On 10/4/2012 9:24 PM, John Clark wrote:
On Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 9:52 PM, Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au <mailto:li...@hpcoders.com.au>> wrote:

        > Yes, so a human can jump directly from the tangled mess of DOS to a 
clean
        streamlined operating system like LINUX, but Evolution can only add 
even more
        tangled bells and whistles to DOS.
           John K Clark


    > Actually, one could argue with this analogy. Linux bears no ancestral 
relationship
with DOS - rather it is descended (in some sense) from Unix,

I know, that was my point. If Evolution was dissatisfied with DOS it couldn't start from scratch and switch to a new operating system like Linux or Unix, it could only add more bells and whistles to DOS. Actually it's even worse than that, imagine if you had to improve DOS but you couldn't remove a single line of code or even part of a line unless it conferred a IMMEDIATE advantage to the operation of the system, nor could you add a line of code no matter how short unless it conferred a IMMEDIATE advantage to the operation of the system.

I think you're overstating your case. Darwinian evolution couldn't add a line of code if it produced a *disadvantage*. But it can add code that makes no difference at the phenotype level. This is important for evolution because sometimes these neutral changes get used in an advantageous change.


> Linux had less of a requirement to be backward compatible,

Yes, even for human designers once a standard is set it's not practical to switch to a new one unless its enormously better; and with Evolution it's flat out impossible because it can't backtrack its steps, that's why we're stuck with an eye with the blood vessels and nerves put in backward.

But evolution can delete unused things. Our ancestors probably had tails. Our descendants may not have a vermiform appendix.

Brent

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