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Re: up!up!up!and away!




On Sun, 21 Mar 1999, Pharris Nicholas J wrote:

> 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.

And yet over evolutionary time there has been a very definite increase in
complexity.  Once upon a time there were only single celled things.  Now
we have colonial and even integrated systems.  I suppose this complexity
opens up new niches and thus is adaptive.  But, in absolute terms, there
is no superiority inherent in this idea--indeed, the simple may inherit
the Earth.