Botanists say that plants solve optimization problems too!!! And then they model it!!!
Of course, plants don't actually optimize. They have some evolved, biological heuristic they use to approximate optimization. But we model that mathematically and speculate about what they're doing because that is a useful way of trying to understand what's going on.
When people get upset about models that use optimization, it's a pretty good indicator that they don't understand what models are for and what they are not for.