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Darwin-L Message Log 26: 1–38 — October 1995

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L was an international discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences, active from 1993–1997. Darwin-L was established to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present, and to encourage communication among scholars, scientists, and researchers in these fields. The group had more than 600 members from 35 countries, and produced a consistently high level of discussion over its several years of operation. Darwin-L was not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles Darwin, but instead addressed the entire range of historical sciences from an explicitly comparative perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology, systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical geography, historical anthropology, and related “palaetiological” fields.

This log contains public messages posted to the Darwin-L discussion group during October 1995. It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been reformatted, and error messages and personal messages accidentally posted to the group as a whole have been deleted. No genuine editorial changes have been made to the content of any of the posts. This log is provided for personal reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.

The master copy of this log is maintained in the Darwin-L Archives (rjohara.net/darwin) by Dr. Robert J. O’Hara. The Darwin-L Archives also contain additional information about the Darwin-L discussion group, the complete Today in the Historical Sciences calendar for every month of the year, a collection of recommended readings on the historical sciences, and an account of William Whewell’s concept of “palaetiology.”


---------------------------------------------
DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 26: 1-38 -- OCTOBER 1995
---------------------------------------------

DARWIN-L
A Network Discussion Group on the
History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu is an international network discussion group on
the history and theory of the historical sciences.  Darwin-L was established
in September 1993 to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of
which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present,
and to encourage communication among academic professionals in these fields.
Darwin-L is not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles
Darwin but instead addresses the entire range of historical sciences from an
interdisciplinary perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical
linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology,
systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical
anthropology, historical geography, and related "palaetiological" fields.

This log contains public messages posted to Darwin-L during October 1995.
It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease
of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been
reformatted, and some administrative messages and personal messages posted to
the group as a whole have been deleted.  No genuine editorial changes have been
made to the content of any of the posts.  This log is provided for personal
reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein
should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.
The master copy of this log is maintained in the archives of Darwin-L by
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, and is also available on the Darwin-L Web Server
at http://rjohara.uncg.edu.  For instructions on how to retrieve copies of this
and other log files, and for additional information about Darwin-L, send the
e-mail message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or connect to
the Darwin-L Web Server.

Darwin-L is administered by Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu), Center for
Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and Department of Biology, University of
North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A., and it
is supported by the Center for Critical Inquiry, University of North Carolina
at Greensboro, and the Department of History and the Academic Computing Center,
University of Kansas.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:1>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Oct  1 00:09:53 1995

Date: Sun, 01 Oct 1995 01:09:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: List owner's monthly greeting
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Greetings to all Darwin-L subscribers.  On the first of every month I send
out a short note on the status of our group, along with a reminder of basic
commands.  For additional information about the group please visit the
Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu).

Darwin-L is an international discussion group for professionals in the
historical sciences.  The group is not devoted to any particular discipline,
such as evolutionary biology, but rather seeks to promote interdisciplinary
comparisons across the entire range of palaetiology.  Darwin-L currently
has more than 600 members from over 30 countries.

Because Darwin-L does have a large membership and is sometimes a high-volume
discussion group it is important for all participants to try to keep their
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If you feel burdened by the volume of mail you receive from Darwin-L you
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     SET DARWIN-L MAIL DIGEST

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     INFO DARWIN-L

To post a public message to the group as a whole simply send it as regular
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I thank you all for your continuing interest in Darwin-L and in the
interdisciplinary study of the historical sciences.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:2>From ronald@hawaii.edu Mon Oct  2 13:30:58 1995

Date: 	Mon, 2 Oct 1995 08:30:16 -1000
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@hawaii.edu>
To: Darwin-L List <darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: Text queries

I'm going to be giving an undergrad course on "Biology and Human Affairs"
or some such title next semester.  I have the basic texts picked out, but
I'd like to find some supplementary, easy-reading and inexpensive sources
for 1) basic Darwinian evolution theory, and 2) basic (but modern)
genetics.  I'm tempted to use Miller's _Darwin for Beginners_ and
Gonnick's _A Cartoon Guide to Genetics_.  Trouble is, each is somewhat
dated, esp. as preparation for discussion of the Human Genome Project.

Does anyone know of other more modern versions of these things?  Any
introductory material on the Genome Project?  Cartoons preferred (I know
my students) but actual written text is acceptable.  I'd consider using
Kitcher's _Abusing Science_ just for its science, but I'm trying to keep
the discussion off the damned creationism issue.

Other planned texts are Barlow (Gaia -- Genes), Rolston (Biology,
Ethics, and the Origins of Life), and Dick Lewontin's little _Biology as
Ideology_.

Thanks for any hints.

Cheers,

Ron

__
Ron Amundson
University of Hawaii at Hilo
ronald@Hawaii.Edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:3>From princeh@husc.harvard.edu Mon Oct  2 14:59:58 1995

Date: Mon, 2 Oct 1995 15:29:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: Patricia Princehouse <princeh@husc.harvard.edu>
Subject: Re: Text queries
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Mon, 2 Oct 1995, Ron Amundson wrote:

> I'm going to be giving an undergrad course on "Biology and Human Affairs"
> or some such title next semester.  I have the basic texts picked out, but
> I'd like to find some supplementary, easy-reading and inexpensive sources
> for 1) basic Darwinian evolution theory, and 2) basic (but modern)
> genetics.

Although it's not really "easy" reading, darwin-L member Jon Marks has a
paperback called _Human Biodiversity: Genes, Race & History_ (1995 Walter
de Gruyter, NY) which I've decided to use in a science & society type
course in the spring. He packs a lot of information (historical &
scientific) in a very readable format. No cartoons, but attractive
illustrations & occasional humor --some chapter subheadings are:

Aesop & Darwin
Sex & the single fruitfly
Where are the great Jewish boxers?
Genetic behavior: here today, gone tomorrow
On the number of Michael Jordans in the known universe

-Patricia Princehouse
princeh@fas.harvard.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:4>From Eliana@attach.edu.ar Tue Oct  3 09:45:12 1995

From: Eliana@attach.edu.ar
Organization:  Attachment Research Center
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 1995 01:51:09 +0000
Subject: Re: Text queries

On Mon, 2 Oct 1995, Ron Amundson wrote:

> I'm going to be giving an undergrad course on "Biology and Human Affairs"
> or some such title next semester.  I have the basic texts picked out, but
> I'd like to find some supplementary, easy-reading and inexpensive sources
> for 1) basic Darwinian evolution theory, and 2) basic (but modern)
> genetics.

A fascinating and very didactic book is Mark Ridley's "The Problems
of Evolution" as it leads readers to consider different alternatives
and challenge on logical grounds the different theories of Organic
Creation.

Eliana
*********************************************
*           Eliana Montuori, MD             *
*       Attachment Research Center          *
*       University of Buenos Aires          *
* 1966 Juncal  1116 Buenos Aires  ARGENTINA *
* Tel: +54-1 812 5521   Fax: +54-1 812 5432 *
*********************************************

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:5>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Wed Oct  4 10:57:24 1995

Date: Wed, 4 Oct 1995 11:57:41 -0400
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: differences between 1st and 6th editions

DawinList,
        Is there a best article that compares the differences between 1st and
6th editions of Darwin's "Origin..."?

        Thanks,

        Jeremy

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:6>From ronald@hawaii.edu Wed Oct  4 12:07:18 1995

Date: 	Wed, 4 Oct 1995 07:06:49 -1000
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@hawaii.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: differences between 1st and 6th editions

Better than that.  There's a Varorium Edition which inserts all of the
changes and specifies in which edition they were made.

I may have spelled Varorium wrong, because I can't find it in the UH
library's catalog.  (speaking of which, I'm sorry for the previous empty
message ... I tried and failed to jump out to check the library listings
for a citation.)

Cheers,

Ron

(p.s.  missed you at Leuven, Jeremy!)
__
Ron Amundson
University of Hawaii at Hilo
ronald@Hawaii.Edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:7>From charlie_urbanowicz@macgate.csuchico.edu Wed Oct  4 12:25:17 1995

Date: 4 Oct 1995 10:27:53 -0800
From: "Charlie Urbanowicz" <charlie_urbanowicz@macgate.csuchico.edu>
Subject: RE: differences between 1st and 6th editions
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Check out Morse Peckham's labor of love:
VARIORIUM edition of 1959 (U Philadelphia press); exact title
THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES BY CHARLES DARWIN:  A VARIORIUM TEXT.  Goes through all
six editions, line-by-line!

Charlie U.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:8>From mayerg@cs.uwp.edu Wed Oct  4 15:40:38 1995

Date: Wed, 4 Oct 1995 15:40:33 -0500 (CDT)
From: Gregory Mayer <mayerg@cs.uwp.edu>
Subject: RE: differences between 1st and 6th editions
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Since it has been spelled two different ways in the last two messages on
the subject, and Ron Amundson explicitly raises the issue, I thought I
might point out that the word is "variorum".

Gregory C. Mayer
mayerg@cs.uwp.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:9>From maisel@SDSC.EDU Wed Oct  4 16:03:41 1995

Date: Wed, 4 Oct 1995 14:03:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: Merry Maisel <maisel@SDSC.EDU>
Subject: Re: differences between 1st and 6th editions
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Variorum is the correct spelling--see how dumb
computers are?

