Adaptationism and the Logic of Research Questions: How to Think Clearly About Evolutionary Causes

Biological Theory 10 (4):DOI: 10.1007/s13752-015-0214-2 (2015)
Elisabeth Lloyd
Indiana University, Bloomington
This article discusses various dangers that accompany the supposedly benign methods in behavioral evoltutionary biology and evolutionary psychology that fall under the framework of "methodological adaptationism." A "Logic of Research Questions" is proposed that aids in clarifying the reasoning problems that arise due to the framework under critique. The live, and widely practiced, " evolutionary factors" framework is offered as the key comparison and alternative. The article goes beyond the traditional critique of Stephen Jay Gould and Richard C. Lewontin, to present problems such as the disappearance of evidence, the mishandling of the null hypothesis, and failures in scientific reasoning, exemplified by a case from human behavioral ecology. In conclusion the paper shows that "methodological adaptationism" does not deserve its benign reputation.
Keywords adaptationism  evolutionary psychology  behavioral ecology  female orgasm  human evolution  evolutionary byproduct  developmental biology  evolutionary theory  scientific theory structure  scientific explanation
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DOI 10.1007/s13752-015-0214-2
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References found in this work BETA

Exaptation–A Missing Term in the Science of Form.Stephen Jay Gould & Elisabeth S. Vrba - 1998 - In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press.

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