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

Bryant (
4 Sep 1996 14:42:12 -0600

In article <>,
Len Piotrowski <> wrote:
>Whatever your reason, and however crudely you presented it, the
>functional adaptationist explanation of your behavioral examples are still

To quote you: Duhhh. I have conceded the point. You were right about my
specific speculations. Would you perhaps be willing to move on to other
issues, now?

>>I could be mistaken, but I thought that you pulled the various quotes
>>from different msgs and put them together to show that I was being
>>inconsistent by saying Gould overstates his case and then daring to
>>speculate about the adaptive function of sugar craving and sexual jealousy.
>You are mistaken. I could provide your original post, but what difference
>would that make?

Nothing. The original points were taken out of context and put together
in a way that miscommunicated my original points.

As I have pointed out, you seem to think that the adaptationist who
asserts that selection is evolution's creative force therefore sees all
as optimally adaptive.

>>Of course. How many times must I say I'm not Dr. Pangloss before you'll
>>believe me?!
>As far as I am aware, this is the first time you've admitted to possible
>non-adaptationist origins for "sugar craving" and "jealousy," at least in this
>thread. Did I miss something along the way?

I asked several times for you to suggest some alternatives.

>>I think I just communicated poorly. And perhaps misunderstood your point.
>>I think that the adaptationist program is sensible; look for a functional
>>"purpose" for a trait before dismissing it as the result of non-selective
>>forces of evolution. It's easier, usually, to test the predictions
>>derived from adaptationist hypotheses than from hypotheses which posit
>>that a trait has no functional significance.
>This is still incongruous given your critique of Gould & Lewontin.


>poor communication, I would submit that the method you choose to "look for a
>functional "purpose" for a trait" creates only the illusion of an explanation
>because it posits a priori a need that is outside the system of analysis and
>patently unclassifiable as a "trait."

Why? Are you tossing Mendelian genetics out the window, here?