The Fall and Rise of Dr. Pangloss: adaptationism and the Spandrels paper 20 years later

Trends in Ecology and Evolution 15 (2):66-77 (2000)
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Abstract

Twenty years have passed since Gould and Lewontin published their critique of ‘the adaptationist program’ – the tendency of some evolutionary biologists to assume, rather than demonstrate, the operation of natural selection. After the ‘Spandrels paper’, evolutionists were more careful about producing just-so stories based on selection, and paid more attention to a panoply of other processes. Then came reactions against the excesses of the anti-adaptationist movement, which ranged from a complete dismissal of Gould and Lewontin’s contribution to a positive call to overcome the problems. We now have an excellent opportunity for finally affirming a more balanced and pluralistic approach to the study of evolutionary biology.

Author Profiles

Massimo Pigliucci
CUNY Graduate Center
Jonathan Kaplan
Oregon State University

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