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

Bryant (
17 Sep 1996 08:57:27 -0600

In article <51l3v4$>,
Robert Snower <> wrote:
> (Paul Gallagher) wrote:
>>It does not follow that Bryant is right that there is a gene for
>>jealousy. Most genetic determinists are genetic reductionists and
>>cultural functionalists.

As I have pointed out before, genetic determinism is a meaningless
phrase. As is environmental determinism. It is the epigenetic
interaction of genotype with developmental environment that creates an

>>By the way, has there been a heritability study for jealousy?

Not that I know of. I doubt there's much heritability for jealousy,
although I'd be surprised if it is not environmentally facultative.

Traits which are species-typical have been driven to "fixation," meaning
that there's no heritability in their expression.

>There is no gene for "jealousy." There might be a gene, or genes, for
>an instance of jealousy, or instances of jealousy. There are no genes
>for abstract concepts, including "altruism," or "selfishness."

These abstract concepts are descriptors of behaviors which require,
ultimately, information processing and behavior generating brain
mechanisms, as I already explained. Interestingly, nobody has responded
to that point, that even learning theory requires inherited behavioral
mechanisms. Since it blows away this silliness about sociobiologists
making assumptions about brain that learning theorists don't--and that we
should have to identify the molecular loci of "genes" for each behavior
studied--I think it is rather central to this debate.


>Best wishes. R. Snower