Early versions of World of Warcraft were almost impossible to play.
So Sholes consulted a buddy who had studied up on letter-pair frequency, and he moved the keys that were most often typed together away from each other. After a few other minor tweaks, like moving up the R key, allegedly so that salesmen could impress buyers by typing the word "TYPEWRITER" using only the top row, we had our current QWERTY arrangement. Never mind that the most commonly used letters (E, T, A, O, I, N and S, respectively) were randomly scattered all over, and that it took forever every time you wanted to type "ESTONIA." Sholes wasn't trying to make the most ergonomically sound keyboard; in fact, QWERTY is deliberately engineered to slow you down so you don't have to worry about pesky typewriter jams.
And so you don't have to put "awesome typing skills" on your insurance claim.
Why We're Stuck With It:
The only reason we're still tying our fingers in knots more than a century later is simply because QWERTY got here first.
Since then, several more "scientifically" designed keyboard layouts have been introduced, including Dvorak, Colemak and XPeRT, which no one's ever heard of but which has an extra "E" on the keyboard.
And then there's the E-board. Yes, we just did.
Now, debate rages over how much faster these alternatives are than QWERTY. But the fastest typist in the world used Dvorak to set her record, and it's hard to imagine that a layout with a semicolon in the home row would be as fast as one with an extra E.
Speed aside, countless studies show that Dvorak and others are far more ergonomically efficient, requiring fingers to move approximately a third of the distance that QWERTY requires. Oh, and QWERTY also discriminates against right-handed people. Thousands of English words can be spelled using only the left hand, while only a couple of hundred words can be typed using only the right hand. Maybe Sholes just wanted to hold his beer while he typed.