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

Len Piotrowski (
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 22:23:12 GMT

In article <50kr8h$> (Bryant) writes:


>>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

Sugar receptors only for Pleistocene humans? Jealousy arose because of the
lack of human laws?

>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 think I have. Clarification such as the above doesn't seem to help.

>>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.

It's absurd to be skeptical that meaningful human behavior is the result of
functional adaptation?

>If I present a functionalist explanation, I'm not allowed
>to critique Gould?!

Of course you can. I wondered about the point of it.

> 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

Yes I have, but you've missed my point. I make claim, as you might allow,
that meaningful human behaviors are not currently adaptive. However, I have
reservations about meaningful human interaction having ever been adaptive.

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

So be it.

>>>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?

No I'm not kidding. I didn't say that Gould's "just how" constraint tales
were any less a problem for understanding meaningful human interaction.