By Steven Hecht Orzack, Elliott Sober

The idea of adaptationism argues that average choice includes enough explanatory energy in itself to account for all evolution. despite the fact that, there are differing perspectives in regards to the potency, or optimality, of the variation version of clarification. If the adaptationism thought is utilized, are power and assets getting used as optimally as attainable? Adaptationism and Optimality combines contributions from biologists and philosophers, and gives a scientific remedy of foundational, conceptual, and methodological concerns surrounding the idea of adaptationism.

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To test the hypothesis that red petals evolved due to natural selection for the biological role of attracting pollinating birds, we first must show that red petals perform better than white petals in bird-pollinated plants. If this is shown, and if parsimony reconstruction of the pollination mechanism (the selective regime as defined by Baum and Larson 1991) implies that red petals evolved on a bird-pollinated lineage (top panel), then the adaptive hypothesis is supported. In contrast, if red petals evolved in a bee-pollinated lineage (middle panel), then the character cannot have evolved via natural selection for bird attraction and, therefore, it is not an adaptation (it is an exaptation sensu Gould and Vrba 1982).

Leigh then describes how one determines the appropriate set of possible phenotypes for an optimality model, how one establishes the adaptive function, and how one determines the appropriate level of selection. The establishment of adaptive function is especially problematic because it must be defined relative to a particular niche. In this context, Leigh discusses two central issues: whether each species requires a different niche and whether we can justify coherence in adaptive function within- and betweenspecies in a world where evolution and speciation occur.

However, as formulated, these criticisms of the parsimony approach are weak because any scientific inference will fail if the underlying assumptions are not met. 1. A hypothetical example of the parsimony approach to the study of adaptation (see Baum and Larson 1991). A phylogeny is shown for a plant group, some of which have the ancestral condition, white petals, whereas others have the derived condition, red petals (shown in gray). Parsimony is used to locate the branch on which petal color changed.

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