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:10>From marilia.coutinho@dialdata.com.br Thu Oct  5 10:06:59 1995

To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: :new science studies home page
From: marilia.coutinho@dialdata.com.br (Marilia Coutinho)
Date: Mon,  2 Oct 95 09:52:00 -0300
Organization: DIALDATA Systems - 055-11-822-8055

We would like to announce that our science studies research group in
Brazil has a home-page at:
HTTP://WWW.USP.BR/NUPES/BLM.HTML
You will find there our research lines, drafts, and a session we are
calling "raw material", where extensive lists and tables generated in
research are made available. We will soon be including a directory of
Brazilian researchers in science studies.
Our research lines include studies on the public image of science, case
studies in Brazilian science, the relation between ecology and politics,
among others.
Visit us!
        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        +                     Marilia Coutinho                 +
        +         Nucleo de Pesquisas sobre Ensino Superior    +
        +                Universidade de Sao Paulo             +
        +         Rua do Anfiteatro 181, Colmeia, Favo 9       +
        +         CEP 05508-900 - Sao Paulo, SP - Brazil       +
        +    Phone: (55-11)815 41 34; FAX:(55-11)818 31 57     +
        +              MARILIA.COUTINHO@DIALDATA.COM.BR        +
        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:11>From Michael_Kenny@sfu.ca Mon Oct  9 09:55:39 1995

Date: Mon, 9 Oct 1995 07:55:32 -0700
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: Michael_Kenny@sfu.ca (Michael Kenny)
Subject: Piltdown

I am looking for material on the Piltdown forgery, not so much about the
forgery itself as the theoretical preconceptions that made it so plausible
at the time within the 'narrative' of human evolution then current.

Is this perceived as a problem within contemporary palaeoanthropology, and
if so I'd appreciate being referred to material discussing it.

Michael G. Kenny
Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C.  V5A 1S6; Canada
Michael_Kenny@sfu.ca
phone: (604) 291-4270
fax:   (604) 291-5799

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:12>From JHOFMANN@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU Mon Oct  9 14:29:54 1995

Date: Mon, 09 Oct 1995 12:30:43 -0800 (PST)
From: JHOFMANN@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU
Subject: Re: Piltdown
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

One place to start is _Piltdown: A Scientific Forgery_ by
Frank Spencer (Oxford University Press: Oxford), 1990

It has a lengthy bibliography.

Jim Hofmann
jhofmann@ccvax.fullerton.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:13>From KIMLER@social.chass.ncsu.edu Mon Oct  9 17:25:07 1995

From: "Dr. William C. Kimler, History" <KIMLER@social.chass.ncsu.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 1995 18:24:17 EDT
Subject: Piltdown

re Michael Kenny's request:

To get at the underlying cultural ideas allowing Piltdown to work,
you might want to go beyond the who-dun-it books and try Misia
Landau's work Narratives of Human Evolution (Yale U.P., 1991).

Dr. William Kimler
Department of History - Box 8108
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-8108
(919) 515-2483
kimler@ncsu.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:14>From hss2m@faraday.clas.virginia.edu Tue Oct 10 15:36:17 1995

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995 16:36:08 -0400
From: Henry Stephen Sharp <hss2m@faraday.clas.virginia.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Piltdown

While I think of it. You know that Anthropology Today had quite
a bit on it within the last two years.

steve

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:15>From jmiller@america.com Tue Oct 10 16:25:29 1995

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995 17:25:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: J Miller <jmiller@america.com>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Definition of Fitness

I am looking for a succinct but comprehensive definition of Darwinian
fitness. The standard "survival and reproductive success" seems
inadequate. First of all, survival seems superfluous, for it is
presupposed by reproductive success. To reproduce, an organism must
survive at least from gamete to gamete.

Secondly, survival success is too vague. Is it in the mere numbers of
offspring or in their viability? How many future generations must be
observed before we can declare a given reproductive strategy successful?

Is there a way to incorporate these concerns into the definition of
fitness?

J.Miller

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:16>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Tue Oct 10 22:58:40 1995

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995 23:58:52 -0500
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: Dennett/Gould again

Dawin-Listers,

        I responded to J. Miller's question about fitness this evening. =
 This gives me a nice segue to something I wanted to bounce off the list.

        Back in August, on Bob O'Hara's recommendation, I read Griffiths'=
 "The Cronin Controversy".  This lead me to an exchange in the NY Review of=
 Books.  At the time I asked what Dennett's problem was with Gould.  In the=
 NY Review Dennett had responded very angrily to Gould's negative review of=
 Cronin's book.  At the time Gary Cziko encouraged me to read the "Bully for=
 Brontosaurus" chapter in Dennett's new book.  (Robert C. Richardson=
 mentioned at the time that he wasn't impressed by Dennett's argument.)

        I finally got the library to recall the book from whoever had it=
 over the last 2 months.  I have been perusing, now I am even more confused.=
  I suppose if I had the time or you all had the interest I could take=
 Dennett's book apart piece by piece.  I will address a few problems=
 directly but let me start with the chapter about contingency and Gould.

        Dennett's chain of reasoning in this very odd chapter results in the=
 following resonse to a summary quote from Gould about punctuationalism:

        "Gould speaks here not just of unpredictability but of the power of=
 contemporary events and personalities to "shape and direct tha actual path"=
 of evolution.  This echoes exactly the hope that drove James Mark Baldwin=
 to discover the effect now named for him: somehow we have to get=
 personalities - consciousness, intelligence, agency - back in the driver's=
 seat.  If we can just have contingency - this will give the mind some elbow=
 room so it can act, and be responsible for its own destiny, instead of=
 being the mere effect of a mindless cascade of mechanical processes!  This=
 conclusion, I suggest, is Gould's ultimate destination, revealed in the=
 paths he has most recently explored." - Dennett, D.C. (1995) pg 300.

        Huh?!  This chapter is full of what seems to me to be at best=
 uncharitable and at worst willfull misreadings of Gould's corpus.  He=
 paints Gould as some kind of anti-Darwinian throughout (compare Gould, S.J.=
 (1977)).  Does this conclusion mesh with your impression of Gould's agenda?=
 Or is it rather 180 degrees off?  Can you imagine Gould agreeing to this
 characterization?

        This whole exercise by Dennett is troubling.  While I share much of=
 his enthusiasm for the wonderful possibilities that natural selection=
 suggests, the strident and self righteous tone of "Dangerous Idea" will=
 leave this book only the audience of the converted, and they would probably=
 prefer something more nuanced and careful.  (Keller, E.F. & E.A. Lloyd=
 (1992), Sober, E. (1994)).

        Dennett would embrace the provisional (and problematic) ALife=
 modelers Langton and Kaufman while suggesting that Gould isn't telling us=
 anything that isn't in the modern post synthesis Darwinian framework. =
 Maybe all "good" neo-Darwinist avoid the excess of the early adaptationists=
 and noone tells "just so" stories any more.  Though to hear Dennett tell=
 it, they never did.  Still, I don't see that the ALife work is telling us=
 anything that isn't in the post synthesis framework either.  In addition;=
 the Alifers aren't struggling nearly enough with the structures that are=
 smuggled in when they define fitness functions or choose data structures=
 for their models.

        Dennett's self claimed contribution is that natural selection is an=
 algorithm.  Again I have sympathies with the attempt to view biological=
 processes computationally.  But he manages to dilute the term so much that=
 in his own estimation, "... are there any limits at all on what may be=
 considered an algorithmic process?  I guess the answer is No; if you wanted=
 to , you could treat any process at the abstract level as an algorithmic=
 process." (pg 59)  So he gets marks for honesty.  At the same time, he=
 misses a crucial part of thinking about algorithms and that is "data=
 structures" - what is the universe over which an algorithm works.  What=
 bridge principles allow me to add 1 apple to 1 apple and get 2 apples while=
 adding 1 sand pile to 1 sand pile results in 1 sand pile?

        If you are interested I can describe many more problems as I proceed=
 through this strange volume - but I am really interested in hearing from=
 others... what did you think as you read Dennett?  Are there reviews of=
 this book out there?  I found 1 in the NY Times book review.

        cheers,

        Jeremy

__________

Cronin, H. (1991) The Ant and the Peacock. Cambridge University Press: Cambr=
idge.

Dennett, D.C. (1995) Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of=
 Life.  Simon & Schuster: NY.

Dennett, D.C. (1993) "Confusion over evolution: an exchange" New York Review=
 of Books, 14 Jan. pp. 43-44.

Gould, S.J. (1977) "Darwin's Untimely Burial" in Ever Since Darwin.  Norton:=
 NY. reprinted in Sober, E. ed. (1984) Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary=
 Biology. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA

Gould, S.J. (1992) "The Confusion over Evolution" New York Review of Books.=
 19 November.  p47-54.

Gould, S.J. (1993) "Confusion over evolution: an exchange" New York Review=
 of Books, 14 January. pp. 43-44.

Griffiths, P.E. (1995) "The Cronin Controversy" Brit. J. Phil. Sci. v46 p122=
-138.

Keller, E.F. & E.A. Lloyd eds.  (1992) Keywords in Evolutionary Biology.=
 Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.

Maynard-Smith (1993) "Confusion over Evolution: An Exchange"  New York=
 Review of Books. 14 January.  p43-44.

Sober, E. ed. (1994) Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology, 2nd ed. MIT=
 Press: Cambridge, MA.

