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I don't know if this will help anyone, but I have always viewed
evolution, and most biological processes, as an overlying order coming
from an underlying chaos.  The order in evolution can be seen in the
'trends' we are all discussing here, such as the trend within many
lineages to get larger with time.  These trends could be the result of
life always having to evolve to some environmental constants (plants
always need light, preds always have to catch some other animal, little
things like that), though of course I've no real proof.  The underlying
chaos is the mutations and mating combinations formed in each
generation, as well as random kill-offs (the afore-mentioned poison gas
clouds) and random survivals (those critters in the afore-mentioned

Just thought I'd share my own two pennies fer once, instead of just