RE: Evolutionary rate

From: Gary Collins (gary@algol.co.uk)
Date: Tue May 13 2003 - 04:30:30 EDT

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    I have found this thread very interesting but unfortunately I have not had
    enough time to participate. However, I would like to ask a couple of
    questions.

    One was prompted by the discussion on parallel proocessing. If I remember
    rightly, it was Alan Turing who showed that parallel processing could not
    achieve anything more than could be done using a single processor, the
    only difference being in the rate at which something is done. In this case,
    it would seem to me that an 'irreducibly complex' system which could not
    arise from a 'single processor' could no more arise as a result of the
    introduction of parallel processing. Now I know that the analogy is not
    a terribly good one; I'm not at all sure that it's possible to treat the biological
    evolutionary process(es) as 'processors' in this sense. But I do, as I say,
    have a couple of questions.

    The first is to do with computing. Maybe Iain would know the answer to
    this one. Does Turing's restriction still apply in the case of quantum
    computing / quantum processes?

    The second is to do with ID and irreducible complexity. From what I gather,
    irreducible means that no component can be removed without the system
    as a whole failing. But what about components being added? Is it possible
    that what we see now as an irreducible system in fact became the way it
    is by loss of components from what was previously not an irreducible
    system?

    I am aware that the biochemical processes talked about are incredibly
    involved and detailed, and often involve several pathways from 'substrate'
    to 'end product'. Could there perhaps have been more parallel pathways
    involved which have since disappeared? Maybe some of these would
    survive in earlier (ancestral) species? I know nothing of comparative
    biochemistry, I'm afraid. Perhaps the biochemists on the list could interject
    some thoughts on this?

    /Gary

    "By tying up the weak case for a young earth in the same package as the strong case for creation, recent-creationists are almost asking to be defeated."
    -- Alan Hayward, "Creation and Evolution: The Facts and Fallacies," p.81



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