__________________________________________________________
Jeremy Creighton Ahouse
Biology Dept.
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02254-9110

        (617)736-4954 Lab
             736-2405 FAX
        ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:17>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Tue Oct 10 22:59:28 1995

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 00:00:25 -0500
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: Re: Definition of Fitness

>I am looking for a succinct but comprehensive definition of Darwinian
>fitness. The standard "survival and reproductive success" seems
>inadequate. First of all, survival seems superfluous, for it is
>presupposed by reproductive success. To reproduce, an organism must
>survive at least from gamete to gamete.
>
>Secondly, survival success is too vague. Is it in the mere numbers of
>offspring or in their viability? How many future generations must be
>observed before we can declare a given reproductive strategy successful?
>
>Is there a way to incorporate these concerns into the definition of
>fitness?
>
>J.Miller

        You have come across one of the wonderful entry points into a richer
 understanding of Darwinian selectionism.  I will offer you a few entry
 points into the literature.

        It is easy to overlook the view the survival of the fittest is an
 hypothesis or observation.  i.e. that the fast, strong, clever (pick your
 external criterion) leads to reproductive success.  Additionally, once
 evolution was synonymized with gene frequnecy changes; 'fitness' becomes
 (potentially) deeply self referential.

        We are pretty well dug out of this hole by now - which allows you to
 productively raise this issue.

Paul, D. (1992) "Fitness: Historical Perspectives" in  Keller, E.F. & E.A.
 Lloyd eds.  Keywords in Evolutionary Biology. Harvard University Press.
 Cambridge, MA.

Beatty, J. (1992) "Fitness: Theoretical Contexts" in  Keller, E.F. & E.A.
 Lloyd eds.  Keywords in Evolutionary Biology. Harvard University Press.
 Cambridge, MA.

Keller, E.F. (1992) "Fitness: reproductive Ambiguities" in  Keller, E.F. &
 E.A. Lloyd eds.  Keywords in Evolutionary Biology. Harvard University
 Press: Cambridge, MA.

Mills, S.K. & J. Beatty (1979) "The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness"
 Philosophy of Science v46 p263-286.  reprinted in Sober, E. ed. (1994)
 Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology, 2nd ed. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA
.

Gould, S.J. (1977) "Darwin's Untimely Burial" in Ever Since Darwin.  Norton:
 NY. reprinted in Sober, E. ed. (1984) Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary
 Biology. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.  (You will also find 4 other essays
 under the heading of fitness in this first edition.  Both editions are terr-
ific.)

Sober, E. (1984) The Nature of Selection.  MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.  Part I
 concerns fitness, selection and adaptation.  See esp. Ch 1 "Evolutionary=
 theory as a theory of forces"

__________________________________________________________
Jeremy Creighton Ahouse
Biology Dept.
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02254-9110

        (617)736-4954 Lab
             736-2405 FAX
        ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:18>From wilkins@wehi.edu.au Wed Oct 11 05:56:01 1995

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 20:56:15 +1000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: wilkins@wehi.edu.au (John Wilkins)
Subject: Re: Definition of Fitness

ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse) wrote:
|Sober, E. (1984) The Nature of Selection.  MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.  Part I=
| concerns fitness, selection and adaptation.  See esp. Ch 1 "Evolutionary=
| theory as a theory of forces"

I'm interested to hear what you and any others make of the claim by
Sober that fitness is a supervenient property that explains but does
not cause differential survival. If fitness is supervenient, then what
about natural selection itself? Given that NS is some kind of
environmental sorting process acting on self-replicating entities, then
it is clearly supervenient in that it has only formal isomorphy from
actual selection event (say, of a bacterial species) to event (say, of
a eukaryote species). This may be a bit vague, but the idea Sober puts
is that fitness supervenes because the causal processes that actually
result in differential survival are such things as better running
abilities, etc, IOW, traits. Supervenient properties are those which
*may* be shared by physically distinct systems but which *must* be
shared by physically identical ones.

In response to J Miller's question, FWIW, I think fitness is an
abstract summation of real properties, and is a heuristic convenience.

John Wilkins

John "Chris" Wilkins, Assoc. Prof. of Autochtonic Aetiology, Uni of Ediacara
(Jointly: Head of Communication Services, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute)
           http://www.wehi.edu.au/~wilkins/www.html
   Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but
   praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind - WVO Quine

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:19>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Wed Oct 11 07:52:18 1995

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 08:52:36 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: Re: Dennett/Gould again

Dawin-Listers,
        In asking about the Dennett book I mentioned that I had found
1 review in the NY Times Book Review.  The reference is attached.

        - Jeremy

Papineau, D. (1995) review of Reinventing Darwin (N. Eldredge), River
Out of Eden (R. Dawkins), Darwin's Dangerous Idea (D.C. Dennett).
The New York times book review. May 14 pp. 13-14.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:20>From JMARKS@YaleVM.CIS.Yale.Edu Wed Oct 11 08:21:57 1995

From: JMARKS@YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Resent-Date: Wed, 11 Oct 95 09:13:12 EDT
Resent-Organization: Yale University
Resent-To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Darwin's Dangerous Idea: annotated excerpt

I posted this last spring over a primatology list, but I think I neglected
to send it over Darwin-l.  Recent postings suggest that it may be of interest.
Dennett seems to rely very heavily on Jared Diamond for his opinions. I realize
I'm in pretty fast company here, being trashed alond with Gould; but at least
he doesn't call Gould a creationist and liken him to Bishop Wilberforce!
   --Jon Marks

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
I was skimming a new book called "Darwin's Dangerous Idea"
by Daniel C. Dennett, and came upon a most interesting and bizarre
reference to myself, which I thought I'd share with any interested readers.
   Dennett is discussing human evolution, and particularly
the intimate genetic relationships of humans to apes.
Bracketed numbers refer to my own annotations, at the bottom.

"[S]ome members of Homo sapiens have been remarkably thin-
skinned about our ancestral relationship to the apes.  When
Jared Diamond published The Third Chimpanzee in 1992, he
drew his title from the recently discovered fact [1] that we
human beings are actually more closely related to the two
species of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes, the familiar chimp,
and Pan paniscus, the rare, smaller pygmy chimp or bonobo)
than those chimpanzees are to other apes.  We three species
have a common ancestor more recent than the common ancestor
of the chimpanzee and the gorilla, for instance, so we are
all on one branch of the Tree of Life, with gorillas and
orangutans and everything else on other branches.
   "We are the third chimpanzee [2].  Diamond cautiously
lifted this fascinating fact from the "philological" work on
primate DNA by Sibley and Ahlquist (1984 and later papers),
and made it clear to his readers that theirs were a somewhat
controversial set of studies (Diamond 1992, pp. 20,371-72)
[3].   He was not not cautious enough for one reviewer,
however.  Jonathan Marks, an anthropologist at Yale, went
into orbit in denunciation of Diamond -- and Sibley and
Ahlquist, whose work, he declared, "needs to be treated like
nuclear waste: bury it safely and forget about it for a
million years" (Marks 1993a, p. 61) [4].  Since 1988, Marks,
whose own earlier investigations of primate chromosomes had
placed the chimpanzee marginally closer to the gorilla than
to us, has waged a startlingly vituperative campaign
condemning Sibley and Ahlquist [5], but the campaign
recently suffered a major setback.  The original findings of
Sibley and Ahlquist have been roundly confirmed by more
sensitive methods of analysis (theirs was a relatively crude
technique, path-breaking at the time, but subsequently
superseded by more powerful techniques) [6].  Why, though,
should it make any *moral* difference whether we or gorillas
win the competition to be closest cousin of the chimpanzee?
[7]  The apes are our closest kin in any case.  But it
matters mightily to Marks [8], apparently, whose desire to
discredit Sibley and Ahlquist has driven him right out of
bounds.  His most recent attack on them, a review of some
other books in American Scientist (Marks 1993b) [9], drew a
chorus of condemnation from his fellow scientists [10], and
a remarkable apology from the editors of that magazine:
"Although reviewers' opinions are their own and not the
magazine's, the editors do set standards that we deeply
regret were not maintained in the review in question" (Sept-
Oct., 1993, p. 407) [11].  Like Bishop Wilberforce before
him, Jonathan Marks got carried away [12]."

---------------------------------

1.  Maybe a fact, maybe not.  Definitely a socially-
constructed fact.  Some solid, though not well-publicized,
data suggest it is in fact a non-fact (e.g., Djian and
Green, PNAS, 86:8447, 1989; Livak et al., PNAS, 92:427,
1995).

2.  In a subsequent article (in a book called "The Great Ape
Project"), even Diamond concedes the taxonomic priority of
Homo over Pan, which would make, at best, chimps the second
humans.  In fact that is the way Linnaeus had it in 1758: he
had split the more anthromorphic descirptions of apes from
the less so, and had put the former into Homo troglodytes,
and the latter into Simia satyrus.

3.  Not only is this false, it is ridiculous.  If Diamond
were so up front about the work being controversial, why
would he have based his central thesis and title on it?

