Re: Warning EVOLUTION Discussed!

Mon, 21 Feb 1994 14:02:33 -0500

John Langdon has missed my point about seemingly non-adaptive behaviors
being adaptive.

He comments that pet-rock ownership and sadomasochism are hard to
construe as adaptive and argues that I am stretching things to make such
an argument.

He's right. Such behaviors may not be (or, more accurately, may not seem
to be) adaptive. But they are evidence of two aspects of the evolutionary process.
First, that there is something about humans that generates a lot of extraneous behavior.
Second that this excess behavior provides the grist for the mill of
natural selection.

While behaviors like pet-rock ownership may seem to be wasteful and even
maladaptive, other human behaviors have seemed similarly silly until time
and selection had worked there magic. The steam engine, as designed by
Hero, comes to mind.

As I mentioned before, Langdon is right. It's the play behavior and
inquisitiveness that is the important thing, not the specific
menifestations of it. Individual manifestations will be more or less
adaptive as the stress of the environment does it's stuff. It's the fact
that variance is being generated by the ton that makes the whole system work.

What was the question?

EJ Ford