23 Misconceptions in evolution theories I
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Last updated on 2016-11-21
About the Book
Evolution of life was defined by Darwin, but he did not really understand the mechanisms behind. We know a lot more about the molecular and cellular composition of life than he did, but there is still no theory for how evolution takes place. One of the best known theories, the result of the modern synthesis or "neo-Darwinism" can explain adaptation, but not novelty. Symbiogenesis can explain some very special cases of speciation, but not novelty in general. Some scientists have given up the explanation of novelty by scientific means and instead posit that some intelligence has created life and is controlling its evolution.
Darwin’s great idea was that species are not created, but have evolved from parent species through speciation. His dream was to prove how this could take place, or at least describe it without reasonable doubt. His explanation was that evolution, including speciation and creation of new features was performed by the same mechanisms that are at work for adaptation of a species for changing conditions. He collected the best that he found among theories for adaptation. One of the theories, described e.g. by Malthus, was "Survival of the fittest". It could work if there was some mechanism for creating inheritable variation. Like Wallace, he called it "Natural Selection" due to its resemblance with the selection of individuals for reproduction that breeders used.
He was not fully convinced about his mechanisms for variation, but he used the two mechanisms that were most common. Both of them were disproved by the end of the nineteenth century, and although mutations were found as a good substitute at the beginning of the twentieth century, the ruling theories for adaptation by 1940 were based only on selection. Evolution was thereby ruled out, and Darwin’s dream was as far ahead as it was at his time. And it still is.
I will here show that evolution can be explained if we open for mutations and see selection in a new perspective. In this book I explain how scientific argumentation can explain the missing cases of novelty. A new theory, "Contra-Darwinism", explains not only the adaptation that takes place between the creation of new genes, but also the gene creation process. Understanding creative evolution depends on non-obvious thinking. The fast way of thinking is the most obvious one, while slow thinking takes into account more information and does not draw too fast conclusions. The book points out too fast conclusions in neo-Darwinism, as represented by Richard Dawkins and in symbiogenesis, as represented by Lynn Margulis. Contra-Darwinism shows that creative evolution is a bottom-up design process, similar to processes involved in human inventions, and it shows how protection from selective processes is necessary in order to make critical improvements. Opportunistic trial-and-error in combination with removal of non-optimal variants on all levels of organization has produced the forms of life that we have today.
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