David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):951-966 (2005)
Maynard Smith’s defenses of adaptationism and of the value of optimization theory in evolutionary biology are both criticized. His defense does not adequately respond to the criticism of adaptationism by Gould and Lewontin. It is also argued here that natural selection cannot be interpreted as an optimization process if the objective function to be optimized is either (i) interpretable as a fitness, or (ii) correlated with the mean population fitness. This result holds even if fitnesses are frequency-independent; the problem is further exacerbated in the frequency-dependent context modeled by evolutionary game theory. However, Eshel and Feldman’s new results on “long-term” evolution may provide some hope for the continuing relevance of the game-theoretic framework. These arguments also demonstrate the irrelevance of attempts by Intelligent Design creationists to use computational limits on optimization algorithms as evidence against evolutionary theory. It is pointed out that adaptation, natural selection, and optimization are not equivalent processes in the context of biological evolution.
|Keywords||Adaptation Evolution Frequency-dependence Natural selection No free lunch theorems Optimization|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
John Maynard Smith & Eors Szathmary (1996). The Major Transitions in Evolution. Journal of the History of Biology 29 (1):151-152.
William A. Dembski (2002). No Free Lunch Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased Without Intelligence.
Richard Dawkins (1999). Climbing Mount Improbable. Environmental Values 8 (1):114-116.
R. C. Lewontin (1991). Facts and the Factitious in Natural Sciences. Critical Inquiry 18 (1):140-153.
Citations of this work BETA
Sahotra Sarkar (2014). Formal Darwinism. Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):249-257.
Similar books and articles
Massimo Pigliucci & Carl D. Schlichting (1997). On the Limits of Quantitative Genetics for the Study of Phenotypic Evolution. Acta Biotheoretica 45 (2):143-160.
Robert C. Richardson (1994). Optimization in Evolutionary Ecology. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:13 - 21.
Paul Weirich (2010). Optimization and Improvement. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 148 (3):467 - 475.
Björn Hagströmer, Richard G. Anderson, Jane M. Binner, Thomas Elger & Birger Nilsson, Mean-Variance Vs. Full-Scale Optimization: Broad Evidence for the UK.
Rowland Stout (1998). The Evolution of Theoretically Useful Traits. Biology and Philosophy 13 (4):529-540.
Ronald Meester (2009). Simulation of Biological Evolution and the Nfl Theorems. Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):461-472.
Alirio Rosales (2005). John Maynard Smith and the Natural Philosophy of␣Adaptation. Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):1027-1040.
Olle Häggström (2007). Intelligent Design and the NFL Theorems. Biology and Philosophy 22 (2):217-230.
Daniel J. Gilman (1993). Optimization and Simplicity: Marr's Theory of Vision and Biological Explanation. Synthese 107 (3):293-323.
Samir Okasha (2005). Maynard Smith on the Levels of Selection Question. Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):989-1010.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads25 ( #153,252 of 1,801,598 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #466,493 of 1,801,598 )
How can I increase my downloads?