It seems to me that this debate is not over our understanding of
evolution, on which we all seem to be fairly well in agreement, but over
our definition of 'progress'. Some of us are using it to mean 'motion
towards a specific goal', which makes evolution sound purposeful--
a debatable concept. Some of us are using it to mean 'increase
along a specific axis', often complexity--something it's clear
evolution *does* do, despite occasional setbacks. As long as we keep
using this word to mean different things, the discussion will
generate heat but little light.
I'd suggest stating your definition before diving into the fray.
Mary Kuhner mkkuhner at genetics.washington.edu