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

Bryant (
4 Sep 1996 15:10:41 -0600

In article <>,
Len Piotrowski <> wrote:

>I guess I've gotten this message, but not quite in this manner. If "sugar
>craving" and "jealousy" are not currently adaptive for humans, why should they
>have ever been adaptive for humans?

Um, because the Pleistocene knew no sugar cane (and hence no soda, candy,
etc.) and because there were not yet laws designed to control domestic

If you don't understand the basic points I was making, why hijack the
thread in the manner you have, Lenny? Why not just ask for clarification?

>I never rejected the "presence" of taste buds, nipples, peni, vermaronasal
>organs, or any other physical trait, nor doubted the probable evolutionary
>development of these characteristics. Concurrent to pointing out the
>incongruity of your critique of Gould & Lewontin while at the same time
>presenting functional examples, I challenged your application of the
>adaptationist functional paradigm to aspects of meaningful human behavior.

That's absurd. If I present a functionalist explanation, I'm not allowed
to critique Gould?! Have you even read Gould and Lewontin's famous 1979
paper? EVEN THEY say that selection --not drift-- is evolution's most
powerful force. They just argue that adaptationists see EVERY trait as

My examples did none of these things, and the supposed incongruity you
harp about existed nowhere outside your own skull.


>>No, testable. There are living representatives of the various
>>fossil-evidenced steps of ancestral eye evolution.
>It's still just a story, so distorted by time and ranging across so many
>individual, varied lifetimes that it has no real explanatory significance
>to the meaning of seeing a parade on Labor Day.

You've got to be kidding. How are Gould's "just how" constraint tales
any less susceptible to such a charge?