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Re: Re. Progress

I like Einstein's use of the drunk analogy better.  His drunk gets to stay
upright till he hits the lamppost.

At any rate, as Dinogeorge commented, time to decouple progress and
complexity.  The progress I was looking at was the increasing ability of an
animal or plant to survive in its circumstances.  Think of the arms race
between carnivores and herbivores, for example, or any of the other
wonderful ways animals and plants improve their ability to stay alive.
In that context, I was adding a special case.  Some adaptations like flight
or intelligence are so strong that they allow an animal to survive better
under a broad range of circumstances.  Using your example for comparison,
how many ostriches are there in the world?  How many flying birds?  Flying
is so significant an advantage that it becomes possible to speak of a series
of animals making progress in flying, simply becoming better flyers.
I think you're looking at the issue of whether complexity has always proven
more successful.  Instead of complexity, I'm thinking of progress as
increasing efficiency and effectiveness.  There's a post hoc error if you
look at an existing successful species and say that that adaptation must be
the best because it worked.  However, it seems reasonable to investigate how
animals improved their ability to survive with the expectation that such
improvements ('progress') can be identified.