Sexual selection

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The yang to natural selection’s yin, and the thing that perhaps more than anything else leads to muted cries that the theory of Evolution may be not so much universal acid as universal arse.

For natural selection says that all variations are selected for environmental fitness. This, you would think, stands to reason (is a priori true); for if it were not, and a variation that prejudiced one’s environmental fitness could sometimes win out in the genetic lottery, then the reliable algorithm of incremental, and inevitable, improvement of a species’ capacity to cope with prevailing conditions would be, in a word, buggered.

A successful variation which prejudices a species’ ability to survive and replicate, would falsify the theory of evolution by natural selection, you would think.

Yet, this is exactly what sexual selection purports to do: explain the prevalence of “peacock’s tails” in the genetic record — biological adaptions which confer no survival benefit at all, and indeed, seem to make survival harder. Such as a male peacock’s tail.

There is a theory that the client alert has survived in the great ecosystem of ideas, despite it being read by absolutely no-one except the poor sod commissioned to put it together, and his supervising associate, by dint of some kind of analogue to sexual selection.

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