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Re: up!up!up!and away!

In a message dated 3/21/99 6:09:09 PM EST, pharrinj@plu.edu writes:

<< Sheesh, tell your AP bio teacher to join the 20th century.  There is no
 "phylogenetic scale", there is no "up", and "complexity" is not really a
 very well-defined or useful notion.  As our friend Mr. Darwin tought us,
 organisms are as complex as they need to be to do what they do in the
 environment they live in. >>

Contrary to popular belief, complexity >can< be precisely defined. And when it
is, one sees that complex organisms must necessarily arise from simpler
organisms. The reverse can happen also, but the simpler organisms appeared
first, as is amply proved by the Precambrian fossil record. Whether or not a
human is more or less complex than a contemporary dog or a trout is a moot
question, but there is certainly no rational way in which a paramecium could
be considered more complex than a human.

As for the comment about Darwin about organisms being as complex as necessary,
it is a complete tautology. If organisms were as complex as necessary, then
there would be no evolution, and we would not be here.