Adaptationism

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by yayacatfight, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. yayacatfight Registered Senior Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm reading Dennett's, Darwin's Dangerous Idea and on page 276 he states, "The thesis that every property of every feature of everything in the living world is an adaptation is not a thesis anyone has ever taken seriously...."

    My question is can someone name a property of a feature of anything in the living world that is not? I can't think of one.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Why do sharks go limp when upsidedown? Why are chickens easily hypnotized?
     
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  5. Believe Happy medium Valued Senior Member

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    Fainting goats come to mind
     
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  7. Epictetus here & now Registered Senior Member

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    I don't understand one bloody word in this thread...
     
  8. Believe Happy medium Valued Senior Member

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  9. tantalus Registered Senior Member

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    66
    The burden is to prove a "feature" is a direct adaptation to a selection pressure, not to just presume it is. Some "features" are only present because of physical or genetic constraints, see link for examples.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptationism

    I wonder really how much debate there is. I haven’t read Dennetts book yet, but it seems clear by the quote in the OP that know one is taking extreme sides on this. It is "just" a matter on agreeing what constitutes adequate proof of adaptation.
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Qwerty phenomena in general are difficult to describe reasonably as "adaptations". Also, the absence of a likely feature of value would seem to be non-adaptive.

    The blind spot in the mammalian eye, say, or the absence of a lens in the nautilus eye.

    The location of the big toe - the main walking and running leverage toe of the human foot - on the inside rather than in the middle, or the absence of vitamin C synthesis capability in humans (and guinea pigs and nothing else AFAIK).
     
  11. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    I read recently that the Pygmies of Africa aren't short because it's an adaptation, rather some genes that confer disease resistance happen to be associated with the ones that control height.
     

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