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Author Topic:   PZ Myers vs. Adaptationism
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 483 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 6 of 49 (763177)
07-21-2015 9:30 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by MrHambre
07-21-2015 1:09 PM


Re: Spandrels and Storytelling
"Natural selection is all-powerful with respect to those visible changes that affect survival and reproduction. Natural selection is the only explanation we know for the functional beauty and apparently "designed" complexity of living things." If that's not unapologetic adaptationism, I don't know what is.
No, no, give Dawkins credit. He says "those visible changes that affect survival and reproduction". Not for all changes. And then he goes on "for the functional beauty and "apparently "designed" complexity of living things." Not for every feature of living things. What he's doing is taking an adaptationist view ... of things which actually are adaptations! This is no vice.
He does not say (a) that all features are adaptive (b) that, failing that, we can always know which features are adaptive (c) that it is always clear what a feature that is adaptive was adapted for; it is these that I take to be the faults of adaptationism.
Having said which, I'm not sure that there are any adaptationists in the sense of someone who would affirm (a) or (b) or (c): there are merely particular cases where biologists have convinced themselves of an adaptive story behind a particular feature of an organism when they are not really warranted in doing so.
Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by MrHambre, posted 07-21-2015 1:09 PM MrHambre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by MrHambre, posted 07-22-2015 9:43 AM Dr Adequate has replied

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 483 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 8 of 49 (763196)
07-22-2015 10:20 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by MrHambre
07-22-2015 9:43 AM


Re: Spandrels and Storytelling
What it is is a tautology: Natural selection is important in terms of adaptations, which are the result of natural selection.
It's not a tautology, adaptive features could have been, oh, let's say magicked that way by some sort of deity. Or produced by front-loaded orthogenesis. Or Lamarkian evolution.
The second sentence in the Dawkins quote is typical of the overstatement inherent in adaptationist thinking: how does he know that natural selection is the only explanation for the phenomena he mentioned?
Well, that which is functional will in fact be favored by natural selection over that which is less functional.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by MrHambre, posted 07-22-2015 9:43 AM MrHambre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by MrHambre, posted 07-22-2015 10:34 AM Dr Adequate has replied

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 483 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 17 of 49 (763226)
07-22-2015 3:59 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by MrHambre
07-22-2015 10:34 AM


Re: Spandrels and Storytelling
Um, but no one is disputing that adaptive features are the result of natural selection.
You said that attributing adaptation to natural selection was tautologous. The fact that we can imagine alternative causes shows that it is not.
What's being refuted here is the notion that natural selection is all-important to evolution because it's responsible for adaptation. Adaptation is not synonymous with evolution.
That may be what you're trying to refute, but it's not what Dawkins said.
But the question I asked is, How does Dawkins know natural selection is the only explanation for the phenomena he described?
Because he is talking about adaptation, not about all evolutionary phenomena.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by MrHambre, posted 07-22-2015 10:34 AM MrHambre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by MrHambre, posted 07-22-2015 4:56 PM Dr Adequate has replied

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 483 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 20 of 49 (763235)
07-22-2015 5:35 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by MrHambre
07-22-2015 4:56 PM


Re: Spandrels and Storytelling
The tautology I described was Dawkins's saying that natural selection was important when it came to 'changes that affect survival and reproduction,' (i.e. adaptations) when the definition of adaptation presupposes that the changes have been selected for.
No it doesn't. Lamarkian evolution, as I pointed out, would also produce adaptation. So would front-loaded evolution. So would Michael Behe's invisible Tinkerer With Things.
This is why when Darwin explained his theory the response was not everyone in the world saying "You are right by definition and therefore we are unable to argue with you or suggest any alternatives."
Okay. But he only mentioned 'beauty' and 'complexity,' which aren't in and of themselves adaptations.
No, he said "functional beauty and apparently "designed" complexity"

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 Message 19 by MrHambre, posted 07-22-2015 4:56 PM MrHambre has not replied

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 483 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 45 of 49 (765485)
07-29-2015 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by MrHambre
07-29-2015 12:23 PM


Re: Spandrels and Storytelling
"In a void"? Setting up a completely unrealistic hypothetical situation doesn't prove a point about natural selection, all it does is allow you to deal yourself a winning hand. You've already decided that "functional beauty and apparently designed complexity" are properties that can only be attributed to natural selection, so in your hypothetical setup, it's by definition impossible for such things to evolve.
OK, what do you think would happen in his proposed hypothetical situation? You are mercifully free of his preconceptions, let's hear your take on it.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by MrHambre, posted 07-29-2015 12:23 PM MrHambre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by MrHambre, posted 07-30-2015 9:25 AM Dr Adequate has replied

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 483 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 47 of 49 (765512)
07-30-2015 10:47 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by MrHambre
07-30-2015 9:25 AM


Re: Evolutionary Medicine: Adaptationist Fail
I'm not trying to make any hypothetical scenarios whatsoever.
That would explain why I called it "his proposed hypothetical situation", rather than yours.
Now, what do you think would happen in a situation such as he describes?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by MrHambre, posted 07-30-2015 9:25 AM MrHambre has not replied

  
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