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

Len Piotrowski (
Fri, 6 Sep 1996 16:09:05 GMT

In article <> Stephen Barnard <> writes:


>I don't think your were joking. I think your were just ignorant of the facts.

Opinions vary. Do you expect mine to be in error?

>> >Either that or you don't know what you're talking about.
>> That's possibly true as well!

>That's more like it.

So happy to see you so easily satisfied.


>I'm not an expert. Just a reasonably well-read layman who doesn't make ex-cathedra
>pronouncements on a topic of which I'm ignorant. Ask your beloved S. Gould about
>snail's eyes. He's the expert.

Glad to hear you're not an expert. Suppose that qualifies you as an expert on
other people's ignorance, eh? As to Gould, he's not my beloved. Strange of
you to think that.


>They are eyes. Take my word for it, or ask Gould.

Your classification is as loose as Firl's. Does it include plant eyes as well?

>> >[snip]
>> "Octopuses" related to mollusks? I wouldn't know about that, or the nature of
>> Firl's expertise. Sometimes I wonder though.

>Look it up.

Citations from the well read lay-man? Both on octopuses/mollusks and Firl's
expertise, if possible.


>You stated unequivocally that molluscs don't have eyes. That is a question of fact.

Not a question of fact but of definition. I would classify what a snail has
as a light sensitive organ as distinct from my eye.

>> ... first step on the slippery slope, the need for a patch ...

>Not the "need" for a patch. Rather, the fact that having a patch puts one at an
>advantage compared to those that don't have a patch.

Not a real difference here between "need" and "advantage," neh?

>>[more of the same]
>> I don't doubt the historicity of your museum of " incremental improvements." I
>> doubt the efficacy of the functional method used to account for each of their
>> appearances and the purpose of the final system.

>So just what is it that you don't doubt?

That there are representative in your zoological garden that reflect your
concept of progressive stages in the fossil record.

>It's easy to doubt. I can easily doubt that
>your posts are coming from an actual human being, as opposed to an automatic mailer set
>up to flood the net with crypto-creationist mumbo jumbo.

I guess! Could I offer you a zoological garden as proof of my existence?


>I explained my hypothesis. What's yours?

Your hypothesis to explain your zoological garden as evolutionary progress
through "incremental improvements?" My only explanation for this is a botched
attempt at teaching "evolution."

>> >[snip]
>> I don't know. Do you believe that one proto-eye was ancestral to all eyes?

>No. They have evolved independently. That is perhaps the most compelling evidence that
>eyes are an important adaptive characteristic

How can they be independently evolved yet aspects of "incremental

>> >Is there some essential "eyeness" at work in the universe? Did
>> >some Creator decide it was a good idea? Let's hear a plausible explanation that doesn't
>> >involve adaptation.
>> I don't know of a plausible explanation for "eyeness." Your "incremental
>> steps" form a nice story, but hardly substitutes for understanding. Maybe the
>> snail's eye did arise just the way you claim. I don't doubt the "forces of
>> evolution" playing such a role. I question the methodological structure of
>> functionalism as a plausible explanation for each and every manifestation of
>> the steps of "eyeness."

>You seem to be coming around to an adaptationist point of view. Congratulations.

My point of view has never changed. Perhaps you've recognized a nuance which
your bias initially prevented.