Lecture 3 Evolution, Modularity, and Innateness

Lecture 3 Evolution, Modularity, and Innateness - Lecture...

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1 Lecture #3: Evolution, Modularity, and Innateness 6/9/06 2 Lecture Outline Natural Selection – How does it work? – Common misconceptions – What is the evidence? –Cr it ic isms Modularity – Definition – Symptoms –Examp les 3 Lecture Outline Cont’d Innateness – Nature or nurture—useless question –What does “innate” mean? –Arguments for innateness –Confusions 4 Natural Selection: 5 Steps 1. Reproductive Math
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5 Natural Selection: 5 Steps 1. Reproductive Math Organisms have many offspring, who also have many offspring, etc. 6 Natural Selection: 5 Steps 2. Crunch Time! This population will eventually grow too large for the available resources, resulting in a ‘crunch time’. 7 Natural Selection: 5 Steps 3. Darwin’s 1 st Insight: It’s not a lottery! If, at crunch time, there is any significant variation among the contestants, then any advantages enjoyed by any of the contestants would bias the sample that reproduced (beyond a simple lottery). 8 Natural Selection: 5 Steps 4. Darwin’s 2 nd Insight: Inheritance! If there’s a strong principle of inheritance, then any biasing advantages (however small) would become amplified over time, creating indefinitely growing trends.
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9 Natural Selection: 5 Steps 5. The Best Idea of All Time! 10 Teleology in Natural Selection • Blind Watchmaker Argument • Natural Selection explains teleology through replication . 11 Teleology in Natural Selection Has clear lens (A) sees well (B) reproduces has clear lens (AA) Has cloudy lens sees badly Has cloudy lens sees badly • A causes B which causes AA • AA looks like A, so it looks like B causes A, but doesn’t! • Add in random mutations and you have seeming design • Forward causation explains teleology of living things 12 Common Misconceptions • Ultimate goal of the entities created by natural selection is to maximize the number of copies of genes that created it. • This does not mean the point of all human striving is to spread our genes!
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13 Common Misconceptions Ultimate Goal Genes goal Proximate Goal Our goal 14 Common Misconceptions • Natural selection is not some unfolding towards greater complexity resulting in human beings. • Example: elephant trunk 15 Evidence for Natural Selection 1. Selective Breeding –D o g s –P l a n t s 2. Observations in Wild – Peppered moth
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17 Natural Selection—Criticisms 1. After-the-Fact Story Telling –B a d evolutionary explanations Documentation of Facts –W
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This note was uploaded on 01/20/2010 for the course S 110 taught by Professor Janeerickson during the Summer '07 term at Yale.

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Lecture 3 Evolution, Modularity, and Innateness - Lecture...

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