On Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 11:26:30 AM UTC-7, John Clark wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 , Lawrence Crowell <goldenfieldquaterni...@gmail.com 
> <javascript:>> wrote:
>> *> we like to make comparisons between biological and molecular 
>> biological systems with nanotechnology, but there are departures. *
> Yes there certainly are departures between biology and engineering 
> because intelligent designs are, well, intelligent, but the stuff evolution 
> comes out with is idiotic. Mother Nature (Evolution) is a slow and stupid 
> tinkerer, it had over 3 billion years to work on the problem but it 
> couldn't even come up with a macroscopic part that could rotate in 360 
> degrees! 

*Mother Nature did come up with a wheel; a rotating tail on some specie. I 
forget its name. AG*

> Rational designers had little difficulty coming up with the wheel. The 
> only advantage Evolution had is that until it managed to invent brains it 
> was the only way complex objects could get built.
> I can think of 5 reasons for nature’s very poor design skills, the last 
> one is the most important:
> 1) Time Lags: Evolution is so slow the animal is adapted to conditions 
> that may no longer exist, that's why moths have an instinct to fly into 
> candle flames. I have no doubt that if you just give them a million years 
> or so, evolution will give hedgehogs a better defense than rolling up into 
> a ball when confronted by the major predator they face today, the 
> automobile. The only problem is that by then there won't be any automobiles.
> 2) Historical Constraints: The eye of all vertebrate animals is backwards, 
> the connective tissue of the retina is on the wrong side so light must pass 
> through it before it hits the light sensitive cells, and the optic nerve 
> must pass through the retina creating a blind spot. There's no doubt this 
> degrades vision and we would be better off if the retina was reversed as it 
> is in squids whose eye evolved independently, however It's too 
> late for that to happen now because all the intermediate forms would not be 
> viable. Once a standard is set, with all its interlocking mechanisms, it's 
> very difficult to abandon it completely, even when much better methods are 
> found. That's why we still have inches and yards even though the metric 
> system is clearly superior. That's why we still have Microsoft Windows. 
> Nature is enormously conservative, it may add new things but it doesn't 
> abandon the old because the intermediate stages must also work. That's also 
> why humans have all the old brain structures that lizards have as well as 
> new ones. 
> 3) Lack of Genetic Variation: Mutations are random and you might not get 
> the mutation you need when you need it. Feathers work better forflight than 
> the skin flaps bats use, but bats never produced the right 
> mutations for feathers at the right time and skin flaps are good enough. 
> And an animal doesn’t need to be perfect or even close to it, all it needs 
> is to be a little better than the competition.
> 4) An Advantage on one Level is a Disadvantage on Another: One gene can 
> give you resistance to malaria, a second identical gene will give you 
> sickle cell anemia.
> 5) Evolution has no foresight: This is the most important reason of all. A 
> jet engine works better than a prop engine in an airplane. I give you a 
> prop engine and tell you to turn it into a jet, but you must do it while 
> the engine is running, you must do it in one million small steps, and you 
> must do it so every one of those small steps immediately improves the 
> operation of the engine. Eventually you would get an improved engine of 
> some sort, but it wouldn't look anything like a jet. If the tire on your 
> car is getting worn you can take it off and put a new one on, 
> but evolution could never do something like that because when you take the 
> old tire off you have temporarily made things worse, now you have no tire 
> at all. With evolution EVERY step (generation), no matter how many, MUST be 
> an immediate improvement over the previous one. it can't think more than 
> one step ahead, it doesn't understand one step backward two steps forward.
> And that's why there are no 100 ton supersonic birds or nuclear powered 
> horses, and that’s why we can’t 
> ​even ​
> move our head by 360 degrees. 
> *> If von Neumann probes do migrate into space and throughout a galaxy 
>> they probably do so in a pretty conservative fashion. In fact over time 
>> they would evolve instead of performing in a designed manner.*
> A von Neumann probe wouldn’t evolve unless the probe makers designed them 
> to, and they’d be pretty stupid to do that. Evolution needs mutation, 
> errors that change the information in DNA when a copy of it is made. The 
> typical error rate for DNA reproduction is about one error per 100 million 
> nucleotides.
> Each nucleotides contains 2 bits of information so that’s one error per 50 
> million bits. 
> https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/dna-replication-and-causes-of-mutation-409
> One error in 50 million bits is bad, its lousy! Your computer wouldn’t 
> work it it had a error rate that huge, the internet would not work, our 
> entire information economy would collapse. But it hasn’t collapsed because 
> Claude Shannon showed us 70 years ago how to encode information so it can 
> be transferred and duplicated with arbitrary low error rates, vastly lower 
> than anything biology managed to come up with.  And modern computer 
> engineers have embraced Shannon’s work with gusto and so would the 
> designers of von Neumann probes.
> ​ ​
> John K Clark

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