4.  The quote is accurate.  What the author has omitted is
that the work needs to be buried not because of the
conclusions -- which may or may not turn out to be right --
but because the data were, as far as anyone can tell,
extensively and egregiously falsified.  The review appeared
in the Journal of Human Evolution, 24:69, 1993.  What
directly preceded the extracted remark is this:

"Perhaps you recall Sibley and Ahlquist.  In a nutshell,
their *results* were: (1) chimp-gorilla DNA hybrids were
more thermally stable than chimp-human hybrids; (2) the
differences were insignificant; and (3) reciprocity was very
poor when human DNA was used as a tracer.  Unfortunately,
the *conclusions* they reported were: (1) chimp-human was
more thermally stable than chimp-gorilla; (2) differences
were significant; and (3) reciprocity was near-perfect.  And
they got from point A to point B by (1) switching
experimental controls; (2) making inconsistent adjustments
for variation in DNA length, which was apparently not even
measured; (3) moving correlated points into a regression
line; and (4) not letting anyone know.  The rationale for
(4) should be obvious; and if (1), (2) and (3) are science,
I'm the Princess of Wales..."

5.  I admit it.  I'm strongly opposed to the falsification
of data.  For the primary literature, see:

Marks, J., Schmid, C. W., and Sarich, V. M. (1988)  DNA
hybridization as a guide to phylogeny: Relations of the
Hominoidea Journal of Human Evolution, 17:769-786. Reprinted
in: The Human Evolution Source Book, ed. by R. L. Ciochon
and J. G. Fleagle.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
(1993).

Sarich, V. M., Schmid, C. W., and Marks, J. (1989)  DNA
hybridization as a guide to phylogeny: A critical appraisal.
Cladistics, 5:3-32.

Marks, J. (1991) What's old and new in molecular
phylogenetics.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology,
85:207-219.

6.  An interesting non-sequitur.  This is in fact the
argument advanced publicly by S&A against the accusation
that they falsified their data.  The confirming evidence was
actually neither independent nor more sensitive, but was put
forward in a rhetorical manner, to suggest that it didn't
*matter* whether the S&A data had been falsified.  As the
senior author of that paper recently wrote, "These are the
reasons the community has not become overly exercised by the
brouhaha raised by Dr. Marks and his colleagues concerning
particulars about the Sibley and Ahlquist data.  The Sibley
work is good science inasmuch as it is repeatable and
independently corroborated."  Interesting criteria for good
science.  What about simply carrying out the research
rigorously and honestly?

7.  I give up -- why should it?

8.  No it doesn't.  What matters to me is simply to figure
out what the nature of the genetic data bearing on this
scientific problem is, and to represent it accurately.  If
this guy had spoken to me, that's what I would have told
him.

9.  The review was of four books on scientific fraud (Am Sci
81:380, 1993).  Gee, I wonder why they asked me, of all
people, to review them...  (After all, my primary area is molecular
anthropology, not sociology-of-science.)

10.  Actually, the chorus was carefully orchestrated, for
the letters which appeared in the following issue were
solicited.  Sibley had issued an empty threat of litigation
to the editors, and agreeing to publish the solicited
letters and curtailing my response was their way of
placating him.  If anyone wants to see my actual response,
write me privately.

11.  The problem they purported to be redressing was a
"personal attack" on my part.  No such personal attack was
written by me, nor published by them.  Certainly the
editors' role is to prevent personal attacks from appearing
in print.  That is why they did not delete the reference to
the Sibley work from my review, for it was not at all a
personal attack.  It was about the quality and honesty of
published research (old news in the primary literature),
and the fact that in spite of well-publicized revelations,
no formal adjudication nor even investigation has ever occurred.
And especially that the National Academy has never even
investigated, in spite of the fact that Sibley is a member,
having been elected on account largely of his DNA
hybridization work.  Given that one of the books under review
was *by* the NAS on fraud, you might think they'd be concerned.

12.  Of course, I am not a creationist; nor did Wilberforce
accuse Darwin and Huxley of falsification.

A final note:  In his letter to American Scientist, Sibley
indignantly agreed that there should indeed be an investigation
into his work by the Home Secretary of the NAS.  When that was
published, I (and separately Prof. Vincent Sarich of UC-
Berkeley) wrote to Peter Raven, Home Secretary of the NAS,
and outlined the outstanding charges and included
documentation and reprints.

This is Raven's full response, (letter dated 25 October
1993):

Thank you very much indeed for your letter and the
enclosures.  I was extremely interested in what you had
to say in reading the enclosures.  It is obviously a
very complex case and, as I am sure you understand, the
National Academy of Sciences would not undertake to
conduct a formal review of the activities of its
members as a matter of general principle, lacking the
judiciary machinery to do so properly.  I would add,
however, that no one is elected to the Academy for a
single piece of work, and thus it is incorrect, as a
matter of principle to say that "this is the work that
ultimately resulted in Sibley's election to the
National Academy of Sciences.....".  In summary I was
very interested in the material that you sent.  We will
be conducting no investigation.
   Yours sincerely,
   Peter H. Raven

That response has never quite struck me as adequate, but
then, of course, I don't speak for the NAS.  It need hardly be
pointed out that not investigating is the only way to insure
nothing embarrassing comes out.  "Hear no evil, see no evil,
speak no evil" seems sadly appropriate here.

     --Jon Marks (just setting the record straight...)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:21>From jasmith@u.washington.edu Wed Oct 11 09:10:13 1995

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 07:10:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Jonathan A. Smith" <jasmith@u.washington.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Dennett/Gould again

	I was also troubled by the tone of Denett's book, however I do
wonder if some of Denett's uncharitable characterizations stick.  I do
read some of Gould's work as trying to de-emphasize the importance of
evolutionary processes at the micro scale.  However I am not an expert on
evolutionary theory.

	Considering evolution as an algorithm does allow us to apply some
of the methods computer science has developed for analysis to evolution.
There are some very useful insights to be gained through this analysis.
I learned quite a bit about what makes evolution an efficient search
strategy from reading John Holland's "Adaptation in Natural and
Artificial Systems" (1975 Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press).
Reading accounts of evolution in biology textbooks I came away with the
notion of evolution as a slow but steady process.  Working with
evolutionary programs quickly convinced me otherwise.  Evolutionary
algorithms are very powerful but also very touchy and idiosyncratic.  I
would guess that biological evolution is also.  Perhaps this is what
Gould has been saying all along.

	Research in evolutionary behavioral ecology often tries to
characterize goal seeking behavior in animals in terms of simple lists of
alternatives or informal rules written in English.  There can be
questions about the framing of the alternatives on such lists.  It seems
to me that the data structures (or logical structure) used in
characterizing animal behavior deserve as much attention as the data
structures used in evolutionary programs.  Evolutionary programs make
such rules completely explicit and in the process point to parameters
that may not be apparent in an English language description.  Making an
explicit proposal can be an important first step towards further refining
the model.

	I suspect that the complaint that a-life research smuggles in
some unexamined data structures and fitness functions applies as much to
behavioral ecology as it does to computer science.  On the other hand at
best we can only hope to very roughly reconstruct the evolutionary
history and function of a particular biological feature.  I doubt that
evolutionary explanations are always sensitive to small changes in
fitness functions or the choice of data structure.  If they are we might
as well not attempt such explanations -- our choice will never quite
match the historical process.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:22>From mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca Wed Oct 11 12:11:01 1995

From: Mary P Winsor <mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: reminder to give address
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 13:10:47 -0400 (EDT)

Please, fellow members of this list, many of us take it as a kindness
if you would give your email address in the body of your message,
since some of us do not automatically get it from your machine, and we
have to go through detective work to reply to you personally instead
of via the list.
Polly Winsor   mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:23>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Wed Oct 11 14:23:57 1995

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 15:24:13 -0400
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: Re: Dennett/Gould again

Bryant (Bryant <mycol1@unm.edu>) writes:

>Gould uses developmental and phylogenetic constraint, and an unwarranted
>emphasis on contingency and drift to minimize the role of
>selection in the evolutionary process.

>I think it's time for somebody to compile a defense of the adaptationist
>program in the form of a recitation of Gould's blunders.  Specifically,
>his stances on female orgasm, land snails' shell stripes, and his
>presentations of allometric constraints as an adequate explanation of cervid
>antler size relationships to body size, should provide ample evidence
>that his calls for an abandonment of adaptationist analysis* is premature
>and overstated.

Bryant,

        Maybe you could offer us just such a defense.  We can agree (maybe)
that our problem is explaining the diversity and abundance of various forms
at a particular time and place.  We press a number of explanatory machines
into service.  Would you insist that every feature of distribution and
abundance is best explained by local adaptation.  Almost certainly not.  So
we are then left with issues emphasis in telling the story of life.

        Would you allow that certain parts of that story invite
highlighting one of the explanatory approaches?  Compare the changes in
primate limb structure (Fleagle (1988)) to extinctions in the marine fossil
record (Raup & Sepkoski (1982)).

        So is your claim that Gould is claiming too much of the story with
"contingency and drift"?  He and others (Alberch et al. (1979); nicely
treated in Amundson (1994)) have raised other problems with the "every
trait an adaptation" view.

        I don't want to saddle you with this position, if you don't hold
it.  Rather I want to highlight the part of this disagreement that has to
do (solely) with emphasis.  I also wonder aloud what determines the choice
of emphasis.  I (charitably) think that it has to do with the questions
being asked.  But you (and others, and me on cynical days) may say that
politics, bias and agenda leak into this choice.

