Parsimony (in response to J Grainger)

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Initial post: 10 Sep 2007 22:22:26 BDT
D. Power says:
"I supposed he's amazed, in that he knows that evolution [usually] operates on the principle of Parsimony. i.e. Given two evolutionary possibilities, natural selection usually takes the simplest option. Which leaves something of a problem. How on earth could an organ as complex as the brain possibly have evolved through natural selection? Parsimony would not have had to skip a few generations but would have had to be thrown out of the process of natural selection altogether."

I'm afraid you appear to have mistaken the gene with the phenotype. Evolution will take the route that is the most likely (provided each individual step in the "route" increases organism replicability), i.e. that which relies on the fewest improbable mutations, or collaborations between mutations. This is quite independent of the apparent complexity of the eventual construct. I'm afraid your use of the word simple in the context of evolution, was, frankly, too simple.
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