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Quote# 62573

Actually, I think this is the crux of evolution theory. It is a theory cloaked in "bait and switch" word semantics. I often hear that evolution "has no goal". Nevertheless, whenever the mechanisms of mutations and natural selection are modeled in a computer program, I am able to uncover the "goal" in the program code every time. Something is amiss. Why can't someone design a generator that spawns two random binary files. Execute both of these files and see if they communicate. More than likely they will crash without a proper PE header, but if so, delete them and start the process over again. Perhaps eventually, one program will produce some stdout and say, "I'm alive!", "Viva Las Vegas!", or "I want to marry the other binary. Please don't delete her (or it)."

Alan Clarke, Pharygnula 47 Comments [5/25/2009 7:34:03 AM]
Fundie Index: 25
Submitted By: Nightjaguar
WTF?! || meh
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Kitourahime

I'm sorry. After the "Bait and switch" bit, I couldn't think of anything other than "Conflict Diamond told me you were doubling with Bait'n'Switch!" and therefor don't actually know what this post says.

5/23/2009 10:51:25 PM

whiskey tango foxtrot

need some croutons for this word salad

5/25/2009 7:49:28 AM

Not_You

The crux of evolution theory is that two random computer programs won't suddenly say "Viva Las Vegas!"?

Ah, I see now.

5/25/2009 7:55:20 AM

Matherly

@Kitourahime:

I hear ya.

5/25/2009 7:59:07 AM

Rix

Evolution does have a goal. Survival.

5/25/2009 8:00:29 AM

Tearlich

@Rix: Given that evolution is a natural process that has no internal intelligent controlling factor, it can not have a goal. We, the product of said natural process have internal intelligent because of said process (discounting Fundies).

5/25/2009 8:25:14 AM

John

I often hear that evolution "has no goal".

That doesn't mean isn't directed. A stick floating in the middle of a river has no "goal", but it still ends up going downstream. If you impose conditions on survival and reproduction, a population will evolve in the direction of surviving and reproducing better under those conditions.

5/25/2009 8:31:19 AM

Grigadil

"What are you doing Dave?"

...

"Dave?"

5/25/2009 8:42:09 AM

WWWWolf

GENETIC ALGORITHMS DON'T WORK THAT WAY!

5/25/2009 8:52:49 AM

Brain_In_A_Jar

Tell you what - you can accuse evolutionary theory of baiting and switching terminology after you can provide us with a single, rigorously unambiguous definition of "kind" as referred to by flood myth/creation texts. While you're at it, you can define "sin" and "soul."

5/25/2009 9:15:12 AM

Man Called True

Someone should tell this guy about the Tierra experiment. Sure, he'll move the goalposts, but that brief moment of "SHIT!" on his face would be so worth it.

5/25/2009 9:17:08 AM

David B.

"I am able to uncover the "goal" in the program code every time."

No, "bait'n'switch" would be 'proving' that computer models of evolution cannot improve without a goal by saying random binary files don't execute. There are numerous examples of evolutionary models where the only "goal" is to be fitter than the other guy. Creationist like to claim that this biases the model towards a particular result. Well, yes, if that 'result' is greater fitness.

What Alan has no doubt 'uncovered' in the models he's looked at (and I am generously assuming that the plural "models" is applicable here) is a selective filter. I've seen a lot of creationists argue that 'random evolution' doesn't work, then when it is pointed out to them that natural selection isn't random, claim this is a cheat, when in fact it is the whole point.

Clarke is apparently aware enough of this that he doesn't actually discuss the "goals" he's supposedly found, and instead switches in a strawman "random evolution" example to demolish.

"Something is amiss."

Yes, but not with the theory I'm afraid.

5/25/2009 9:23:03 AM

ND

Why are YECs so hooked on randomness?

5/25/2009 9:24:16 AM

Papabear

I agree, "something is amiss," but I think it's you.

5/25/2009 9:46:49 AM

A Friend

So instead of beating down strawmen, show us your alternative. Oh, that's right, your alternative is magic. No wonder these guys spend so much time trying to discredit the ToE instead of backing up their own claim.

5/25/2009 9:52:52 AM

Tiger

@Rix

Survival isn't the goal, reproduction is.

5/25/2009 9:53:04 AM

Red Dragon Disciple

Issac Clarke is going to hunt down your zombie ass, cut you with his plasma cutter, then curb stomp your head.

5/25/2009 10:10:01 AM

aaa

I have only one thing to say to you. Why?

5/25/2009 10:20:31 AM

Horsefeathers

"I often hear that evolution "has no goal"."

It has no long term goal it is working to achieve (i.e., "evolving" monkeys into humans). It has a "goal" of making a species suited to its environment.

The problem with speaking of "goals" when dealing with natural processes is that you begin to think of it as having wants, need, desires, etc. -- which is what you appear to be doing -- when it doesn't and nobody claims it does.

"Nevertheless, whenever the mechanisms of mutations and natural selection are modeled in a computer program, I am able to uncover the "goal" in the program code every time."

No shit. If I use evolutionary computing techniques to help build a better widget then I want the processing power directed toward giving me a better widget, not a better doodad.

Evolution in the real world doesn't have such restraints. If a species (i.e., widget) becomes better adapted to its environment by many, many compounded changes that it becomes a new species (i.e., a doodad) then so be it. That's what it took for the species to survive. Engineers don't have that option though. If they need a better widget then the design has to be constrained to widgets and not widgets and/or doodads.

"Something is amiss.

Yes. Your understanding of both evolutionary theory and engineering. Possibly your critical thinking skills are impaired also.

"Why can't someone design a generator that spawns two random binary files. Execute both of these files and see if they communicate."

Well, the word "random" would seem to be a good indicator of why that's not likely to happen.

The Law of Large Numbers would seem to indicate that it could happen, but it would be quite a long process.

"More than likely they will crash without a proper PE header, but if so, delete them and start the process over again. Perhaps eventually, one program will produce some stdout and say, "I'm alive!", "Viva Las Vegas!", or "I want to marry the other binary. Please don't delete her (or it)."

Eventually any or all of those could happen. Eventually. If you want to wait around. Personally, I have better things to do with my time.

5/25/2009 10:24:56 AM

Evilutionist

There aren't goals in genetic and evolutionary algorithms, but there are fitness functions. Their purpose is to mimic the selection presure found naturally in the environment.

It's what makes natural selection work, and is the reason evolution isn' random.

5/25/2009 10:32:35 AM

Sisyphus

I recognise the words and I understand their meanings.... it's the order that has me confused.

5/25/2009 10:38:22 AM

stoat100

I'm a C++ programmer and I know what PE headers and stdout mean.

Believe me, this guy is talking shit.

5/25/2009 10:44:46 AM



But life ISN'T binary files is it Alan?

That's why these crappy analogies for life don't work, because life is unique nothing else comes close enough to compare it to.

How about this: Magnetism dosen't work. they say that two opposite poles will attract each other, but if I put a black and a white lawn chair next to each other, would they attract?

5/25/2009 11:01:15 AM

Mrs. Antichrist

Evolution does not have a conscious goal or a specific end result, but one can say that the goal in evolution is survival. Considering that natural selection is an important part of evolution, it would be ridiculous to write a program that didn't have survival as the 'goal'.

5/25/2009 11:33:46 AM

Saika

@Kitourahime

me too. >.<

5/25/2009 11:37:50 AM
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