RE: Evolutionary computation (was: Where's the Evolution?)

Pim van Meurs (
Thu, 22 Apr 1999 09:26:13 -0700

> []On Behalf Of Brian D Harper

> If you want a really good yet enormously simple example of
> doing new things you can try Langton's ant.

Cummins: The mechanism to create complexity that evolutionists have proposed is
mutation+selection. The mutation is random and the selection is based on
competition and environment.

Cummins: None of the computer programs that have been mentioned even attempt to do

Are you sure ? Both aspects are always present in these evolutionary programs.

Cummins: That PLGA was based on intelligent selection (a predefined goal).

That's no argument. Even intelligent selection is selection.

When there is no natural selection, there is no such thing as anything being
unfit. That alone is why all these programs fail to even begin to
demonstrate evolution or that nature has any significant ability to create

If that is the issue then your questions have already been answered. Nature creates complexity all around us. It's in its nature. Far equilibrium thermodynamics...

> What do you mean by evolving down? BTW, you are the one who says
> evolution *has* to go toward increasing complexity. Whether
> down or up (whatever that means) it is still evolution.

Cummins:Note the quotes. Besides, if it's not an increase in complexity, then it's
not impressive.

Who cares if it is impressive, it's evolution.

> Let's recall, however, what Ray said " has packed a much
> more complex algorithm into less than half the space". According
> to Ray, it is both shorter *and* more complex.

Cummins: That has nothing to do with the irreducible nature of the code. It's not
significantly more complex, unless Ray thinks cutting the fat is an increase
in complexity. I mean, it doesn't do anything fundamentally different than
its ancestor a million generations ago.

Perhaps you first define complexity and measure it to show support for your argument.

CumminsL Instead of stones for bread (the other computer programs that supposedly
show evolution), how about someone set up a program that has some real
competition between creatures (e.g. a modified Quake 3 engine with bots that
fight each other, those that survive create mutated copies of its script).
Turn off the graphics and let it run for a month. You think after a billion
generations we might end up with sexual reproduction and other wonders of

We have done even better. For instance the change from single to multicellular organisms has been observed in laboratories. Is that complex enough for you ?

Well ?