        Finally what do you make of the recent work on eyeless (Quiring et
al. (1994)) showing homologies (vertebrate and insect eyes) where none of
our famous adaptionists (Mayr!) had expected them?

        I am hoping that you will offer us a wonderful dismantling of
Gould's excesses and glorious blunders.  (Could you give us citations for
the more egregious examples?)  But at the same time I would hope that the
excesses of gene centrist bean bag get a little "air time".  If we have a
problem with excesses right now they are with "fat, rape, gay, ..." genes
not with strong contingency (see the plea by Rose(1995)).  But again there
is that problem of estimating emphasis.  Maybe I see these excesses because
I hang out with molecular biologists and am subject to the careless
reporting of the media in the US.

        - cheers,

        Jeremy
____

Alberch, P. et al. (1979) "Size and shape in ontogeny and phylogeny"
Paleobiology v5 n3 p296-317.

Amundson, Ron (1994) "Two Concepts Of Constraint:  Adaptationism And The
Challenge From Development Biology" Philosophy of science. v 61, n 4 pg
556-578.

Fleagle, John G. (1988) Primate adaptation & evolution.  Academic Press.
[QL737. P9 F57 1988]

Quiring, R. et al. (1994) "Homology of the Eyeless gene of Drosophila to
the Small Eye Gene in Mice and Aniridia in Humans" Science. v265, n5173,
p785-789.

Raup, D. & J.J. Sepkoski (1982) "Mass Extinction in the Marine Fossil
Record" Science v215, p 1501-1503 (19 March).

Rose, S. (1995) "The Rise of Neurogenetic Determinism" Nature. v373 (2 Feb)
p380-382.

__________________________________________________________
Jeremy Creighton Ahouse
Biology Dept.
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02254-9110

        (617) 736-4954 Lab
              736-2405 FAX
        ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:24>From robert.richardson@UC.EDU Wed Oct 11 14:44:15 1995

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 15:46:49 -0400
From: robert.richardson@UC.EDU (R. C. Richardson)
Subject: Re: Dennett/Gould again
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Dawin-Listers,

        Jeremy Ahouse suggests that Dennett's discussion of Gould is "at
best uncharitable and at worst willfull misreadings of Gould."  I think
this is right.

        In addition to the various false leads about evolutionary contingency,
punctuated equilibria, and the moral of the Burgess Shale, you find strange
passages like this one, which comes specifically in discussing Cronin
(which is where some of this began).  Gould objects to Cronin's (alleged)
panadaptationism, and Dennett says:

"Natural selection could still be the 'exclusive agent' of evolutionary
change even though many features of organisms were not adaptations" (p.
277).

It's hard to imagine what idea Dennett has in mind here.  One important
issue, which Cronin recognizes, is that there is a problem over whether
adaptive characters are the result of natural selection, or whether they
are, in Gould and Vrba's terms, "exaptations."  Gould and Cronin differ on
the answer. It does not seem, though, that Dennett is after this idea.  I
don't know what idea he's after.

I think the central mistake comes very early on.  Dennett claims that
Darwin's "fundamental idea" is that "Life on Earth has been generated over
billions of years in a single branching tree -- the tree of life -- by one
algorithmic process or another" (p. 51).  No doubt, evolution is important
to Darwin, but so is adaptation and Natural Selection.  Dennett's gloss
runs the two together in a way that it becomes impossible to see the issues
which divide Cronin and Gould; viz., the extent to which adaptive change is
the product of Natural Selection. It's also impossible to make sense of
different views concerning, say , the relative importance of selection and
drift, or the importance of developmental constraints on natural selection.
The problems get even worse, if you remind yourself that Dennett's
algorithms have "guaranteed results," so that algorighms are reliably
"executed without misstep" (loc. cit.).  It is, to say the least, important
to Gould that evolution is a probabilistic process, filled with
contingency.  That's one of the morals Gould wants to draw from the Burgess
Shale, among other discussions.  If you ran the tape over with an
algorithm, you'd get the same result.  That issue too escapes Dennett's
vision.  In the end, his characterization of "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" is
so undiscriminating that it loses sight of the issues which animate the
discussion between Cronin and Gould.

I don't mean to suggest that there is some easy resolution to the
differences between Gould and Cronin, and I like Cronin's book far more
than Gould does (even where I disagree with it), but I cannot see how
Dennett's discussion sheds any light at all on any of the differences.

Bob Richardson

Robert C. Richardson                           email: Robert.Richardson@uc.edu
Professor of Philosophy                        office phone: 513-556-6327
University of Cincinnati                       dept. fax:  513-556-2939

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:25>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Wed Oct 11 21:41:12 1995

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 21:42:54 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Adaptive Change and Natural Selection

In discussing Dennett's _Darwin Dangerous Idea_, Bob Richardson says:

>I think the central mistake comes very early on.  Dennett claims that
>Darwin's "fundamental idea" is that "Life on Earth has been generated over
>billions of years in a single branching tree -- the tree of life -- by one
>algorithmic process or another" (p. 51).  No doubt, evolution is important
>to Darwin, but so is adaptation and Natural Selection.  Dennett's gloss
>runs the two together in a way that it becomes impossible to see the issues
>which divide Cronin and Gould; viz., the extent to which adaptive change is
>the product of Natural Selection.

I have not read Cronin, so perhaps I should remain silent.  But I have read
much of Gould and Dennett's recent book, and I am intrigued by the end of
the statement above and so must ask: Is there any other explanation out
there for adaptive change other than natural selection?  If this is what
the debate is about, I'd sure like to know what other processes have been
proposed for adaptive change in organic evolution.

It seems to me that the main cause of the debate on evolution with Gould on
one side and Dawkins and Dennett (and I suppose Cronin) on the other, is
that Dawkins and Dennett seem primarily interested in adaptive change, and
so stress the importance of natural selection.  Gould is interested in the
broader evolutionary picture of which adaptive change is "only" one part.
So things like contingency and catastrophes are of interest to Gould (as
they should be to anyone interested in the total picture), but much less so
to Dawkins and Dennett who are primarily interested in the emergence of
adapted complexity.

--Gary Cziko

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:26>From zomv@hippo.ru.ac.za Thu Oct 12 01:42:04 1995

From: zomv@hippo.ru.ac.za (Dr MH Villet)
Subject: Re: Adaptive Change and Natural Selection
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 08:41:40 +0200 (GMT+0200)

CZIKO Gary writes:

> I have not read Cronin, so perhaps I should remain silent.  But I have read
> much of Gould and Dennett's recent book, and I am intrigued by the end of
> the statement above and so must ask: Is there any other explanation out
> there for adaptive change other than natural selection?  If this is what
> the debate is about, I'd sure like to know what other processes have been
> proposed for adaptive change in organic evolution.

I think that Stuart Kauffman's "Order out of Chaos" will provide an unusual
perspective on the role of natural selection in adaptation. At least in
part, he argues that selection does not generate novelty (or adaptations),
and that it is thus a very incomplete description of the origins of organic
diversity, if not just an aftereffect. Kauffman also goes into some depth on
the ontogenetic mechanisms generating novelty.

--
 Martin H. Villet

 Department of Zoology and Entomology   Telephone: 27 [0]461 318-527
 Rhodes University                              FAX: 27 [0]461 24377
 Grahamstown 6140 RSA                  Internet: zomv@hippo.ru.ac.za

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:27>From abrown@lazy.demon.co.uk Thu Oct 12 02:32:37 1995

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 08:24:23 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: Andrew Brown <abrown@lazy.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Re: Dennett/Gould again

Dear Jeremy,
I am writing privately about the Gould/Dennett thing because my contribution
is really too lightweight for the Darwin list. Here in England the Dennett
book has not been well received. Tom Wilkie, the science editor on my paper,
the Independent, was greatly disturbed by the attacks on Gould which he
described as a misleading travesty; and he is a man whose opinion is worth
having (the author, incidentally, of a good book on genetic engineering).
I can't help suspecting there is some hidden agenda involved in these
attacks. Last time Gould was over here, he lectured at the Natural History
Museum and concluded his talk with a recording of the choral music played at
Darwin's funeral in Westminster Abbey, a setting of some verses from
Proverbs. This is not the aproach to evolution approved by Dennett (or
Dawkins, who was in the audience, and has lavishly praised Dennett's book.)
There is something profoundly dishonest -- it seems to me - in the attempts
by both Dennett and Gould to eliminate contingency from their explanations
of human affairs. I was present at Gould's lecture because I had been
interviewing Dawkins for Esquire magazine immediately beforehand. I pressed
him a little on this point, and he said that Mass extinctions had nothing to
do with natural selection. Obviously this is true, in the sense that
biologists study natural selection, but just as obviously this means that it
cannot provide a complete explanation of why we are here, which D and D
claim it will.
They want Darwinism to be something like those West African medicines which
cure impotence, tuberculosis, bad breath, rheumatism and cancer.
Andrew Brown
footling at home
abrown@lazy.demon.co.uk
andrewb@well.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:28>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Thu Oct 12 09:43:41 1995

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 10:42:58 -0400
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: Mayr: reluctant cladist

DarwinL,

        My new issue of Biology & Philosophy just arrived.  In it we find
Mayr embracing cladograms(!), "However, it is recommended to publish a
cladogram with every classification, even a non-Hennigian one." (pg 426)
Wow.  To be complete this nugget is surrounded by a defense of his
preferred (diffuse) "method" of evolutionary taxonomy.

