History & Philosophy of the Life Sciences. 2013, Vol. 35 Issue 2, p193-212. 20p.
EVOLUTIONARY psychology, BIOLOGICAL adaptation, PERSONALITY -- Social aspects, PSYCHOLOGISTS, COGNITION -- Social aspects, CRITICISM, HISTORY, and 20TH century
One of the most well known methodological criticisms of evolutionary psychology is Gould's claim that the program pays too much attention to adaptations, and not enough to exaptations. Almost as well known is the standard rebuttal of that criticism: namely, that the study of exaptations in fact depends on the study of adaptations. However, as I try to show in this paper, it is premature to think that this is where this debate ends. First, the notion of exaptation that is commonly used in this debate is different from the one that Gould and Vrba originally defined. Noting this is particularly important, since, second, the standard reply to Gould's criticism only works if the criticism is framed in terms of the former notion of exaptation, and not the latter. However, third, this ultimately does not change the outcome of the debate much, as evolutionary psychologists can respond to the revamped criticism of their program by claiming that the original notion of exaptation is theoretically and empirically uninteresting. By discussing these issues further, I also seek to determine, more generally, which ways of approaching the adaptationism debate in evolutionary biology are useful, and which not. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
CONTINGENCY (Philosophy), MACROEVOLUTION, HISTORIOGRAPHY, COMPUTER simulation, PROBABILITY theory, PHYLOGENY, and PALEOBIOLOGY
This paper develops a critical response to John Beatty's recent () engagement with Stephen Jay Gould's claim that evolutionary history is contingent. Beatty identifies two senses of contingency in Gould's work: an unpredictability sense and a causal dependence sense. He denies that Gould associates contingency with stochastic phenomena, such as drift. In reply to Beatty, this paper develops two main claims. The first is an interpretive claim: Gould really thinks of contingency has having to do with stochastic effects at the level of macroevolution, and in particular with unbiased species sorting. This notion of contingency as macro-level stochasticity incorporates both the causal dependence and the unpredictability senses of contingency. The second claim is more substantive: Recent attempts by other scientists to put Gould's claim to the test fail to engage with the hypothesis that species sorting sometimes resembles a lottery. Gould's claim that random sorting is a significant macroevolutionary phenomenon remains an intriguing and largely untested live hypothesis about evolution. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Journal of the History of Biology. Jun2005, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p209-237. 29p.
PALEOBIOLOGY, PALEONTOLOGY, ZOOLOGY, SCIENTISTS -- United States, and SCIENCE -- United States
During the 1970s, a “revolution” in American paleobiology took place. It came about in part because a group of mostly young, ambitious paleontologists adapted many of the quantitative methodologies and techniques developed in fields including biology and ecology over the previous several decades to their own discipline. Stephen Jay Gould, who was then just beginning his career, joined others in articulating a singular vision for transforming paleontology from an isolated and often ignored science to a “nomothetic discipline” that could sit at evolution’s “high table.” Over the course of a single decade, between 1970 and 1980, this transformation had in large part been accomplished. Among those most centrally involved in this process were Gould, Thomas Schopf, David Raup, and Gould’s graduate student Jack Sepkoski, all of whom made major contributions in theoretical and quantitative analysis of the fossil record and evolutionary history. Recognizing that an ideological agenda was not enough, Gould and others developed and promoted new outlets, technologies, and pedagogical strategies to nurture their new discipline. This paper describes this process of transformation, and presents Sepkoski’s education and participation as exemplary of the “new model paleontologist”, which Gould hoped to produce. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
The author reflects on the criticism made by deceased evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould on the findings of physician Samuel Morton concerning the measurement of cranial capacity. He mentions on the scrutiny undertaken by Jason Lewis and colleagues which asserts that Gould has misinterpreted the Native American skull samples and the research bias was not found in Morton's measurement. He is also critical on the examination of one's work while the person is still alive.
History & Philosophy of the Life Sciences. 2002, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p285-291. 7p.
EVOLUTION (Biology), PALEONTOLOGISTS, HOMOLOGY (Biology), and ECOLOGY
This article focuses on paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould's efforts to reconstruct naturalist Charles Robert Darwin's evolutionary ecology in light of his book "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory." Gould pushes the analogy between species and organisms somewhat further than the author would. Unless species are individuals, species selection will not work, but the fact that they are individuals only means that the theory is not metaphysically flawed. A particularly glaring example of Gould's metaphysical confusion is his failure to understand the fundamental concepts that anatomists call "homology" and "analogy."
In this paper, I argue against John Beatty’s position in his paper “The Evolutionary Contingency Thesis” by counterexample. Beatty argues that there are no distinctly biological laws because the outcomes of the evolutionary processes are contingent. I argue that the heart of the Caspar–Klug theory of virus structure—that spherical virus capsids consist of 60T subunits (where T = k2 + hk + h2 and h and k are integers)—is a distinctly biological law even if the existence of spherical viruses is evolutionarily contingent. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]