Re: Constraints (was Re: Adaptationism's Lessons)

Bryant (
18 Sep 1996 09:52:06 -0600

In article <51n998$>, Paul Gallagher <> wrote:

>Didn't you look at the Lenski paper I recommended? That's not prediction
>testing science? If there are multiple adaptive peaks adjacent to your
>starting point, you can't make predictions based on selection. That was
>in the Spandrels paper you said you read! Why do think stochastic models
>aren't prediction testing science?

And as I've pointed out before in these parts, that's not the kind of
prediction I'm talking about. The adaptationist program does not make
predictions about future selection. It makes predictions about the
"design" (the historical or evolutionary function) of complex traits.

Since I've quoted the Spandrels paper to negate an earlier mistake of
yours, perhaps you can take my word for my having repeatedly read through
it. Just because I have come to a different conclusion than you does not
mean that I'm dastardly, deceptive, or foolish.

>Besides, shouldn't you make predictions that will falsify a hypothesis,
>not just make predictions? If "jealousy" is in the genes, we might
>predict that jealousy should increase fitness - but if it turned out
>jealousy didn't increase fitness, that wouldn't prove the hypothesis that
>jealousy is in the genes, false.

You're assuming current utility. Bad boy.

>>Gould's indeed contributed to evolutionary theory. But he has, as others
>>have pointed out, offered mostly minor corrections, not revolutionary
>>insights. Most of these corrections were articulated long before Gould,
>>yet he still credits himself with them (e.g., the "Panda Principle" I
>>mentioned earlier in this thread).
>Who's the judge of what's a minor correction, and what's a revolutionary

I'll trust Mayr and Maynard Smith to present a reasonable historical
perspective. Wanna hear what they think about your venerated
ivory tower revolutionary?