        He has now agreed that phylogenetic inference is important and
necessary, but hesitates to use it to classify.  He wishes to retain
traditional classifications because he can't transform cladograms into
classifications.  He reinforces the distinction by offering us the term
'cladon' to contrast with 'taxon'.  He wants taxon to refer to that
delicate mix that results in "relatively homogeneous taxa, largely based on
similarity and on the degree of genetic relationship, also reflecting their
niche occupation" (pg 431)

        Mayr claims that a single classification can carry all of the
weight of ecological, phylogentic, recognizability criteria.  I have not
been convinced that this is accomplished by the "method" that Mayr claims.

        Mayr cites Harper in the following passage, "Owing to the extreme
imperfection of the fossil record, we will never know what particular
species was the stem species of a flourishing higher taxon (Harper 1976)."
This citation is not listed in the REFERENCES section.  Do any of you know
which article he is describing?

        Thanks,

        - Jeremy

________

Mayr, E. (1995) "Systems of Ordering Data" Biology & Philosophy. v10 n4
p419-434.

________

p.s. Why is B&P so expensive, I got my bill the same day that the issue
arrived.  It is $17 an issue.  Sorry, just moaning...

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:29>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Thu Oct 12 11:00:35 1995

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 11:02:22 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Re: Adaptive Change and Natural Selection

In response to my:

>> I have not read Cronin, so perhaps I should remain silent.  But I have read
>> much of Gould and Dennett's recent book, and I am intrigued by the end of
>> the statement above and so must ask: Is there any other explanation out
>> there for adaptive change other than natural selection?  If this is what
>> the debate is about, I'd sure like to know what other processes have been
>> proposed for adaptive change in organic evolution.

Martin Villet replied:

>I think that Stuart Kauffman's "Order out of Chaos" will provide an unusual
>perspective on the role of natural selection in adaptation. At least in
>part, he argues that selection does not generate novelty (or adaptations),
>and that it is thus a very incomplete description of the origins of organic
>diversity, if not just an aftereffect. Kauffman also goes into some depth on
>the ontogenetic mechanisms generating novelty.

New adaptations may indeed be novel, but just because something is novel
doesn't mean it is an adaptation.  Indeed, mutations are all novelties,
almost all of which are maladaptive or at best neutral.

Similarly, Kauffman describes how order and complexity may arise from
self-organizing systems without selection, but such complexity need not be
adapted in any way.  I do not think Kaufmann would say adapted complexity
can arise without selection, although I have yet to read is latest book (I
believe it's title is _Our Place in the Universe_ or something like that).

I have included below an extract from the last chapter of my book _Without
Miracles_ (MIT Press/A Bradford Book) which discusses Kaufmann and
selection.

I am still looking for a mechanism that can provide adaptations without
natural selection.--Gary Cziko

------------------------------------------------------------------
Gary Cziko
Associate Professor              Telephone 217-333-8527
Educational Psychology           FAX: 217-244-7620
University of Illinois           E-mail: g-cziko@uiuc.edu
1310 S. Sixth Street             Radio: N9MJZ
210 Education Building
Champaign, Illinois 61820-6990

http://www.uiuc.edu/ph/www/g-cziko/
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Self-Organization (from Chapter 16 of _Without Miracles_ by Gary Cziko)

But there may well be something more to adaptive evolution than natural
selection after all. The second law of thermodynamics is the well-known law
of increasing entropy, which states that in an isolated system (that is, a
system that can neither gain nor lose energy or matter) we can expect order
to decrease, energy to become less available, and a stable (and lifeless)
equilibrium to be reached. But in an open system able to draw on sources of
outside energy, the situation can be dramatically different. The evolution
of life itself is the most striking example of a naturally occurring
increase in complexity. But inanimate objects and systems can also
demonstrate naturally emerging complexity in certain situations. Anyone who
has marveled at the intricate symmetrical beauty of a snowflake, observed
the coordinated ballet of grains of rice in a simmering pot of water, or
encountered the organized fury of a tornado has noticed that complexity can
also arise spontaneously in the inanimate world. And this spontaneous
emergence of complexity, or self-organization as it is now usually called,
has recently attracted the attention of a wide range of scientists, from
physicists and biologists to cognitive scientists and economists.

That organized complexity can emerge spontaneously in inanimate systems may
have far-reaching implications for understanding the origin of life and its
continuing evolution. One of the major difficulties in coming up with a
convincing nonmiraculous account is explaining how inanimate matter could
have organized itself into the very first self-replicating life forms. The
degree of complexity required for this first step has seemed to many
biologists to be just too unlikely to be due to the random forces of
nature. Darwin himself was reluctant to advance a nonmiraculous argument,
and in the last paragraph of later editions of the Origin refers to the
power of life "having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few
forms or into one."

So if the blind laws of nature operating on inanimate entities could with
high probability lead to the emergence of complex, self-organized molecules
and networks of molecules, then the origin of life itself, as well as its
continued evolution, becomes somewhat less of a mystery. This is the
message that American biochemist and biophysicist Stuart Kauffman has been
delivering for the past dozen or so years, and provides in detail in his
influential book, The Origins of Order.

It is now recognized that the laws of physics acting on nonliving entities
can lead to spontaneous complexity, but nothing in these laws can guarantee
adapted complexity of the type seen in living organisms, that is, the
ubiquitous biological puzzles of fit. Of all the complex systems and
structures that may self-organize due to the forces of nature, there can be
no assurance that all or any of them will be of use for the survival and
reproduction of living organisms. Selection, therefore, must choose among
these various complex systems the ones with characteristics better suited
to survival and reproduction, and eliminate others. As Kauffman remarked,
"evolution is not just 'chance caught on the wing.' It is not just a
tinkering of the ad hoc, of bricolage, or contraption. It is emergent order
honored and honed by selection."

The study of self-organizing systems is among the newest and most ambitious
scientific ventures of the late twentieth century, and its discoveries may
ultimately have a major impact on evolutionary theory and our understanding
of the emergence of life itself. But from our present viewpoint it is
difficult to see how self-organization could ever replace, as opposed to
complement, natural selection. It may help to jump-start natural selection
by blindly offering up a variety of already complex systems from which to
choose. But it is only after-the-fact selection that can eliminate the
non-viable complex systems and retain the viable ones.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:30>From minaka@niaes.affrc.go.jp Thu Oct 12 11:17:08 1995

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 95 01:20:08 +0900
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: minaka@niaes.affrc.go.jp (Nobuhiro Minaka)
Subject: Re: Mayr: reluctant cladist

At 10:42 95.10.12 -0400, Jeremy C. Ahouse wrote:
>        Mayr cites Harper in the following passage, "Owing to the extreme
>imperfection of the fossil record, we will never know what particular
>species was the stem species of a flourishing higher taxon (Harper 1976)."
>This citation is not listed in the REFERENCES section.  Do any of you know
>which article he is describing?

   Harper's paper which Mayr cites is probably the following:

        Harper, C.W., Jr. 1976. Phylogenetic inference in paleontology.
        _Journal of Palaeontology_, 50(1): 180-193.

   It is one of the earliest papers which distinguishes cladograms from
phylogenetic trees.

     T      _____________________ Nobuhiro Minaka ______________________
     !_R     Laboratory of Statistics, Division of Information Analysis
     |   E       National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences
      ~| !_E       Kannon-dai 3-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305, Japan
     !_ ~| _-S  PHONE: +81-(0)298-38-8222   FAX: +81-(0)298-38-8199
       ~-?~               E-mail: minaka@niaes.affrc.go.jp
         |     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        /

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:31>From ronald@hawaii.edu Thu Oct 12 13:20:04 1995

Date: 	Thu, 12 Oct 1995 08:19:12 -1000
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@hawaii.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Dennett/Gould again

On Wed, 11 Oct 1995, Jeremy C. Ahouse wrote:

> Bryant (Bryant <mycol1@unm.edu>) writes:
>
> >I think it's time for somebody to compile a defense of the adaptationist
> >program in the form of a recitation of Gould's blunders.  Specifically,
> >his stances on female orgasm ...

What's the latest on the female orgasm, Bryant?  Is there definite
additional evidence _against_ Gould's "exaptation" story, or do you just
consider it a blunder on the face of it?

On a related issue, Jon Marks discusses the evolution of the human hand,
generally held to be adapted for toolmaking.  He observes that "Humans
also use their hands extensively during sexual activity, to stimulate
their partners, unlike apes.  How can we know whether the first
[toolmaking] or the second [foreplay] use of the human hand is the
adaptive explanation?"  (_Human Biodiversity_, Aldine de Gruyter 1995, p.
188)

Has anyone explored the coadaptation of human hand and clitoris?

Respond quickly!  I need to know!!!  ;-)

Ron

__
Ron Amundson
University of Hawaii at Hilo
ronald@Hawaii.Edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:32>From robert.richardson@UC.EDU Thu Oct 12 14:29:24 1995

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 15:32:11 -0400
From: robert.richardson@UC.EDU (R. C. Richardson)
Subject: Re: Adaptive Change and Natural Selection
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

>Gary Cziko writes:

>Is there any other explanation out
>there for adaptive change other than natural selection?  If this is what
>the debate is about, I'd sure like to know what other processes have been
>proposed for adaptive change in organic evolution.

