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Author Topic:   PZ Myers vs. Adaptationism
caffeine
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Posts: 1214
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 31 of 49 (765338)
07-27-2015 2:56 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by MrHambre
07-27-2015 10:22 AM


Re: The Emperor's Fashion Sense
Well, as long as we're talking about convincing, it's not like you offered anything other than your own opinion to support your claim that "the whole topic is just a bunch of empty words." I at least posted a video of a talk PZ Myers gave, outlining his reasoning. He's talking about things that go to the heart of how we understand natural history: the way we explain fitness in organisms and populations, the way we conceptualize design in nature, and the way we define the relationship between adaptation and evolution. You haven't addressed a single one of his points.

That's because I haven't watched the video. I don't stand for argumentum ad videum, either. I was trying to encourage you to talk about something specific - "Trait A is argued to be selected for because of X adaptive advantage, but this is unjustified because Y" is something you can have a serious discussion about. "Some biologists somewhere sometime say some things that are wrong" is going nowhere.

I see that RAZD has mentioned some specifc arguments from the video; and I think the female orgasm one is a good one, for a couple of reasons. Firstly there's the variety of female experience. Women vary a lot more in their ability to acheive orgasm than men - according to self-reporting a signifcant minority of women never acheive orgasm, which makes me sad. If the ability to orgasm is selected for in women to encourage them to have sex, then the selective pressure does not appear to be very strong.

Secondly, there's the fact that most women do not orgasm just from penetrative sex. If female orgasm came about because women who orgasm are more likely to have sex and thus reproduce, why aren't nerves rearranged so that penetration is the easiest way to orgasm. Surely this would be the way to make pleasure-seeking most likely to result in pregnancy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by MrHambre, posted 07-27-2015 10:22 AM MrHambre has responded

Replies to this message:
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Taq
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Posts: 6014
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.6


(3)
Message 32 of 49 (765341)
07-27-2015 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by caffeine
07-27-2015 2:56 PM


Re: The Emperor's Fashion Sense
Secondly, there's the fact that most women do not orgasm just from penetrative sex. If female orgasm came about because women who orgasm are more likely to have sex and thus reproduce, why aren't nerves rearranged so that penetration is the easiest way to orgasm. Surely this would be the way to make pleasure-seeking most likely to result in pregnancy.

I think I speak for many men when I say that most organisms during our teenage years was not due to penetrative sex. Just sayin'.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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MrHambre
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Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 33 of 49 (765370)
07-28-2015 6:19 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by caffeine
07-27-2015 2:56 PM


Re: The Emperor's Fashion Sense
caffeine writes:

That's because I haven't watched the video. I don't stand for argumentum ad videum, either.

So you don't feel obliged to understand what the discussion is even about before you declare it to be completely meaningless.

I think I see the problem here.


This message is a reply to:
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New Cat's Eye
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Posts: 11176
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 34 of 49 (765373)
07-28-2015 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by MrHambre
07-24-2015 3:28 PM


Re: Design Flaws
How would drift, sans selection, yield a phenotypic feature that looks designed?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by MrHambre, posted 07-24-2015 3:28 PM MrHambre has responded

Replies to this message:
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MrHambre
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Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 35 of 49 (765395)
07-28-2015 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by New Cat's Eye
07-28-2015 10:46 AM


Re: Design Flaws
Cat Sci writes:

How would drift, sans selection, yield a phenotypic feature that looks designed?

Pretty loaded question, isn't it? You're using a vague (and suspiciously teleological) definition of design to support the notion that such-and-such a feature is the product of selection, just because you've decided that that's prima facie evidence of a selected-for trait. As Myers and others are saying, in most cases we have no other evidence that it's the product of natural selection; there's plenty of evidence that such traits may have originally served different functions, rather than that they conveniently arose to ensure the organism's survival. We just make assumptions like these because of the pervasive influence of adaptationist thinking.


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New Cat's Eye
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Posts: 11176
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 36 of 49 (765401)
07-28-2015 3:35 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by MrHambre
07-28-2015 1:39 PM


Re: Design Flaws
I can't make any connection between the things that you are complaining about biologists doing, and the things that biologists are actually doing.
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1.61803
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Posts: 2664
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 37 of 49 (765411)
07-28-2015 5:27 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Taq
07-27-2015 3:22 PM


Re: The Emperor's Fashion Sense
And if I may venture to add that many pregnancies had little to do with the Big "O" either.

