Re: Breast Size (Was: Re: Homosexuality and genetic determinism)

Bryant (
7 Jun 1995 06:23:39 -0600

In article <3r2guv$534@tardis.trl.OZ.AU>,
Jacques Guy <> wrote:
> (Bryant) writes:
>>But once one understands how selection works, a little
>>working short-hand language isn't so horrible a thing. We talk about
>>evolutionary "strategies" all the time, but none of us means this literally.
>Oftentimes have I seen evolutionist arguments trying to explain how this
>or that absolutely useless feature is "adaptative". The knee-jerk reaction that
>every evolved trait must be explained in terms of giving an advantage
>is pervasive. You talk of evolutionary strategies all the time, so
>much that eventually you come to believe in them.

We read a different body of evolutionary literature, then. It's quite
rare (within the field) to see Panglossian hyperadaptationism. The key,
of course, is to *test* one's hypotheses.


>It is *not* silly. It is this "amongst friends" which is silly. It
>implies that, "amongst friends", evolution can be discussed in a
>special language which, taken literally, is the very negation of
>Darwinian principles. I see in that a perversion of language
>not unlike Orwell's newspeak. From now on, I shall, with friends
>discuss politics using "freedom" for "slavery", "peace" for "war"
>and vice versa.

You credit words with too much power. Those who understand
individualistic, non-directed selection are not going to slip into some
literal interpretation of short-hand terms like "strategy," "selfish
genes," "function" or "purpose."