An example might help.  Skull sutures facilitate live birth in mammals, and
particularly in humans, since they allow passage through the birth canal.
They are not adaptations for that function, but "exaptions" (in the terms
of Vrba and Gould).  As Darwin noted in the *Origin*, the same sutures
appear in a variety of forms:  marsupials have the same suture structure,
as do reptiles, and in neither case is passage through a birth canal a
problem.  Darwin says that this structure must have arisen from the "laws
of growth."  Sutures are, in any case, fundamental to constructing skulls,
and though adaptive in humans they are not adaptations.

More generally, this might be treated as part of the animal Bauplan, an
explanation that Dennett dismisses as mystical.  Mystical or not, it seems
the right explanation is not natural selection and adaptation.  This may
not count as an example of adaptive *change*, but it is a case of adaptive
features which are not adaptations.  I would not count this as "a mechanism
that can provide adaptations without natural selection," because I'm not
inclined to treat sutures as adaptations even though they are adaptive.

There are many interesting issues lurking in the corners of this example
and others like it.  For now, perhaps the example itself will be enough.

Robert C. Richardson                           email: Robert.Richardson@uc.edu
Professor of Philosophy                        office phone: 513-556-6327
University of Cincinnati                       dept. fax:  513-556-2939

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:33>From Catalinus@aol.com Thu Oct 12 19:17:04 1995

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 20:17:01 -0400
From: Catalinus@aol.com
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Definition of Fitness

Hello Darwin List members!
Recently, Mr. Miller asked for a definition of fitness, such that:

> I am looking for a succinct but comprehensive definition of Darwinian
> fitness. The standard "survival and reproductive success" seems
> inadequate. First of all, survival seems superfluous, for it is
> presupposed by reproductive success. To reproduce, an organism
> must survive at least from gamete to gamete.
> Secondly, survival success is too vague. Is it in the mere numbers of
> offspring or in their viability? How many future generations must be
> observed before we can declare a given reproductive strategy
> successful?  Is there a way to incorporate these concerns into the
> definition of fitness?

I may suggest a perspective from my own wrestling with this concept.  I
have been trying to define fitness such that it could be given empirical
import in the application of evolutionary theory to cultural behaviors,
where clearly reproductive success just won't do.  Perhaps a definition
such that fitness is:

A trait or character displays fitness when, in a given set of environmental
circumstances (I use environment in the broadest sense, to be defined
by ecological, cultural, and temporal factors), the expression of that
behavior allows the efficient interaction of the life form with its
environment.  The results of fitness could include, but are not limited to,
reproductive success, adaptive radiation, ecosystem dominance,
population increase, temporal duration of form, and even individual
perceptions of well being.

I hope this is some help to you, and I invite others to comment

John A. Giacobbe
Western Archaeological Services, Inc.
catalinus@aol.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:34>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Thu Oct 12 20:31:33 1995

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 20:33:17 +0000
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: Re: Adaptive Change and Natural Selection: Skull Sutures

[from Gary Cziko]

In response to my question:

>>Is there any other explanation out
>>there for adaptive change other than natural selection?  If this is what
>>the debate is about, I'd sure like to know what other processes have been
>>proposed for adaptive change in organic evolution.

Robert Richardson writes:

>An example might help.  Skull sutures facilitate live birth in mammals, and
>particularly in humans, since they allow passage through the birth canal.
>They are not adaptations for that function, but "exaptions" (in the terms
>of Vrba and Gould).  As Darwin noted in the *Origin*, the same sutures
>appear in a variety of forms:  marsupials have the same suture structure,
>as do reptiles, and in neither case is passage through a birth canal a
>problem.  Darwin says that this structure must have arisen from the "laws
>of growth."  Sutures are, in any case, fundamental to constructing skulls,
>and though adaptive in humans they are not adaptations.
>
>More generally, this might be treated as part of the animal Bauplan, an
>explanation that Dennett dismisses as mystical.  Mystical or not, it seems
>the right explanation is not natural selection and adaptation.  This may
>not count as an example of adaptive *change*, but it is a case of adaptive
>features which are not adaptations.  I would not count this as "a mechanism
>that can provide adaptations without natural selection," because I'm not
>inclined to treat sutures as adaptations even though they are adaptive.

Interesting example.  But my adaptionist inclinations would lead me to
suspect that skull sutures didn't just arise from some mysterious Bauplan,
but rather gradually evolved via natural selection in "non-birth-canal"
organisms for some other reason.  Perhaps someone out there can give us a
clue as to why marsupials and reptiles have them.  Perhaps a complete skull
requires more calcium than can be made available in the egg (interesting to
think of the eggshell and embryo competing for calcium), so the skull
"waits" to fully form until after hatching?

If absolutely no explanation can be found for the adaptive nature of skull
sutures in non-mammals, then I would admit that you've pointed out another
mechanism (other than natural selection) for adapted complexity.  But this
mechanism would appear to me to depend upon sheer luck, and so I would
expect such instances to be quite rare.

--Gary Cziko

------------------------------------------------------------------
Gary Cziko
Associate Professor              Telephone 217-333-8527
Educational Psychology           FAX: 217-244-7620
University of Illinois           E-mail: g-cziko@uiuc.edu
1310 S. Sixth Street             Radio: N9MJZ
210 Education Building
Champaign, Illinois 61820-6990

http://www.uiuc.edu/ph/www/g-cziko/
-------------------------------------------------------------------

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:35>From bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au Thu Oct 12 22:39:08 1995

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 11:36:45 +0800 (WST)
From: Hugo Bouckaert <bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Definition of Fitness

On Wed, 11 Oct 1995, John Wilkins wrote:

> ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse) wrote:
> |Sober, E. (1984) The Nature of Selection.  MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.  Part I
> |concerns fitness, selection and adaptation.  See esp. Ch 1 "Evolutionary
> |theory as a theory of forces"
>
> I'm interested to hear what you and any others make of the claim by
> Sober that fitness is a supervenient property that explains but does
> not cause differential survival. If fitness is supervenient, then what
> about natural selection itself? Given that NS is some kind of
> environmental sorting process acting on self-replicating entities, then
> it is clearly supervenient in that it has only formal isomorphy from
> actual selection event (say, of a bacterial species) to event (say, of
> a eukaryote species). This may be a bit vague, but the idea Sober puts
> is that fitness supervenes because the causal processes that actually
> result in differential survival are such things as better running
> abilities, etc, IOW, traits. Supervenient properties are those which
> *may* be shared by physically distinct systems but which *must* be
> shared by physically identical ones.
>
> In response to J Miller's question, FWIW, I think fitness is an
> abstract summation of real properties, and is a heuristic convenience.
>
> John Wilkins

Yes, I think fitness is definitely a supervenient concept, and this
isfurther clarified, I think, by the ideas put forward by Bock and von
Wahlert, who provide a detailed analysis of the concept of adaptation
(without these authors proclaiming that fitness is a supervenient concept
- this idea is definitely to be found in Sober). It all hinges on having
a closer look at fitness from a causal perspective, and of course many
people would disagree with such a causal approach - I can only say that I
find it a very good heuristic device to clear up some of the confusion
surrounding the concept of fitness. I think when you read the passage in
Sober's (1984) The Nature of Selection on the supervenience of fitness it is
difficult NOT to be convinced of the supervenience of fitness. By the way:
the full reference to Bock and von Wahlert's publications is:

Bock, WG von Wahlert, G (1965) Adaptation and the form-function complex.
Evolution 19:269-299

Bock WG (1980) The definition and recognition of biological adaptation.
Amer Zool 20:217-227

Hugo Bouckaert
Bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:36>From bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au Thu Oct 12 23:03:15 1995

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 12:01:26 +0800 (WST)
From: Hugo Bouckaert <bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Definition of Fitness

On Thu, 12 Oct 1995 Catalinus@aol.com wrote:

> Hello Darwin List members!
> Recently, Mr. Miller asked for a definition of fitness, such that:
>
> > I am looking for a succinct but comprehensive definition of Darwinian
> > fitness. The standard "survival and reproductive success" seems
> > inadequate. First of all, survival seems superfluous, for it is
> > presupposed by reproductive success. To reproduce, an organism
> > must survive at least from gamete to gamete.
> > Secondly, survival success is too vague. Is it in the mere numbers of
> > offspring or in their viability? How many future generations must be
> > observed before we can declare a given reproductive strategy
> > successful?  Is there a way to incorporate these concerns into the
> > definition of fitness?
>
> I may suggest a perspective from my own wrestling with this concept.  I
> have been trying to define fitness such that it could be given empirical
> import in the application of evolutionary theory to cultural behaviors,
> where clearly reproductive success just won't do.  Perhaps a definition
> such that fitness is:
>
> A trait or character displays fitness when, in a given set of environmental
> circumstances (I use environment in the broadest sense, to be defined
> by ecological, cultural, and temporal factors), the expression of that
> behavior allows the efficient interaction of the life form with its
> environment.  The results of fitness could include, but are not limited to,
> reproductive success, adaptive radiation, ecosystem dominance,
> population increase, temporal duration of form, and even individual
> perceptions of well being.
>
> I hope this is some help to you, and I invite others to comment
>
> John A. Giacobbe
> Western Archaeological Services, Inc.
> catalinus@aol.com

That sounds very nice, but such a definition is so broad that it can
never be translated into a measurement. First of all environment: how do
you demarcate one selective environment from the next? Secondly, fitness
is not a behaviour, although certain behaviours may carry a fitness
value. Thirdly, when you talk about the resultsof fitness, in each case
different entities are involved: individuals, taxa, populations.
Individual perceptions of well being I would definitely count out as
having anything to do with fitness. But I'm afraid my most severe
criticism comes fromthe fact that there is no link between fitness and
natural selection. Fitness is a concept that plays a role in natural
selection, and, at least theoretically, in species selection.
Don't take it personally!

