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

Len Piotrowski (
Mon, 9 Sep 1996 19:27:42 GMT

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


>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.

Your pre-jealousy law theory is worthless without laws. Why even continue with
this other bankrupt tack. There is no evidence for such cultures of women
displaying "reluctance to engage in extra-pair copulations," or cultures of
"beatings" to encourage "reluctance," or cultures of "abusers."

>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.

My point is that there is no evidence it exist as a "trait," and as an
expression of a human act (albeit, culturally contingent) there is no evidence
that it is adaptive or maladaptive in any evolutionary sense.

>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.

Please note that "selection" in a discussion of dialogic processes within
social-psychology has nothing whatsoever to do with "adaptation" in the
biological sciences, but is indeed involved in the manifestation of moral
choices. But given these caveats, meaningful human behavior cannot be simply
asserted to result from emergent physical characters and retained by "natural"
selection because of their functional value related to fitness. Human behavior
is decidedly non-practical and persistent despite any such "advantages."