Re: Evolutionary rate

From: Jim Armstrong (
Date: Thu May 08 2003 - 19:02:10 EDT

  • Next message: Howard J. Van Till: "Re: Evolutionary rate"

    What I was struck by was that the complex objective was not reached
    until the "environment" was (apparently slightly?) enriched by the
    presence and interaction of other essentially similar processes. As an
    ensemble, they interacted constructively in sufficient measure to
    increase the system creativity past the tipping point, enabling the
    achievement of the challenging simulation objective. I was also struck
    by the small number and simplicity of the "rules" that governed the
    elements of this simulation and provided this powerful insight. However,
    this is consistent with the lessons of complexity and chaos.

    In a way, this is not too surprising an outcome, resembling parallel
    processing in computer terms, as opposed to serial processing. A little
    bit of parallel processing can be a very powerful thing - the most
    powerful computers on Earth embody a great deal of parallel processing
    to achieve their performance!

    The argument concerning the evolution of things of "irrreducible
    complexity" seems to embody the notion of a rather linear evolution
    process. But the remarkable "processors" of nature are HIGHLY parallel
    and, taken with the environments in which they occur, are extremely
    (unimaginably) rich and redundant with respect to materials, processes,
    and instantiations of things of a given kind and slight variations
    thereof (e.g., a given protein). Equally important is the fact that they
    are also rich with respect to the huge numbers of potential interactions
    among them and their products. The result is essentially EXTREME
    parallel processing with arguably exponential outcome possibilities.

    It would be rather surprising if "processors" and environments such as
    these did NOT produce improvements of existing entities and functions,
    new entities and functions, and notably new ensemble functions. With
    respect to the latter, the second URL reference contained the following
    observation: " The crystalline proteins that make up the lens of the
    eye, for example, are related to those that serve enzymatic functions
    unrelated to vision. So, the theory goes, evolution borrowed an existing
    protein and used it for a new function ...that's a lot easier than
    inventing something entirely new." I think that nicely summarizes the
    point of the experimental simulation results.

    It seems to me that this result - including the evidence for different
    evolutionary rates - does below-the-waterline damage to some of the ID
    arguments. I would not be surprised to find that "stacked deck" response
    taken up as a rallying (but weak) riposte. But if so, it will only
    demonstrate that the point of this work was missed. Jim Armstrong

    Joel Peter Anderson wrote:

    >On Thu, 8 May 2003, Jim Armstrong wrote:
    >>Here is a news item which may be of interest to some here.
    >>'Digital organisms' illuminate evolution (three versions of the article)
    >Discussing this with a friend, he summarized the designer role:
    >"An interdisciplinary team of scientists at Michigan State University and
    >the California Institute of Technology, with the help of powerful
    >computers, has used"
    >In other words, "a bunch of us deliberately set out to design a system in
    >which certain things would happen, when they happened, we announced that
    >our role in the process was unnecessary"
    > ---
    >I certainly understand the power of these kind of demonstrations, but feel
    >they *can* be seen to demonstrate the ID paradigm, as well as simulating
    >mechanisms of evolving systems.
    > joel anderson * * 612-625-7389
    > --> pager: 612-648-6823
    > vaccines save lives

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