Re: Evolution, "adaptation", and what's currently adaptive

Len Piotrowski (
Wed, 28 Aug 1996 20:27:05 GMT

In article <501ikj$> (Bryant) writes:


>Perhaps we should take the example of thirst.

Since you have no answer to the "sugar craving" gene or the "jealousy" gene,
why not move on to something more up your alley.

>The neuropeptide causing
>the sensation of thirst has been identified (and, therefore, you would
>presumably agree that there are relevant genes for selection to have
>acted upon were thirst somehow evolutionarily adventageous).

I can't figure out what your saying here. A neuropeptide causes the
"sensation" of thirst. Where does it "cause" this sensation, where does it
come from, and how is it produced and transmitted? (Excuse me for my ignorance
of this esoterica).

>That neuropeptide is a "physical object" by your accounting, yes?

I take your word for it.

>It seems that you haven't addressed a central issue in our debate,
>Lenny. If not the creation of adaptation by natural selection, what
>force of evolution created the architecture atop the tongue which detects

I believe the question of central importance was "sugar craving" in humans, or
have you shifted gears.

>Or thirst?

I had no idea thirst was detected by receptors in the mouth. Care to elaborate?

>Selection can act upon behaviors just as surely as on
>bone structure, I believe. You don't seem to agree.

Not in the same way, I think, especially meaningful human behavior. Is it
natural selection that effects your choice of pants in the morning, or pants
at all for that matter?

But that's beside the point. I take issue with your general functionalist
practice in as much as it related to your critique of Gould & Lewontin's