I caught a bit of Your Inner Fish last night. They were talking about the size of the mammalian brain. I thought that it was peculiar that they would say that the fact that mammals were processing so much information caused their brains to grow.
Is that right? If I do lots of calculus will my children have bigger brains?
But even very good scientists slip into teleological shorthand explanations;
I suppose in passing conversation but I wouldn't expect it to make it past the editors. It seems a pretty fundamental difference in the description of a process.
I wonder as well what would cause the mutation for a slightly larger brain to keep showing up again and again. In fact wouldn't an increase in brain size require simultaneous mutations in many genes and given that the increases would be small it would mean that the same combination of mutations happened many times. It seems likely that there would be some driver that was causing the sustained incremental increases.