‘The Human Genetic Code

This is unwarranted, for it may well
be that there is no evolutionary explanation for all kinds of quirks:
no explanation for why we enjoy birdsong, or like the taste of
cinnamon, or have ticklish feet. The cartoon says it all.
These traits may be side-effects of others that are adaptive, or they
may be descendants of traits that were once adaptive but are so no
longer, or they may be nothing to do with adaptations, but just due
to chance. Or they may be adaptations but only because they affect
the ‘eye of the beholder’: perhaps it is more pleasurable to be with a
partner who has ticklish feet, and then a mechanism of ‘sexual
selection’ kicks in to boost the prevalence of the trait. That throws
us back onto the question of why the pleasure and the preference
exists, but perhaps it just does. Female peacocks go for the huge,
beautiful, but apparently dysfunctional tails of the male, and female
Irish elks went for the male practically immobilized by the biggest
antlers. It is not easy to see why, and this problem can unfit
explanations in terms of sexual selection for some purposes. For
instance, if we find the human propensity for art or music puzzling
because we cannot find a survival function for it, it doesn’t
immediately help to suggest that females prefer artistic and musical
men, since we won’t be able to find a survival function for that
female preference, either. What this means is that the explanation
has to continue. It might continue by showing that females
recognize that artistry and musicianship indicate other survivalenhancing
traits, such as industry or cunning (the peacock’s gaudy
tail may indicate freedom from disease, or the elk’s antlers indicate
its strength). Or, it might postulate a ‘trembling hand’ – a random
jerk in the evolutionary process, such as the inaccurate copying of a
gene, that just happened to entrench itself.
The third confusion to guard against is to read psychology

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