On Thu Sep 21 19:30:56 2000, Brian D Harper <email@example.com-
> At 02:04 PM 9/21/00 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> >I will absolutely agree that I worked backwards. But that doesn't make it
> >ID necessarily. I will explain below.
> Yes, of course its ID :).
What you miss is that I am not intelligent, there for by definition, it can't
be ID? :-)
> Well, I don't know about this Glenn. Everyone knows that all
> English sentences of length N are contained in all the possible
> messages of length N. Surely there is no surprise here. Some
> of the quotes you gave were certainly sloppy. But several at
> least captured the spirit though they may have been technically
> incorrect. Surely you will grant that if someone says this is
> impossible what they really mean is so highly improbable that
> the possibility can be neglected.
Impossible is certainly different that improbable. And those quotes totally
rule out a pathway to build a long molecule by building just part of it at a
time. For instance, If one were to try to prove that skyscrapers couldn't have
been built by man because man can't build it all at once, would you think that
is a swell and neat argument? If we say that humans couldn't build a
transatlantic cable because they couldn't lay it down all connected in a single
blink of an eye, would you say that that is a valid argument? And then to go
on and say that these examples prove the impossibility of mankind building
those things is clearly missing the point of how mankind builds things.
Similarly, the type of criticism leveled against evolution misses badly the
actual way it happened. One didn't have to build it all at once with one and
only one sequence (as Gish and Thaxton,Bradley and Olson have contended).
Thaxton Bradley and Olson in The Mystery of Life's origin actually assumed in a
calculation that only one 4 million long DNA molecule would create an E. coli.
That is about as bogus an assumption as one can make about the functionality
DNA. Billions upon Billions upon billions of different chains of DNA will all
successfully create an E. coli. Their assumption is hidden in the form of a
mathematical equation and I am not even sure that they realized what they were
doing with that equation in this regard. (I believe it is on p. 138)
> I think everyone recognizes that a random search alone will
> not do the trick. I think the problem with the quotes is failing
> to recognize the power of selection. I mean, if evolution really
> were a random search then they would be correct. Thus,
> the way to correct the error of those quotes is by emphasizing
> that selection is not random.
We absolutely agree on this, and this is why you missed the point with the
cryptographer. Back in the 1800s, Diplomatic couriers knew that if they
enciphered a message with a short keyword, that the message could be broken by
means of frequency analysis. Thus they started encoding their messages
predictably with country names, like afganistanbelgiumcanada..., which were as
long as the message. The cryptologists figured this out and started using
country names as test keywords to crack the messages. So, then diplomats
started using randomly generated keywords of the length of the message. The
cryptographers tried the old method of using a 3 letter keyword, sliding it
along the message to see if anything would drop out. Things like 'the', or
'and' would drop out, leading the cryptographer to mistakenly think he had
found part of the keyword and then leading to a false decoding. The
cryptographer was doing what I did in my second note last night, building the
message up from random decodings. They weren't using a GLOBAL random search in
which they tried to guess the keyword all at once. Like evolution, and like
what I did in my last note last night was to build up a complex message from
> >As to randomness, the first keyword in my example
> >That is what a keyword is. It is taped noise that can be subtracted from
> >the signal. Noise is random as are all the keywords. Are their noise
> >streams that will take your tape and return a different message? Of
> >course. The noise can be random but it will produce a meaningful statement
> >from you albeit the wrong message.
> True, that is possible, but the probability is so small
> that it can be neglected.
Not if you don't insist on doing what evolution didn't do, and guessing the
noise train all at once. Short segments can be decoded at a time from randomly
generated noise as I proved last night in my last note.
> >My point is that one can't say that randomness can't produce meaning or
> >specificity. We will reserve for a later time the discussion of the
> >frequency of such noise/keyword streams.
> But I think this point is a trivial one and only detracts from
> the essential point about selection. Suppose we conduct the
> experiment I proposed. How many trials do you think we would
> need before one intelligible English sentence was produced?
I figure that when I produced 'Of Vines, I examined three' That I went through
much less than a thousand trials. The keywords were randomly made, obviously I
didn't guess that keyword all at once, but I kept parts of the message that
were English. The first word to appear was 'Of'. I kept the bz keyword that
decoded the encryption. Next came 'vi' which is a perfectly good start for
victor, vines, vinnie,vickie... so I kept it. I didn't know where the message
was going. Then came 'nes' right next to the previously kept 'vi'. 'I' came
next followed by 'exam' which I kept. Etc. Etc. It took a while to gen 'ined'
But evenually it came also. All I did was select pieces of info that were
suitable english and in about 500 tries, I had the sentence. It was no big
deal. Everyone who criticises evolution forgets or wants to through out the
actual engine of evolution--comparison to a fitness function and then
selection. They criticize evolution as if it IS a random walk which it isn't
and you have agreed and I agree that a random walk won't work, but evolution
isn't a random walk.
> It may help to put numbers up. I'll give a table that has the
> ratio of messages satisfying the statistical structure of
> English to the total number of possible messages. The
> results are obtained by the Shannon-McMillan theorem
> using an estimate for the entropy of the English language
> (after compression) that I got from a book (H = 1).
Irrelevant to the issue of how evolution builds things up. We aren't guessing
everything at once.
> Glenn, I hope you won't take this the wrong way :), but
> your example suddenly reminded me of the Grand Academy
> of Lagado in Gulliver's Travels. It seems there was a research
> project undertaken in order to fill the library with scholarly
> works, poetry, novels etc. without anyone having to go to
> the trouble of actually writing anything.
A nice Yockey ripoff, but you have missed the point that I performed a decoding
by means of randomly generated keywords and selecting **not the whole message
at once as you seem fixated upon*** but by selecting snips here and there of
the message, which initially was unknown even to me.
> So, they designed a machine that would randomly generate
> sequences of letters. Graduate students were assigned the
> task of monitoring the output. Whenever a great work was
> produced they would cut it out from the adjacent text, bind it,
> and put it in the library.
And as I showed, in my note the other night, the Grand academy's message would
work just fine as long as one didn't insist that everything be built in a blink
of an eye.
> >Only one comment along that line with short sequences, the probabilities
> >of finding things by random search becomes feasible. And also, there is
> >the phenomenon of Directed Evolution in which biopolymers of length 100
> >mer or nucleotide are found to perform useful functions at the rate of
> >10^-13 which means a medium sized vat can find useful biopolymers for a
> >particular function out the gazoo.
> Yes, with direction things work wonderfully.
Selection provides direction! You can't leave that out. Even in nature, the
animal must survive to reproduce. That provides a direction. THat was Darwin's
Awhile back Wesley
> posted a reference to a paper by Tom Schneider that I know
> you are going to love. It was mentioned on the evolution list
> but I'm not sure if it was given here or not. Anyway, here it
> In a way, one might consider this the analytical version
> of Joyce's experiments. But I think it is much more than
> that. Schneider claims to show how information is increased
> by mutation/selection. He also shows how irreducibility can
> develop. But there is something he does that relates to
> our discussion here. He compares results with and without
> selection and, as you might guess, nothing much happens
> without selection. This is really the key message.
> My conclusion is that randomness cannot generate meaning
> functionality etc except by a grossly unlikely accident.
It can if taken in small snippets which is what I showed last night!
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