Thursday, March 9, 2017

Is Kahneman’s book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" relevant for evolution theories?

Yes it is. Daniel Kahneman defines fast thinking as the kind of thinking that is most efficient when you are under an attack, in a traffic situation etc. Fast thinking focuses on only a part of the problem in order to find a good enough solution fast. In other situations one should rather prefer slow thinking in order to be sure the right solution is selected. But he showed that it is easy to be fooled to think too fast also in situations when there is more than enough time available for thinking. Highly relevant variables or processes may be seen as unimportant, but only thorough thinking can determine if that is true. He had seen that the distinction between the two ways of thinking is relevant in his profession, economics. But I will show that there are also lots of examples of too fast thinking in evolution theories. I will here mention just three of them:

  1. The modern synthesis committee made a decision to see adaptation of allele frequencies in a population as controlled entirely by selection. That may have been a correct decision, but they also posited that evolution, i.e. speciation and creation of new features, was a direct result of such allele frequency changes. But that is a simplification that makes the conclusion incorrect. New features may only be created through the right series of mutations. 
  2. Margulis had to fight for a decade before her theory was accepted, and then one should expect that the thinking was thorough enough. But as I have shown, those that evaluated the theory and found that it was (nearly) proven did not evaluate all the other possibilities that could explain their observations. 
  3. Nick Lane presented "proofs" for a theory that increase of membrane area is needed to support more genes. I have shown that there are many missing links in his arguments. 

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