Several months ago I wrote a piece for The Psychiatric Times criticizing the idea that clinical depression was an evolved mental adaptation. I concentrated on the “adaptive rumination hypothesis” of Andrews and Thomson, which posits that the syndrome of depression actually helps people solve knotty life problems. Andrews and Thomson suggest, then, that becoming clinically depressed in certain situations was reproductively advantageous in our ancestors, and may still be so.
Andrews and Thomson have now responded in the journal with a piece called “Coyne battles Darwin, many other evolutionary biologists—and himself,” and if you’re following these things you might have a look. It’s curious how they defend depression as so obviously adaptive. Using their logic, one could judge any mental disorder as an adaptation promoted by natural selection in our ancestors.
I won’t say anything more since I’m preparing a response for the journal.