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Re: Re. Progress



In a message dated 5/2/00 6:55:09 AM EST, chris.lavers@nottingham.ac.uk 
writes:

<< @@@In my opinion there's a lot wrong with these usages, mainly because they
 give non-specialists (and some specialists!) entirely the wrong idea about
 the process of natural selection. There also seems to be something rather
 insidious about the continued use of these misinterpretable terms when you
 consider that for 'earlier' you could just use the word 'earlier', and for
 'later' you could just use 'later'. Why use 'primitive' and 'advanced' with
 all their associated perjorative baggage when there are simple, logical,
 precise alternatives that cannot be misinterpreted? >>

To deny that evolution by natural selection is not in some sense progressive 
is to deny the obvious--a fashionable but nevertheless deplorable trend among 
modern academics. The problem is not to eschew using terms such as 
"primitive," "advanced," and "progress" but to give them more precise 
definitions in an evolutionary context. These terms may only be defined 
relative to an evolutionary lineage and the characters that change within 
that lineage, but that certainly doesn't make them useless or pejorative.