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Re: Re. Progress



In a message dated 5/4/00 3:13:07 AM EST, chris.lavers@nottingham.ac.uk 
writes:

<< This is a thorny philosophical problem that's been batted around for 
years, and no one has come up with a satisfactory defense of the idea that 
evolution is inherently progressive. >>

This is probably because nobody has >wanted< to deal with this issue, or 
cannot face the fact that it really is just as simple as you describe. 
Philosophers, like lawyers, get more joy (or, in the case of lawyers, more 
money) out of circling around a position endlessly and in complicating it 
beyond all reason than in actually disposing of an issue and going on to 
something else. Indeed, you cannot get much simpler than bacteria, and that's 
the ultimate reason evolution must inevitably generate more complicated life 
forms, a situation that is easily understood as >progress<: there's basically 
no place else to go. I find this a quite compelling explanation of the 
inherence of progress in evolutionary lineages.

One of the beauties of natural selection as the driving mechanism behind 
evolution is its utter simplicity as an explanation. Philosophers have spent 
decades trying to find something more complicated, but so far they have 
failed. The same is true of the notion of evolutionary progress and the 
simple explanation behind it.