Re: Adaptationism again

Bryant (
13 Sep 1996 10:43:25 -0600

In article <51br2c$>, Paul Gallagher <> wrote:

>But since you ask: Gould and Lewontin don't accuse people of thinking that
>every single trait is currently optimal.

Are we reading the same Gould?! Two quotes:

"...evolutionary biologists, in their tendency to focus exclusively on
immediate adaptation to local conditions..."

--Gould & Lewontin, "The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian
Paradigm", 1979 (Proceedings B, Royal Society of London).

"How exclusive is natural selection as an agent of evolutionary change?
Must all features of organisms be viewed as adaptations?"

--Gould, page 49, _The Panda's Thumb_

Gould plainly said that adaptationists focus "exclusively" on current
utility. That's false, as anybody familiar with the biological
literature can attest. Hence my argument that Gould uses straw-man
arguments and overstates his case against the mainstream of evolutionary