Gary Greenberg & Victoria Mosack & Ty Partridgen
This entry on adaptation is being included in this volume because of the growing popularity of evolutionary psychology and its adoption, misuse, and misunderstanding of some biological concepts (de Jong & van der Steen, 1998). Psychology can embrace evolution, but not in the manner in which evolutionary psychology does. The concept of adaptation has its origins in Darwinian thinking as a major mechanism of natural selection. In Darwinism, organisms reproduce in large numbers. That results in variability among traits, and from that variability, nature selects traits that endow a species with some measure of survival or of fitness; such traits are said to be adaptive. Before Darwin, adaptations were explained in terms of organisms having been “designed by God” to fit the demands of their environments. Of course, Darwin was not the first to discuss evolution. Lamarck, among others, preceded him, but Lamarckian theory accounted for adaptations acquired during an ...