Re: Stephen Jay Gould and Progress

Michael Butler (
Thu, 9 Jan 1997 13:21:08 PST

My two cents:

I read Robin's timeframe as billions of years, and his metric as something like "the
centroid of the biomass". It looks to me as if your timeframe is tens
of thousands of years, and your metric--well, what specifically *is*
your metric?

(your comment was snipped, I'm commenting on a later paragraph
from memory--apologies if I got something wrong...)
I'm not sure of the existence of souls or demons, either. :) It seems to me
that positing some obscure "other complexification" drive is easy;
the more obscure you make it, the more unfalsifiable the idea is...

MMB, at but not for OCC

From: Michael Lorrey <>
Robin Hanson wrote:
> writes:
> >I'm not sure about there being no "complexification drive". Brain sizes have
> >increased markedly over time, and land animals with the intelligence of most
> >dinosaurs probably wouldn't be viable today. Certainly there aren't any.
> Maximum brain size has been increasing, just as maximum body size has
> been increasing. But I don't think there is any more evidence for a
> local tendency in brains than there is in bodies.
Maximum body size has not been increasing. It is a function of several
things, mostly average environment temperature. Animals during the
glacial periods