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

Len Piotrowski (
Fri, 6 Sep 1996 13:43:22 GMT

In article <50n2uu$> (Bryant) writes:


>In article <>,
>Len Piotrowski <> wrote:
>bryant said:
>>>My "non-sex seeking" "argument," insomuch as that question was an
>>>argument, was simply asked to make the point that not everything designed
>>>by selection is manifest in juvenile organisms.
>>Just so! You're proof of design by selection for the "jealousy trait" is

>The above was not an argument about selection favoring sexual jealousy--a
>defense I abandoned seven or so posts ago. It was, rather, an attempt to
>explain to you the inherent fallacy in your implied (and since abandoned)
>argument that if a trait is not evident in juveniles, it is not "innate."

I've not abandoned an argument I've never made. The point illustrated the
contradiction in your own position. Either your "trait" is expressed or not,
"innate" or not, it cannot be both and still remain a functional adaptation by
your particular account of the "jealousy urge."

>[ethnographic review snipped for brevity] ...That men compromise and put
>up with giving other men sexual access to their women does not mean that
>this inspires no resentment in the wife-sharers. Especially if it is not
>a reciprocal relationship of some kind (in other words, if it is coerced).

And your evidence for this conclusion is what? An assertion that "jealousy"
exists as a "trait" and therefore must be a universal characteristic of all
human males?

>>>You have yet to offer a sound rationale for rejecting emotions (or, more
>>>precisely, the behaviors they motivate) as being subject to natural

>>I think you've got it backwards. You have yet to offer convincing proof of the
>>Darwinian efficacy of "sugar craving" and the "jealousy urge."

>Yes, I do. Agreed. For the tenth time. We agreed, mutually, to move on
>to more general topics.

Yet your argument always brings you back to your favorite topics.

>Let me put the more general question to you this way:

>Are emotions non-functional and is the neurological hardware which
>conveys a capacity to feel them the result of the random accumulation of
>alleles which have not been selectively favored through evolutionary
>time? That's a nice, simple, yes/no question. Which, most probably, do
>you think is correct?

I suppose for you it would be nice to have such a black-and-white order to
your world. But I'll have to disappoint you. The question is not simple, nor
clear cut. It assumes "emotions" are some *thing* versus some "act." It
presupposes innate "neurological hardware" to achieve this act that is
unlearned and not subject to control reorganization, or caught up in the
emerging social-psychology of human interaction. I am not prepared to make a
blanket statement one way or another about some fuzzy class of social actions,
states, properties, values, behaviors, reactions, meanings, or contexts you've
lumped together under the rubric of "emotions." Because you may well be
willing to fill the breech doesn't guarantee your method a monopoly on the