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

Len Piotrowski (
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 19:23:48 GMT

In article <50k6s5$> (Bryant) writes:


>>It's a central problem to your thesis of a functional adaptationist
>>explanation for a human behavior. Do babies in your family display

>Not until they're a bit past infancy. What's your point, Lenny? They're
>not sex-seeking either. Would you argue that sex urges are therefore not

Didn't contemplate your "jealousy" urges on the same plane as "sex urges." So
why don't you lay out for us your entire theory about "jealousy" so that we
may evaluate it without any hidden caveats. By this assertion above, jealousy
shouldn't appear until sexual maturity? Or are you proposing an independent
jealousy maturation process?

>>>Lenny, unless organic chemistry is an exercise in metaphysics,
>>>nueropeptides count as physical entities. :)
>>Unless I become an organic chemist, I'll have to take your word for it, capice?

>So we are brought to the question of whether you mean that
>(A) You think I've made neuropeptides up myself, and there's no actual
>evidence that they exist,
>or (B) You think that proteins can be "non-physical entities."

or [C] I have no independent means of evaluation. Isn't taking your word on it
good enough, or must I go back to school on that one too!

>You could try to speak more plainly, Lenny. You leave your audience
>guessing at what exactly you are trying to say a lot of the time. See
>the first quote above. You seem to suggest that if a trait is not
>present at infancy, it is not an evolved trait. Is that really what
>you're arguing?

Let me put it to you this way, Bryant. I doubt the efficacy of your "jealousy
trait." If a sib is jealous of their mom paying inordinate attention to her
newborn, is that affected by your "not sex-seeking" argument? When does
rivalry end and jealousy begin? Is your perceptual interpretation of an act as
"jealousy" a true, invariance? Can other motives explain the same
perceived behavior? If this behavior is never actuated, is it still evolved?
If the perceived behavior is unlearned, or never learned, is it still
adaptive? Is it possible that "jealousy" exists as a trait yet is never