On Tue, Aug 06, 2013 at 01:46:44AM +0000, chris peck wrote:
> Hello Dr. Standish
> 
> If I may play devil's advocate for a post it seems to me that the question 
> over duration required for an optimized system to evolve is only a minor 
> aspect of the argument presented in this paper.
> 
> More seriously it concerns the mechanics of such an evolution. 
> 
> To use a computer analogy: It doesn't concern for example the developing 
> fitness of specific algorithms written in a language but the fitness of the 
> language itself. 
> 
> Many algorithms can be written in C and we can store these algorithms in 
> files etc. However, if we change the mechanics of C, if we change the 
> compiler, then these files become useless. Perhaps C requires a semi-colon to 
> designate the end of a line of code. If this changes even slightly, perhaps 
> the requirement becomes a comma rather than semi-colon, then all those code 
> files are effectively useless and will no longer compile in to workable 
> algorithms.
> 

C is a rather poor example, as it is a brittle language, as are most
computer languages. Examples of less brittle languages are the
assembly language used in Tierra or Avida. The have been some examples
of people evolving the instruction set itself, although admittedly I
haven't heard how successful that has been, or recent results in that
area. One reference you could follow up is

Egri-Nagy & Nehaniv (2003), Proceedings ECAL 2003, LNAI 2801,
p238--247 (SpringerLink)
"Evolvability og the Genotype-Phenotype Relation in Populations of
Self-Replicating Digital Organisms in a Tierra-Like System".


> Compare that with the degree to which we can fiddle with the specifics of the 
> code files themselves. We can randomly change strings, constants, all manner 
> of things and there will be a set of changes that result in files that 
> compile into runnable algorithms. Different ones than before, with semantic 
> 'bugs' perhaps but there will be a further subset of new algorithms which do 
> the same as before, more or less, but more efficiently. And in this analogy 
> that is exactly what evolution requires.
> 
> The point here is surely that in the former case even a subtle change to the 
> compiler is instantly catastrophic and is therefore different to usual 
> selective techniques which involve the accumulation of little changes over 
> time.
> 
> Now, I'm very very possibly barking up the very wrong tree here, because Ive 
> never been the sharpest tool in the box, and maybe you have addressed that 
> and I can't see it. I can see how if all the different codes exist at some 
> point one can emerge as a winning replicator but I can't see how there can be 
> development of a single code into a winning replicator and I think that's the 
> main issue at stake. What is the mechanism for that? Or have I just lost the 
> plot?
> 
> All the best
> 


Er, competition? If you can see how all different codes existed at one
point at different parts of the globe, and you can see that the region
boundaries are unstable (no mechanism like speciation, or
bilingualism, to keep different codes distinct), then it follows that
the code with the best replication ability will ultimately dominate.

It will be interesting to see what the genetic code is if (or more
likely when) life is discovered on Mars. Paul Davies has an
interesting bookn on the subject. I suspect that the Martian genetic
code will be similar the Earth's, but probably less similar than the
variation that currently exists on the Earth, as it seems plausible
that the evolution of the standard genetic code ocurred during the
period of late heavy bombardment, when there was a lot of material
interchange between Mars and Earth. If they're very different, it
would point to a much later evolution of the standard code than LHB,
and the creationists had better hope it turns out to be identical :).

Cheers

> > Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2013 02:21:19 +0100
> > Subject: Re: Serious proof of why the theory of evolution is wrong
> > From: te...@telmomenezes.com
> > To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> > 
> > On Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 7:17 PM, Platonist Guitar Cowboy
> > <multiplecit...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 7:35 PM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >>
> > >> On Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 12:50 PM, Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com>
> > >> wrote:
> > >>
> > >>>
> > >>> > if one is to believe in a god that created everything, then one also
> > >>> > has to believe that this god
> > >>> was malicious enough to plant an incredible amount of false evidence: 
> > >>> the
> > >>> fossil record,
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Yes, but that's not the only reason God would be a sadistic monster. He
> > >> could have produced complex animals like you and me just by snapping His
> > >> fingers, but instead he decided to do it by way of Evolution. And 
> > >> Evolution
> > >> has made some beautiful things but the process itself is not beautiful, 
> > >> in
> > >> fact its cruelty is ASTRONOMICAL, for every tiny advance millions die
> > >> horrible deaths. There is no getting around it, Evolution is a hideously
> > >> cruel process and if I were God I would have done things very very
> > >> differently, among other things I would have made intense physical pain a
> > >> logical impossibility, but unfortunately that punk Yahweh got the job and
> > >> not me.
> > >
> > >
> > > According to NSA records you didn't get the job because you ticked "YES" 
> > > at
> > > the QM box and "NO" at possibility of computationalism box. That's why we
> > > got Yahweh, because Bruno wrote "this test is not decidable" and walked 
> > > out
> > > of the room. Concerning the rest of us getting the job (whether we finally
> > > all wound up getting the damned job, because everything's a janitor job,
> > > even being god... cue strange music...), that's classified apparently. PGC
> > 
> > It allows annoys me how christians justify all the suffering and
> > overall shittiness of existence with: ah, but that is necessary
> > because God wanted us to have free will. Fuck free will!  I would much
> > rather exist in a state of constant bliss, unable to feel anything but
> > orgasm x1000, no pain, no boredom, no negative emotion whatsoever,
> > forever. Instead I get free will. Great.
> > 
> > "In the beginning, the universe was created.
> > This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a
> > bad move. Many races believe it was created by some sort of god, but
> > the Jatravartid people of Viltvodle VI firmly believed that the entire
> > universe was, in fact, sneezed out of the nose of a being called the
> > Great Green Arkleseizure.
> > The Jatravartids, who lived in perpetual fear of the time they called
> > "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief" were small, blue
> > creatures with more than fifty arms each. They were therefore unique
> > in being the only race in history to have invented the aerosol
> > deodorant before the wheel."
> >                 - Douglas Adams, in The Restaurant at the End of the 
> > Universe.
> > 
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>   John K Clark
> > >>
> > >> --
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> > >>
> > >
> > >
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Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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