the internet today, this is similar to how evolution may have proceeded, i.e. it has learned to evolve through trial and error as the neural networks exchange information and more importantly – cells/neurons retain memory of experience and wire together building upon earlier experiences. If you apply the analogy of the internet to the neural net, then you know that once everything was in place to share information (i.e. the hardware and software to connect), then boy did we start connecting! I believe that evolution has taken a similar path (and it is very non-Darwinian, please see other articles on this site) and indeed, is anything but slow or gradual, or random, or via natural selection, but, rather via epigenetic evolutionary processes and a clearly established mechanism known as natural genetic engineering. The article in the link below gives an insight into some of the multi-cellular activity and connectivity being discovered from our past. .How did multicellularity evolve? | Machines Like Us.