Re: Adaptationism again

Bryant (
12 Sep 1996 14:17:30 -0600

In article <518a0m$>, Paul Gallagher <> wrote:
>In <> Stephen Barnard <> writes:
said of Gould:
>>- Relentless self-promotion, with one recycled notion of exaggerated
>>importance after another, designed to overthrow orthodoxy (which isn't a
>>bad thing in itself, but he tries too hard and keeps coming up short).
>Since Gould has made substantial contributions to most of the topics in
>evolutionary biology and paleobiology I'm intersted in, I disagree.

Since he's contributed, he is immune from relentless self-promotion??

How about when he refers to ideas first articulated by Darwin as "The
Panda Principle," in reference to his own (Gould's) book, _The Panda's
Thumb_? Is this sort of intellectual appropriation not immodest?

>>- Blatant politicising of scientific questions, thereby implicitly
>>questioning the motives of his opponents.
>Somehow I think when people write about the biological basis of society,
>the politics are there to begin with.

Evidence? What were Trivers' hidden intentions when he suggested the
theories of reciprocal altruism or parent/offspring conflict? Do tell.
What were the Thornhills *really* up to when they discussed the
evolutionary implications of rape in non-human (and later, human)
animals? What am I *really* trying to do when I test the 'baby killing'
hypothesis for postpartum depression? Can you elucidate my politics from
my science?

Has it ever crossed your mind that the folks you critique have presented
falsifiable predictions? You could (gasp!) go out and actually do some
hypothesis testing to determine whether they err or no. It would, I
think, be more productive than giving folks nasty labels and then offering
denunciations based on those labels in leiu of offering evidence of their