Re: Adaptationism again

Bryant (
9 Sep 1996 09:56:37 -0600

In article <510ab1$>, Paul Gallagher <> wrote:
>In <50hbuo$> (Bryant) writes:
>>Apparently, Lewtontin underwent a major religious conversion before
>>co-authoring the "Spandrels" paper with Gould the following year, or he
>>knew better, and whispers amongst biologists that the spandrels paper was
>>a strategic platform from which to assault sociobiology in the popular
>>press are valid.
>Which whispering biologists have you been hanging out with? The critique
>of pan-adaptationism long predated the "Spandrels of San Marco" paper.
>Gould and Seilacher and Raup's key works on the subject appeared in the
>early 1970's, before Wilson's "Sociobiology" was published.

Indeed, it has. But pan-adaptationism has been dead for a longer time
than group selectionism. The Spandrels paper set up a straw man, and
many (see recent essays in _Quarterly Review of Biology_, for instance
["The Spaniels of St. Marx," for one]) see the paper therefore as a
launching pad for Gould's later attacks in the popular press.

There simply are no academic Panglossians out there. Gould created the
monster so that he could strike it down (viva Gould).

Most of his points about adaptation were more articulately presented by
an adaptationist named Williams in his 1966 critique of group selection
thinking, _Adaptation and Natural Selection_.