Why Natural Selection Doesn't Explain Everything
The dangers of the Adaptationist Fallacy is a cautionary tale known well by biologists, but I feel like it hasn't distilled down well to the general public very well.
As the go-to-biologist, I often get asked “Jake, why do we have X” or “why do we do X.” In these situations it's very easy to come up with a reasonable sounding story that makes me seem like I know what I’m talking about, and the other person leaves relatively satisfied with the neatly packaged narrative.
The problem is that a lot of the time, there is no reason why we have/do X. For some traits sure, like, there are clear beneficial reasons for us to have eyes or for lizards to have camouflage. But for some cases, it's just not unambiguously clear why we have chins for instance.
In the 70s, biologists started to catch on to this problem and warned people not to assume that all traits were the direct product of natural selection; there are many other possibilities. This culminated with one of the most famous papers in biology of the past 50 years known as Spandrels by Steven Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin. It still causes a lot of debate today.
Anyway, enough rambling. Click here to watch the video.
Hope you enjoy. I bought a camera, not sure if you’ll notice the difference but I think it looks heaps better. Also if you haven't already follow me on Insta and Twitter both @subanima_ :)