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Re: Re. Progress

I recently ingested some alcoholic beverages. Far too many, in fact. One may
even go so far as to say that I am drunk. While this may be a bad thing (or
a good thing, depending on how you look at it) it certainly does not merit
the repeated usage of my incoherent person in scientific experimentation.
After repeated collisions with the wall to my right and numerous episodes of
"deceleration trauma" caused by a rapidly rising plot of terra firma on my
left I can safely say without a doubt I am covered with abrasions, senseless
from concussion damage, and thoroughly exhausted from the thousands of
efforts to just walk away from the whole mess without  hitting that wretched
Can I have my juice and cookies now?

A drunk

P.S.: In all seriousness, I just wanted to say that this is an excellent
debate and I am enjoying it completely. Great list!
Jim Fallin
----- Original Message -----
From: chris lavers <chris.lavers@nottingham.ac.uk>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2000 10:01 AM
Subject: Re. Progress

> ...I should add to my last e-mail, before someone cottons on to the wrong
> end of the stick, that each right or left stagger of the drunk in the
> example corresponds to a lineage evolving towards increased or decreased
> complexity *by the process of natural selection*. If lineages move as
> towards 'reduced complexity' as towards 'increased complexity' then the
> idea of large scale progress in the evolution of life is seriously
> compromised. Assuming for the sake of argument that this is the case (I
> don't, except in the sense that null hypotheses have to be refuted before
> alternatives can seriously be considered), then we might talk of lineages
> 'making progress' towards increased complexity, but then we should also
> talk of other lineages 'making progress' towards decreased complexity.
> no overall direction, 'progress' in this sense just reduces to 'change' -
> change by the process of natural selection in response to circumstance.
> IMHO, change is the better word because it is neutral.
> Best
> Chris