Re: Adaptationism's Lessons (was Re: Evolution, "adaptation")

Len Piotrowski (
Mon, 16 Sep 1996 18:37:59 GMT

In article <51fh22$> (Bryant) writes:


>None of this speaks to your rejection of adaptationist hypotheses for
>emotions like jealousy. I'm curious, if I ask politely, if you might
>present an alternative hypothesis. I can certainly understand
>objecting to a specific adaptationist hypothesis, but to bar discussion
>of *any* adaptive significance for emotions seems unreasonable to me.


Bryant asks for an alternative hypothesis for "emotions like jealousy," as if
such things existed in the physical world. Since he has a priori rejected any
previously presented alternative view of his "jealousy trait," or every
social-psychological metaphor for that matter, it's hard to produce nothing
from anything except through faith in his unscientific model of human
behavior as output of the phenotype. However, mere assertion repeated without
end will still not produce evidence of a "jealousy trait," or a loci
controlling such a trait, or a "jealousy craving" to account for it's
unsubstantiated universal retention in all and ancestral human groups, or
proof of his model's efficacy in accounting for human behavior. This is, by
the way, his problem to overcome, not anyone else's.

Since the "jealousy trait" only exists in Bryant's sociobiological model,
there is certainly one good alternative hypothesis for it's existence: it's an
archetype of the sociobiological myth of gene controlled behavior without
correspondence to any physical invariance that can be independently verified.
The model attributes motives to advocated behaviors through an elaborate
system of self-validating beliefs and rejects any explanations that do not
precisely follow the ritual formula. By this enchantment, the "jealousy trait"
does indeed exist, as a shared idea, and it exists because of it's
ideological fitness value universally classified across all human domains,
regardless of anyone else's perceptions to the contrary. If you doubt this
found truth, you're either ignorant or Gould bedazzled.

Claiming the objective validity of this belief system is about on par with
claiming the motives behind the Sun Dance, or any other ritual supporting a
particularistic world view, as scientifically unassailable because they cannot
be shown not to exist in that world view. Indeed, the "jealousy trait" exists
no where else and for no other reason except to support the sociobiological
paradigm. There are indeed other meta-languages in which the meaning of these
"things" are negotiated, but they are places in which Bryant refuses to



"If you can't remember what mnemonic means, you've got a problem."
- perlstyle