"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Taq, posted 07-27-2015 3:22 PM Taq has responded

Replies to this message:
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Faith
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Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.0


Message 38 of 49 (765420)
07-28-2015 9:48 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by 1.61803
07-28-2015 5:27 PM


Re: The Emperor's Fashion Sense
.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Faith
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Posts: 23978
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.0


Message 39 of 49 (765421)
07-28-2015 10:02 PM


I've watched about a third of the video and may eventually watch the rest. It's interesting to me mostly because the argument against adaptationism makes somewhat similar points to my own in my argument that evolution reduces genetic diversity so has a natural stopping point. I keep being amazed that this obvious fact is never ever mentioned though. Even if mutation really were the source of novel alleles, there have to be many stages in the processes of variation where it is fueled entirely by the elimination of competing alleles. Natural selection is one way competing alleles are eliminated, but as Myers is saying, NS isn't as big a factor in evolution as has been claimed. Simple recombination accounts for a lot of variation and most traits develop randomly. All of this requires the loss of competing alleles in any case. Funny how the discussion continues as if new traits could arise without the reduction of genetic diversity.

As for adaptation, seems to me I've made a good case that it isn't the organism adapting to the environment, as often as it is the environment's offering enough of a range of possibilities to whatever traits arise randomly in the organism, to account for most of the cases of observed adaptation.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
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bluegenes
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Posts: 2967
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 40 of 49 (765445)
07-29-2015 11:49 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by MrHambre
07-21-2015 1:09 PM


Re: Spandrels and Storytelling
MrHambre writes:

Long story short, progress in population genetics has led to the realization among biologists that there are forces that are more important to evolutionary change than natural selection: non-selective processes like mutation, recombination, and genetic drift. Nevertheless, many writers mislead the public with the notions that natural selection is the sole relevant driver of species evolution, and that all biological traits are by definition adaptations, the product of selective wars between selfish genes in their inexorable drive toward self-perpetuation in the struggle for existence, etc. etc. For example, in The Ancestor's Tale, Richard Dawkins asserted: "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.

Well, it appears then that you "don't know what is [unapologetic adaptionism]". The two sentences you quote from Dawkins certainly aren't. There being plenty of neutral evolution is entirely compatible with them. The first sentence actually implies it by defining the type of changes that natural selection would act on. To understand the second, imagine self-replicators in a void evolving with the three processes other than natural selection that Myers identifies as important. In the void, there are no environmental constraints; nothing to promote or preserve what Dawkins describes as functional beauty and apparently "designed" complexity, leaving natural selection as the best explanation of those things without claiming that it is the sole cause of evolutionary novelty.

Either you've misunderstood what Dawkins is saying there, or what Myers is saying in the video, or both.


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

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by MrHambre, posted 07-29-2015 12:23 PM bluegenes has responded

  
MrHambre
Member
Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 41 of 49 (765446)
07-29-2015 12:23 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by bluegenes
07-29-2015 11:49 AM


Re: Spandrels and Storytelling
bluegenes writes:

imagine self-replicators in a void evolving with the three processes other than natural selection that Myers identifies as important. In the void, there are no environmental constraints; nothing to promote or preserve what Dawkins describes as functional beauty and apparently "designed" complexity, leaving natural selection as the best explanation of those things without claiming that it is the sole cause of evolutionary novelty.

"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.

It looks like you're the one who's misunderstanding what Myers and others are saying. They're not saying natural selection isn't important to evolution, just that other nonselective forces have to be considered too, particularly when they're necessary precursors to selective processes having any truly adaptive effect in many researched instances.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by bluegenes, posted 07-29-2015 11:49 AM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by Tangle, posted 07-29-2015 5:29 PM MrHambre has not yet responded
 Message 45 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-29-2015 8:46 PM MrHambre has responded
 Message 48 by bluegenes, posted 07-30-2015 1:14 PM MrHambre has responded

    
Taq
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Posts: 6014
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 42 of 49 (765466)
07-29-2015 3:56 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by 1.61803
07-28-2015 5:27 PM


Re: The Emperor's Fashion Sense
And if I may venture to add that many pregnancies had little to do with the Big "O" either.

It could be that the female orgasm is a spandrel from selection for the male organism.

It could also be that the female orgasm helps to forge a stronger relationship between mates which increases the number of children and protection for those children.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by 1.61803, posted 07-28-2015 5:27 PM 1.61803 has not yet responded

  
Tangle
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Posts: 4407
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 43 of 49 (765468)
07-29-2015 5:29 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by MrHambre
07-29-2015 12:23 PM


Re: Spandrels and Storytelling
MrH writes:

They're not saying natural selection isn't important to evolution, just that other nonselective forces have to be considered too.

And no biologists in the world would disagree. Including Dawkins. So what the hell are you trying to say??


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5504
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 44 of 49 (765478)
07-29-2015 7:29 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by Faith
07-28-2015 10:02 PM


I keep being amazed that this obvious fact is never ever mentioned though.

Perhaps that's because it is false.

Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

This message is a reply to:
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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15474
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.9


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 responded

Replies to this message:
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