Hugo Bouckaert
Bouckaer@central.murdoch.edu.au

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:37>From schoenem@qal.Berkeley.EDU Fri Oct 13 01:28:45 1995

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 23:29:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom Schoenemann <schoenem@qal.Berkeley.EDU>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Adaptive Change and Natural Selection: Skull Sutures

On Thu, 12 Oct 1995, CZIKO Gary wrote:

> If absolutely no explanation can be found for the adaptive nature of skull
> sutures in non-mammals, then I would admit that you've pointed out another
> mechanism (other than natural selection) for adapted complexity.  But this
> mechanism would appear to me to depend upon sheer luck, and so I would
> expect such instances to be quite rare.

Gary Cziko's comments highlight the problem with the "non-adaptationist"
paradigm.  "Non-adaptationism" isn't really a research paradigm at all,
because to be sure something isn't an adaptation, one has to test
adaptationist explanations first and find them lacking.  Of course, to
test adaptive explanations, we have to think them up in the first place.
So even if we are committed "non-adaptationists," we have to approach
problems from an adaptive standpoint.  Dawkins makes essentially this
point in the "Extended Phenotype," as well as Mayr in his "How to carry
out the adaptationist paradigm," (American Naturalist, v.121:324-334,
1983).  Even Gould and Lewontin believe this:

"Biologists are forced to the extreme adaptationist paradigm because the
alternatives, although they are undoubtedly operative in many cases, are
untestable in particular cases," (Lewontin, 1978, "Adaptation,"
Scientific American, v.239, p.169)

Since they are in principle untestable by themselves, they cannot be
considered scientific explanations.  They are, in effect, the things we
cannot explain by adaptive mechanisms.

One of Gould's "non-adaptationist" articles demonstrates this point
vividly.  In attempting to demonstrate that variation in the shells of
land snails (in the genus Cerion) is not adaptive, he empirically
invalidates the adaptive explanations he himself had proposed back in
1969.  But even here he is forced to acknowledge that, "some unexamined
selective agent might be clinally distributed throughout the islands,"
("Covariance sets and ordered geographic variation in Cerion from Aruba,
Bonaire, and Curacao: A way of studying nonadaptation," Systematic
Zoology, v.33, p.235).  Scientists that believe nonadaptation is a real,
powerful, and important feature of biological evolution are honor-bound
to think up and test adaptive explanations, as Gould demonstrates (though
this doesn't seem to come out very clearly in his popular writings, which
is partly why many suspect ideological biases, etc., are at work there).

On a related issue, there is a basic logical problem with the concept of a
blauplan which needs to be addressed (perhaps it has been already, and
someone can set me straight).  One of the things that we can demonstrate
empirically is that mutations are continuously arising at all loci, and
apparently have been arising since the beginning of life.  One of the
consequences of this is that nonadaptive features of an organism will
necessarily accumulate mutations, the vast majority of which will change
the feature in some way (assuming they have phenotypic effects).  This
means that broad patterns found across species (i.e., features of the
"blauplan") are necessarily adaptive, in some sense, because if they
weren't, they would necessarily disolve into a morass of variability as
mutations accumulate.  By definition, we wouldn't be able to point to them
as broad patterns in the first place.  Cain makes essentially this point
(as Dawkins acknowledges in the Extended Phenotype, see references
therein).  The existence of a "blauplan" is prima facie evidence for the
importance of natural selection in maintaining these features.

Now it could be that the reason for the broad patterns is not that their
outward appearance is adaptive, in and of themselves, but rather that
screwing around with the developmental mechanisms which produce them
causes the organism to die.  Alberch and others have argued for the
importance of developmental constraints, but this just shifts the focus
of selection.  In other words, this isn't a demonstration that selection
is not operating, but simply that is is operating on a different aspect
of the feature in question.

Which brings me back to the question of cranial sutures.  If they are not
exclusively an adaptation for childbirth in humans, aspects of their
ontogeny may well be different from other organisms in subtle ways such
that they show effects of selection for ease of childbirth.  This is a
testable idea, but it won't be tested if we jump to the conclusion that
they must be non-adaptations.  Let's try another analogy.  The brains of
mammals (and vertebrates in general) show remarkable homologies.  Does
this fact license us to conclude that natural selection had no role in
the evolution of the human brain?  It is often the differences between
species that are of the most evolutionary interest.

P. Thomas Schoenemann
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley
(schoenem@qal.berkeley.edu)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<26:38>From ronald@hawaii.edu Fri Oct 13 04:29:12 1995

Date: 	Thu, 12 Oct 1995 23:28:53 -1000
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@hawaii.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Adaptive Change and Natural Selection: Skull Sutures

On Thu, 12 Oct 1995, Tom Schoenemann wrote:

> Gary Cziko's comments highlight the problem with the "non-adaptationist"
> paradigm.  "Non-adaptationism" isn't really a research paradigm at all,
> because to be sure something isn't an adaptation, one has to test
> adaptationist explanations first and find them lacking.  Of course, to
> test adaptive explanations, we have to think them up in the first place.
> So even if we are committed "non-adaptationists," we have to approach
> problems from an adaptive standpoint.

I don't know who invoked a "non-adaptationist paradigm", but two issues
are being confused here.  One is the practice of critiquing the
_adaptationist_ paradigm, which G&L and many others have contributed to.
This does indeed require assessments of adaptationist analyses.  The other
is the development of a "paradigm" which focusses on other-than adaptive
biological phenomena.  That "non-adaptationist paradigm" is under no
obligation to kowtow to adaptationist explanations in conducting its
business.

Many developmental biologists are currently working in a tradition
sometimes called "structuralist" as opposed to the "functionalism" of
adaptationism.  It is a non-adaptationist paradigm.  They can conduct
their research quite well without constantly measuring it against the
yardsticks of adaptationism.  If they want to _challenge_ adaptationism,
of course, they have to find a way to compare the approaches.

> Since they are in principle untestable by themselves, they cannot be
> considered scientific explanations.  They are, in effect, the things we
> cannot explain by adaptive mechanisms.

Ignoring the falsificationist dogma for the moment, structuralists are
_not_ working on the dregs left over after adaptationists have drunk
their fill.  Except for the present dominance of adaptationist biology,
one could equally well argue that _adaptationists_ are "merely working on
the things which cannot be explained by structural mechanisms".  (That
would be false, but no more false than the above quote.)

For an extended argument for the independence of developmental-constraint
style biology from adaptationism, and the fallaciousness of Tom's (and
Cain's, and Dawkins's, and Dennett's, and Mayr's, and Jesus Christ's for
all I know) argument that non-adaptationists must rely on adaptationism to
provide their targets, see my "Two Concepts of Constraint", Dec. 1994
Phil. Sci. (flatteringly cited by Jeremy Ahouse recently).

In fact, I think the situation is quite symmetrical between the two
groups.  A structuralist who wanted to critique an adaptationist would be
obliged to understand adaptationist theorizing.  Similarly, an
adaptationist who wanted to critique a structuralist should try to
understand structuralist theorizing.

In my opinion the critiques Tom cites and offers of structuralist theories
(Cain and Dawkins on bauplans, and his own "logical problem") do not take
seriously the explanations offered by the opposition.  Structuralism is
based on developmental biology, and the explanations it uses are ignored
(rather than refuted) by arguments citing such adaptationist
considerations as the presumed pileups of point mutations on non-adaptive
traits.

Tom is right that Gould et al compare adaptationist to nonadaptationist
explanations, and that Lewontin (though not Gould) seemed to imply in
1978 that there was no way to practice a non-adaptationist biological
paradigm.  In the comparisons, they are doing what ought to be done in
comparing two "paradigms".  That fact does not imply that one "paradigm"
is a priori superior to the other.  Regarding Lewontin's 1978 quote, he
simply didn't _know_ how a non-adaptationist paradigm would be
practiced.  (He is a geneticist, after all, not a developmental
biologist.  Not even a developmental geneticist.)  Structuralist biology is
now better developed.

Sorry to bandy all this tendentious stuff without providing citations.
My 2-year-old bibliography posted to Darwin-L covers the stuff to that
date; I'll try to provide more recent citations later if there's
interest.  (I know a few lurkers who could chip in on that task ... hint
hint.)  It's late at night even in Hawaii.

I do like Tom's way of posing the challenge to bauplane as a "logical
problem".  It does seem to be an _a priori_ issue from the adaptationist
perspective.  While I've been scare-quoting "paradigms", I think there is
a point in labelling them in that way -- the differences in orientation
are complex and each "paradigm" is to some extent self-contained.

Cheers,

Ron

__
Ron Amundson
University of Hawaii at Hilo
ronald@Hawaii.Edu

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Darwin-L Message Log 26: 1-38 -- October 1995                               End

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