Re: Gould and complexity

From: fudley (
Date: Wed Feb 02 2005 - 10:13:48 MST

On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 "Phil Goetz" <> said:

> the point of the book is that this increase in the
> complexity of the most complex species is due
> to a random walk

The random walk of mutation is only half the story of evolution, the
other half is non random natural selection.

> with a left wall

Gould makes much of this left wall right wall difference and itís true
that there is a minimum complexity for life, so at that point any change
must be in the direction of more complexity, but it seems to me that
stopped being a significant factor in the workings of evolution two
billion years ago or more.

> not to any inherent drive in evolution towards
> increasing complexity.

And Iíve heard Gould say that many times but was never very impressed
with it, it seems to me heís making a distinction without a difference.
There is a process on this planet that causes the most complex organisms
now to be more complex and smarter than past animals, and it you donít
want to call it a drive toward complexity then call it something else,
but thatís what it is.

John K Clark

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