Adap­ta­tion Executors

TagLast edit: 3 Oct 2020 3:12 UTC by Swimmer963

Model­ing biolog­i­cal sys­tems as Adap­tion Ex­ecu­tors is cen­tral prin­ci­ple of evolu­tion­ary biol­ogy in gen­eral, and evolu­tion­ary psy­chol­ogy in par­tic­u­lar.

If we re­garded hu­man taste buds as try­ing to max­i­mize fit­ness, we might ex­pect that, say, hu­mans fed a diet too high in calories and too low in micronu­tri­ents, would be­gin to find let­tuce deli­cious, and cheese­burg­ers dis­taste­ful. But it is bet­ter to re­gard taste buds as an ex­e­cut­ing adap­ta­tion—they are adapted to an an­ces­tral en­vi­ron­ment in which calories, not micronu­tri­ents, were the limit­ing fac­tor. And now they are sim­ply ex­e­cut­ing that adap­ta­tion—evolu­tion op­er­ates on too slow a timescale to re-adapt to such a re­cent con­di­tion.

Evolu­tion is ul­ti­mately just a his­tor­i­cal-statis­ti­cal macro­fact about which an­ces­tors did in fact re­pro­duce. Th­ese genes then ex­e­cute again, as they did pre­vi­ously. And so the be­hav­ior of the or­ganism is of­ten bet­ter in­ter­preted in terms of what worked in the past, rather than what should work in the fu­ture. The or­ganism’s genes are, in fact, the causal re­sult of what worked in the past, and cer­tainly not a causal re­sult of the fu­ture.

Ex­ter­nal links

See also

[SEQ RERUN] Adap­ta­tion-Ex­ecu­tors, not Fit­ness Maximizers

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