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

Bryant (
5 Sep 1996 10:27:00 -0600

In article <>,
Len Piotrowski <> wrote:
>>>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?
>I'm not, at least I don't think I am. I'm wondering out loud at how
>Mendelian genetics necessarily fits the functionalist paradigm, that's all.

It's not necessarily or inherently functionalist. It does, however,
speak against your objection to the recognition of component "traits" of
an organism as being able to evolve in a manner sloppily called
"independent" of the rest of the organism. (Because of selection for
integration --"canalization"-- this is not strictly true, of course, but
the whole system is still driven by selection on traits.)

Mendelian genetics supports a view of individual organisms as "collections of
traits," which I understood you to object to.