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

Bryant (
6 Sep 1996 13:41:10 -0600

In article <>,
Len Piotrowski <> wrote:
>In article <50mvjp$> (Bryant) writes:
>>Male sexual jealousy no longer serves an adaptive purpose (a
>>fitness-enhancing purpose), I argued, because of laws which punish
>>expressions of this emotion.
>The majority of recorded cultures have no such "laws." I for one am unaware of
>any local, state, or federal "jealousy" laws in the US. Maybe you can

Then, in those cultures (short of a woman's kin retaliating for her
abuse), jealous behavior which leads to her reluctance to engage in
extra-pair copulations (beatings can encourage such reluctance, you'll
allow?) may still be adaptive. Since adaptive means, promotes the
genetic fitness of the fellow doing the abusing.

In the context of our own culture, it may be very maladaptive, since
mating opportunities are limited in prison or after your angry wife has
cut off your penis. My point was that adaptations need not be currently
adaptive, let alone optimally so.

Please note that "adaptive" in evolutionary terms has nothing whatsoever
to do with how psychologists use the term (well adjusted, etc.) and is no
guide to moral or acceptable behavior.